Jesse Jackson Jr. has some explaining and apologizing to do. The Justice Department has charged the former Illinois representative with fraud and conspiracy for using $750,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
Jackson Jr., the son of civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, allegedly used donated money to purchase items like one of Michael Jackson’s fedoras, $10,000 in children’s furniture and fur coats.
The New York Times reports:
The 10-page document filed in federal court by prosecutors in Washington offered details of Mr. Jackson’s use of campaign money. He has agreed to plead guilty to the charges, although a date for him to accept the plea deal before a judge has not yet been set.
Mr. Jackson’s wife, Sandra Stevens, was also charged with one count of filing false tax returns.
According to the documents, Mr. Jackson also used the campaign money to buy memorabilia related to Bruce Lee, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimi Hendrix, as well as a mink parka.
About a week ago, it was reported that Jackson Jr. would be signing a plea deal with authorities stemming from the FBI’s probe into his finances. Now formally charged, he could be facing federal prison time.
Jackson offered an apology via a written statement. “Over the course of my life I have come to realize that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties,” said Jackson. “Still I offer no excuses for my conduct, and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made.”
Jackson has served in the House of Representatives since 1995 but took a leave of absence in June 2012 citing health concerns that were eventually revealed as bipolar disorder. Nevertheless, he was re-elected on Nov. 6, but resigned from Congress on Nov. 21.
A primary election will be held on Feb. 26 to fill Jackson’s vacant seat, which represents the South Side of Chicago.