Jacksons surely deserve no tears

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife can cry for themselves because we aren’t going to shed any tears over a couple of crooks.

Jackson, D-Ill., tearfully pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and making false statements after he used $750,000 in campaign funds over seven years to live the high life.

His wife, Sandra, pleaded guilty a few hours later to filing false tax returns for failing to report $600,000 in income that she and her husband earned between 2005 and 2011, The Associated Press reports.

It’s not only the amounts of the fraud that’s galling in this case but also the wastefulness in how the money was spent.

Among the items Jackson, 47, purchased with campaign funds were a $43,350 gold-plated Rolex watch, fur capes and parkas worth $5,150, personal expenses at bars, restaurants and lounges totaling $60,857, multiple flat-screen televisions and Blu-Ray DVD players for their home; $9,588 in children’s furniture; plus much, much more.

The couple used campaign credit cards as their personal magical pot of money.

This wasn’t a case of buying necessities; it’s a matter of knowingly stealing money from your campaign donors to finance a lifestyle the Jacksons couldn’t afford because they apparently felt entitled to whatever they wanted.

They weren’t, and they should pay severely for it.

And it’s not a case of an honest mistake. The Jacksons knew what they were doing was wrong but did it anyway.

This is evident by another of Jackson’s illegal purchases with campaign funds: a pair of mounted elk heads for his congressional office.

Yet when the FBI was closing in and knowing the heads were improperly purchased, Jackson had a staffer try to sell the heads with the money to go into Jackson’s personal account, per Sandra’s instructions.

The buyer turned out to be an undercover FBI employee, so the scheme fell apart.

One of Jackson’s lawyers told reporters that he believes Jackson will get another chance, saying “a man that devoted to public service, a man who’s done so much for so many, has another day.”

We see it another way.

Rather than being devoted to public service, Jackson’s record is one of serving himself by stealing campaign dollars to lavish extravagance upon his family with no regard for the public or the law.

He and his wife deserve every day of jail time they get. Being a politician or a politician’s wife isn’t an excuse for being a crook.

-Altoona Mirror