Would you like to make more money? Sure, we all do. Hey, why not just steal it from your own political campaign?
With moist eyes and soft voices, former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife pleaded guilty to federal charges on Wednesday related to years of using campaign funds for personal expenses that included purchases of Michael Jackson memorabilia and a Rolex watch…
“I used monies that should have been used for campaign purposes,” Jackson, 47, acknowledged to the judge. When Wilkins asked if Jackson realized that the guilty plea meant giving up the right to a trial, he responded: “I have no interest in wasting the taxpayers’ time or money…”
Well, that’s new.
And what did Jackson buy with those campaign funds?
According to court documents, Jackson’s campaign credit cards were used for $582,772 in personal expenditures. Jackson’s purchases included a gold-plated men’s Rolex watch costing more than $43,000 and almost $10,000 in children’s furniture.
As part of the plea agreement, Jackson is supposed to repay the $750,000 in improperly used funds. Prosecutors said they would seize and sell many of the pieces of memorabilia and other items Jackson purchased and apply the proceeds to the debt.
The items include two hats belonging to the late singer Michael Jackson costing more than $8,000; a $5,000 football signed by U.S. presidents; and memorabilia involving the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and martial artist Bruce Lee.
I’m just picturing Jesse Jackson Jr. relaxing at home, wearing Michael Jackson’s fedora while gazing at his signed Bruce Lee poster or whatever.
And why did Jackson do this? Michelle Singletary at WaPo tries to compare it to regular old credit-card debt incurred by status-seekers who buy a bunch of crap they don’t need. Which is… oh, what’s the word? Stupid. It’s a stupid comparison. Jackson didn’t borrow that money, he stole it. He’s not a victim of our materialistic society. He’s responsible for his own actions. He saw some crap he wanted, he saw a big pile of money just sitting there, and he did what he wanted with it.
He just assumed he’d get away with it, because… well, why wouldn’t he assume that?
I’m skeptical that he’ll actually go to jail, but at least he’s admitted guilt. Now he can start his comeback. Let the inspiring story of personal redemption begin.