COMMENTARY: Rep. Jackson Should Come Clean

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Prosecutors are investigating Rep. Jackson’s alleged use of $20,000 in campaign money to redecorate the family’s $2.5 million Washington, D.C. home. He is also suspected of using campaign funds to buy a $40,000 Rolex watch for a female friend.

The whole mess is troubling.

If Jackson was working a deal with prosecutors during his re-election race, then he kept his constituents even deeper in the dark.

“I think Congressman Jackson, it’s incumbent upon him to have a conversation with his constituents about his intentions,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters.

This is a shameful scenario that has engulfed a prominent and seemingly politically savvy family. In fact, a friend who spent a significant part of his journalism career in Chicago told me that the Jacksons are one of the most politically astute families in America and experts in crisis management .

If this is true, why would Jackson Jr. spend $40,000 on a Rolex for another woman knowing that a huge expenditure of that kind would be easily traceable – especially if he used campaign funds to buy the watch?

Meanwhile, some of Chicago’s black politicians say they feel sympathy for Sandi Jackson – but are slamming her husband.

“In every marriage somewhere down the line, you think that your husband might fool around on you, but not necessarily commit adultery,” Alderwoman Austin told reporters. “Being a high-profile person, how constrained could he be? But, to have it all now slammed in her face. That has got to be so humiliating, it’s like, I don’t want to get out of bed.”

So what now for Jackson?

He won re-election by a landslide, but Jackson probably won’t serve another day in Congress again. His dreams of running for mayor of Chicago – and even President – are long gone and at this point, just staying out of jail might be the ultimate goal.

“Given the election is over, I think it’s important for him to tell his constituents and tell the public where he stands,” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said this week. “It’s time for him to speak.”

Jackson should come clean today. His constituents deserve better.

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