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Jesse Jackson, Jr., Fraudster

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Guilty. That’s what Jesse Jackson, Jr., former congressman, pleaded in court yesterday.

Fraud. That’s the name of his crime, though it was a particular kind of fraud, the taking of campaign contributions for personal use.

Partnered. The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s famous son was not alone, nor did he merely “fall into” crime out of lax record-keeping. His wife was also involved in the pattern of embezzlement and tax fraud, and the level of their misappropriations was not trifling.

Sandra Jackson admitted to not reporting $600,000 of income, and the couple confessed to using re-election campaign funds to

  • buy a gold-plated Rolex for more than $40,000;
  • purchase $5,000 worth of fur capes and parkas;
  • over $9,000 worth of children’s furniture.

This is corruption, the most obvious kind to which a democratic republic is susceptible.

It is only made more frequent and more expensive in our modern times by the enormous power a congressman can hold over Washington’s tossing about of billions and trillions of dollars.

Who even notices the millions?

Jesse Jackson, Jr., isn’t alone in wanting a piece of the Washington action. Nor is he alone in thinking about himself first, and . . . well, not having time to think about anything second.

I’ve even seen this happen to minor-party candidates. It’s too easy to see a political campaign as about the candidate and not the principles — about personal advancement, not representation.

We’ll never have perfect people in public office, but we can do a whole lot better. And it’s good to see the guilty caught and prosecuted.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.