Jesse Jackson Jr. pleads guilty to misusing campaign money

February 8, 2013

AP/File
File: Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.

Former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. has pleaded guilty to misusing campaign money, according to several Chicago news reports.

The reports, citing anonymous sources, say Jackson has signed a deal pleading guilty to federal charges that he illegally used campaign funds for personal expenses.

According to NBC 5 and CBS 2, a federal judge would ultimately decide whether Jackson faces time in prison. But he reportedly would have to repay the government “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for using campaign cash on personal travel, clothes and meals.

Jackson also used the money to buy a $40,000 Rolex watch, according to both TV stations and the Chicago Sun-Times. Federal law prohibits candidates from using campaign donations to pay for personal expenses. Jackson resigned from Congress in November after a six-month absence.

And his wife, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, resigned her City Council seat last month. Neither have been officially charged with any crime. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C. declined to comment on the reports of the plea deal.

Jackson’s lawyers didn’t respond to WBEZ’s requests for confirmation.