News / USA

Former US Congressman Pleads Guilty to Misspending Campaign Money

Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Pleads Guilty to Corruptioni
X
February 20, 2013 10:00 PM
Former U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. appeared in federal court in Washington Wednesday on charges that he converted a sizeable amount of his campaign funds to personal use. Jackson, the son of famed civil-rights leader Jesse Jackson, was accompanied by his wife who also had to answer charges in the same case. VOA’s Jeffrey Young has details.

Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Pleads Guilty to Corruption

Former U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. appeared in federal court in Washington Wednesday on charges that he converted a sizeable amount of his campaign funds to personal use.  Jackson, the son of famed civil-rights leader Jesse Jackson, was accompanied by his wife who also had to answer charges in the same case.  VOA’s Jeffrey Young has details.

The former Chicago-area congressman walked into federal court Wednesday and pled guilty to criminal charges of misusing $750,000 dollars in campaign funds.

Jackson, who served in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2102, entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy and filing false federal tax returns.  

His wife has agreed to plead guilty to the same tax charge.

Prosecutors say Jackson used the campaign funds to buy a Rolex watch, furniture, and a large collection of memorabilia from notables including Martin Luther King, Jr and action movie star Bruce Lee.

His wife Sandra is accused of using the campaign funds to buy furs and other clothing.

After Jackson’s court appearance, his attorney, Reid Weingarten said the former congressman has acknowledged his corrupt behavior

“Jesse needed to come to terms with his misconduct. And, those who were in court saw that he did precisely that. He had to come to terms for conduct that people who care about him find very hard to understand,” Weingarten said.

Prosecutors are recommending a prison sentence for Jackson of 46 to 57 months.  

He will also forfeit $750,000 to reflect the campaign funds taken, and will also hand over a sizeable portion of his memorabilia collection. Formal sentencing will take place on June 28.

Once a rising star in the Democratic party, Jackson’s misuse of publicly collected campaign funds clearly fits the classic definition of corruption, according to Georgetown University public policy professor Mark Rom:

“The key thing is - does the transaction produce harm to the public interest? Does that transaction involve a misuse of power, of public authority, for private gain? That’s what makes it a corrupt act,” Rom said.

Jackson has also reportedly suffered from mental health problems. He was on medical leave from Congress from June of 2012 through the November election, after which he resigned his seat for personal reasons.

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid