The Rise and Fall of Jesse Jackson Jr. - Chicago Political Commentary

The Rise and Fall of Jesse Jackson Jr. - Chicago Political Commentary

Update: According to WGN-TV News Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to 30 months at an Alabama Camp as opposed to the “Crown Jewel” of Federal Prisons in Buttner, N.C.. The 30 months was less than the minimum of 46-57 months under judicial recommended guidelines would indicate I was correct and that Jackson Jr. would not “get nearly the time” deserved. Sandi Jackson, meanwhile, was dealt with harsher considering her husband’s sentence. Sandi Jackson was sentenced to 12 months in prison and it appears not eligible for the 85% time served rule because the term is less than a year and a day.

As Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi are set to be sentenced for their misdeeds it is hard to comprehend the why behind it all. Now I may not have always agreed with those outside observers about the man’s pedigree, but as a human-being it is never easy to see any family being shattered. But I am a realist and the rise and fall of former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was not only predictable but expected. And that is exactly why I placed him first in my 2012 Illinois Political Hall of Shame.

After all, Jesse Jackson Jr’s path had been paved long before he thought of politics by his father the Reverend Jesse Jackson. And that, for many, is a tough act to follow especially if the fore-bearer had a measure of success. Reverend Jesse Jackson certainly met that criteria despite having done so using dubious methods.

But it is what it is with these political families of ours who have an eye on building a dynasty.

Jesse Jackson Jr., in my opinion, understood how to use all the right buzz words in his rhetoric and had a legion of followers to show for it. But his political ambitions weren’t always aligned with that of his constituents. He wanted more. And not that that isn’t a normal thing mind you, but I think he forgot a few things along the way and allowed corrupt behavior to consume him. And with it the rise and fall of Jesse Jackson Jr..

Do I believe his attorney’s whether or not his thefts and odd behavior after he was caught were a result of mental illness? I am sorry the answer has to be no and I suspect it centers on not wanting to take complete and full responsibility for his and his wife’s actions. I just think they were part of the same corrupt culture that runs rife in Illinois and the only difference is – they got caught. Much like those swarms of dead alewives that wash up on our Lake Michigan shores.

So while I am thankful that they spared the public a costly trial I also suspect that that had much to do with other things possibly coming to light. Particularly his role in another political downfall – that of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Yes, yes, yes – I know he has denied allegations that he did not push Raghuveer Nayak to put a $6 million bribe offer on the table for President Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate Seat but there is way too much information out there to seriously question those denials. Hell just ask Raghuveer Nayak.

So there is more out there for sure regarding Jesse Jackson Jr. and his political ambitions. Does that mean that I happy that yet another of our politicians will be given complimentary housing by the Feds? Not on your life. Matter of fact I hate it that Illinois has become the butt of so many late night and international jokes.

At the same token, though, the time has come for the Jackson’s to accept their punishment without the silly requests of which Club Fed is preferable or how Sandi Jackson should get off with a slap on the wrist. These two knew exactly what they were doing and I believe because of their betrayal of the public trust that their punishment be more severe than that of the average white-collar criminal.

Still, unless Jesse Jackson Jr. comes completely clean about all his political missteps, then I think the time has come for him to just shut up and accept the punishment without any special considerations from the judicial system. Somehow, though, I am sure a deal has been worked out and Jesse Jackson Jr. or Sandi Jackson get nearly the time they truly deserve.

Because that’s just the way it is in Illinois for most corrupt politicians –

except, of course, for Rod Blagojevich.


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  • On your main point, i.e. asking for special consideration, all these politicians and white collar convicts apparently get to pick their federal jail, even though it is supposedly in the sole discretion of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Most of them from around here ask for Oxford, WI, but Blago asked for Colorado. So, nothing special here. Similarly, even though some food bank says that they'll take Sandi Jackson doesn't mean the judge will sentence her only to community service.

    Also, technically speaking, if JJJr. were relying on insanity, he would have so pleaded, like the Cook County judge who did to assault and now is being investigated by the Judicial Inquiry Board. Note that she was reelected on the retention ballot.

    The way I see it, if the Jacksons were willing to plead to these charges, what did they actually do? Sandi isn't risking maybe 18 months in prison just because she signed a joint return. There is an "innocent spouse" rule at the IRS.

  • In reply to jack:

    I know that politicians and white collar criminals all ask for their preferred place of incarceration but seems to me that that kind of makes a mockery out of the sentencing process. As you note it is at the "sole" discretion of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to decide.

    While JJJ didn't use an insanity defense or as I said subject the taxpayer to a long and costly trial he and his defense team have gone to great lengths to spin the spin on his "illness." To me it is saying they are looking for justification rather than accountability and yes as for Sandi risking 18 months when there is an innocent spouse provision tells us there is more to the story - but kind of like Blago's brother said "JJJ should come clean about that Senate Seat" and the Ethics Committee has as I intimated they would - quietly closed that investigation after his resignation to protect what?

    Last but not least getting re-elected around here even though one has been indicted, arrested or insane - seems to be the norm. Won't even go there cause I don't want to blow a gasket on voter stupidity.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    You are correct that most of this is spin. The only real function is that the lawyers are trying to get a few months and a few bucks off the sentences.

    As far as the Ethics Committee, once he was no longer the representative, they ceased to have jurisdiction. The only benefit would be if you could FOIA the results of the investigation, but I bet you can't (for starters, 5 USC 552 applies to "each agency," but according to 5 USC 551, Congress is not an agency).

  • In reply to jack:

    I just posted an update and as predicted sentence a joke. And yes the Ethics Committee ceased to have jurisdiction but they dragged their feet, as predicted by me. And yes FOIA here means nothing.

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