Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jackson's Downfall Is Tied to Love of Material Things; Former Congressman Liked Bling, Not Power, Charges Say

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jackson's Downfall Is Tied to Love of Material Things; Former Congressman Liked Bling, Not Power, Charges Say

Article excerpt

CHICAGO For all the talk of Jesse Jackson Jr. aspiring to be a U.S. senator or mayor of the nations third-largest city, his career wasnt ended by attempts to amass political power.

Instead, it was the former congressmans desire for flashy items a gold-plated Rolex, furs and collectibles, such as Eddie Van Halens guitar.

In a state where stop-at-nothing political ambition has been well documented and often rewarded the seemingly frivolous cause of Jacksons undoing is seen by political observers and at least one former colleague as both nonsensical and sad.

When you have a magic name like that, he was in position, waiting for the gun to go off, for mayor, the Senate ... he was playing with the big guys, said Paul Green, a longtime political scientist at Roosevelt University in Chicago who moderated Jacksons first congressional campaign debate. To go down for this, you just feel sad.

Federal prosecutors on Friday charged Jackson Jr. with one count of conspiracy for allegedly spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal expenses. The Chicago Democrats wife, former alderman Sandra Jackson, was charged with one count of filing false joint federal income tax returns.

Authorities say the returns, for the years 2006 through 2011, knowingly understated the income the couple received.

Both agreed to plead guilty in deals with federal prosecutors. Their sentencing dates have not been set, but the charges both carry possible sentences of several years in prison. Jackson Jr. also could be ordered to repay thousands of dollars in fines and forfeitures.

While former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich went to prison because he tried to trade President Barack Obamas U.S. Senate seat for a more prestigious job or millions in campaign donations, Jackson could go to prison for, in part, buying memorabilia tied to martial arts movie star Bruce Lee. …

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