As expected, the Feds have filed a list of charges to which Jesse Jackson Jr. will plead guilty unless he changes his mind, which is possible, because, let’s face it, he’s Jesse Jackson Jr. and has apparently engaged in naked Karate in bathhouses, leading at least me to believe he’s not entirely in control of his faculties. The charges include conspiracy, making false statements to investigators, and various counts of mail and wire fraud, stemming from the misuse of about $750,000 in campaign funds. Jackson could face up to 57 months in prison, fines between $10,000 and $100,000, and forfeiture of whatever remains of the funds.
None of this is particularly surprising, even the part where Jackson apparently implicated his wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, as a co-conspirator in his misuse of funds, claiming that the couple had lost track of whose money went where as they spiraled into thousands of dollars of debt. Both members of the “power couple” resigned their respective positions earlier this year citing “family” and “health” issues which apparently included preparations for navigating prison showers.
The real surprises come in the charging document, which you can find here. When politicians mis-spend campaign finances, especially when they claim an accidental inability to separate accounts or funding sources, you usually see very typical expenses listed: things like airfare, hotel expenses, consultant fees, sometimes expensive dinners. What you don’t usually see is…well…let’s just run down some of the more interesting “campaign-oriented” purchases the Jacksons made, shall we?
- Two mounted elk heads bought from a Montana taxidermist (which an undercover investigator purchased from Jackson).
- A $43,350 gold-plated Rolex watch, obviously a staple of any upstanding Congressional campaign;
- $9,587 worth of children’s furniture, no doubt to furnish a campaign field office in Munchkinland;
- $5,150 for “fur capes and parkas,” shipped to Chicago from from Edwards Lowell Furrier of Beverly Hills, including an $800 mink cashmere cape, a $1,500 black-and-red cashmere cape, a $1,200 mink reversible parka (no, seriously), and a $1,500 black fox reversible coat.;
- A $1,553 FEC expense for “porcelain collectors items” which Jackson reported to the governing body as being for room rental at a Chicago museum;
- A series of shopping sprees at Antiquities of Nevada, a leading celebrity memorabilia retailer located inside Harrah’s Las Vegas casino, including the purchase of: $10,105 worth of “Bruce Lee Memorabilia,” $11,000 worth of Martin Luther King, Jr. memorabilia, an autographed football signed by “American presidents,” $3,000 worth of Jimmy Hendrix memorabilia and $13,200 worth of generic Michael Jackson memorabilia;
- Two hats belonging to Michael Jackson (two? You need two?) totalling around $8,700;
- A guitar owned by Michael Jackson and Eddie van Halen, $4,000;
It is important to note that the memorabilia and the fur collection still has some value, which is why the FBI has labeled those things as subject to forfeiture. Either that, or the FBI in Chicago is really looking to get it’s hands on a snappy high-end fur collection for those nippy Chicago winters we have.