Allegations that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) misused campaign money to decorate his home are the focus of a federal criminal probe that is in its final stages, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
The existence of the campaign-finance probe was first reported Friday by the Chicago Sun-Times. Both the Sun-Times and the Journal reported that the probe is separate from the earlier investigation into former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s attempts to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.
According to the Journal, the U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., is overseeing the FBI’s corruption probe. People familiar with the matter told the newspaper that Jackson’s attorneys recently sought assurance from Justice Department officials that an indictment would not come before November, when Jackson is up for re-election. That assurance was not given.
The probe apparently began before Jackson went on a medical leave from Congress in June. Over the summer, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and spent time in treatment in Arizona and Minnesota. He has since returned to D.C., but not to work.
In September, Jackson’s D.C. home was briefly put up for sale for $2.5 million. His staff members later said Jackson and his wife, Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, had decided to sell the Victorian-style attached row house in Dupont Circle to help defray the costs of the Congressman’s medical treatment. But a day after the listing was made public, it was removed, according to the Sun-Times.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com