* Big news from NBC’s national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff…
Federal prosecutors and FBI agents in Washington have launched a new criminal investigation of Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. involving financial improprieties, including possible misuse of funds monitored by Congress, law enforcement sources tell NBC News.
The probe prompted lawyers for Jackson to meet with federal prosecutors this week in an attempt to persuade them not to indict the congressman.
The sources said it was unclear whether Jackson, who has not been seen in his office for months, would be charged before the November election — a subject that was discussed between Jackson’s lawyers and the prosecutors this week. Jackson’s lawyers urged the prosecutors not to file charges before the election — but prosecutors refused to make any commitments, the sources familiar with the meeting said.
* The Sun-Times initially broke the story…
The investigation — based in the Washington, D.C., FBI field office — is not related to the attempted sale of the U.S. Senate seat that figured in former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s corruption conviction, but is focusing on “suspicious activity” involving the congressman’s finances related to his House seat and the possibility of inappropriate expenditures, sources said.
The probe was active in the weeks prior to Jackson taking a leave from his U.S. House post on June 10, a leave his office ultimately attributed to his need for treatment for a bipolar disorder, the sources said.
It was unclear whether the probe involved the congressman’s official House spending account or his campaign finance account. But one source said it was an account monitored by Congress.