* What a totally unnecessary and disgraceful waste…
Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty Wednesday in a federal courtroom in Washington, D.C., to conspiring to illegally spend about $750,000 in campaign money on personal uses, including a Rolex, pricey memorabilia, furs and other luxury items.
“For years I lived off my campaign. I used money that should have been for campaign purposes for personal purposes,” Jackson said in court, as he broke down several times, getting tissues from his lawyers.
In explaining his decision to plead guilty, Jackson said: “I have no interest in wasting the taxpayers’ time or their money.”
“I’m guilty, your honor,” Jackson said.
“Tell everybody I’m sorry I let them down,” he said outside the courtroom.
He was an effective congressman, and he could’ve continued to be one for many years to come. But he just didn’t ever think that campaign laws applied to him. He constantly sent out campaign press releases from his government office, then come to find out he was using campaign cash to buy Michael Jackson memorabilia, among other things.
* The Sun-Times has a ScribbleLive thingy running today…
Keep an eye on that because Sandi Jackson is expected to plead guilty today, too. There will also be a press conference by the US Attorney.
Jackson Jr. entered a negotiated plea of guilty on one felony count of conspiracy to commit false statements, wire fraud and mail fraud. Prosecutors say he spent campaign contributions to buy luxury items, memorabilia and other goods. […]
Attorneys familiar with public corruption investigations said the amount of campaign cash that prosecutors said was converted to personal use in this case is the largest of any that they can remember. […]
Prosecutors accused Jackson Jr. of improper spending of campaign cash for a $43,350 men’s Rolex watch, nearly $9,600 in children’s furniture and $5,150 in cashmere clothing and furs. She is charged with filing false tax returns for six years, most recently calendar year 2011.
Prosecutors are seeking a $750,000 judgment against Jackson Jr. and the forfeiture of thousands of dollars of goods he purchased, including cashmere clothing, furs and an array of memorabilia from celebrities including Michael Jackson, Bruce Lee and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.