Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has signed a plea deal with the Justice Department regarding the misuse of campaign funds, according to Chicago news organizations.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the plea deal being negotiated this week includes significant jail time. NBC News says the jail time will be up to a federal judge. The reported deal would also involve repaying the government hundreds of thousands of dollars. Jackson has been under investigation for allegedly using campaign funds to decorate his Washington home, among other things.
Jackson resigned last November, shortly after being reelected to a ninth term in the House. For months before his resignation, he was absent from Congress as he dealt with mental health problems that twice landed him at the Mayo Clinic.
Jackson hinted at a deal in his resignation letter.
“I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone,” he said at the time.
“With the writing on the wall well in advance of Election Day, and Rep. Jackson’s resignation just weeks later, it begs the question whether the former congressman held on to his seat to maintain a stronger bargaining position with prosecutors," said Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Executive Director Melanie Sloan in a statement. "The people of Illinois deserve much more from their federally elected officials."
The former congressman's wife, Sandi Jackson, resigned from her post as an alderman on the Chicago City Council last month.
Jackson's attorney and the U.S. Attorney's office in Washington did not immediately return requests for comment.