Disgraced former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to 30 months in prison Wednesday for theft of campaign funds.
The former Illinois representative and son of civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson was charged with using over $750,000 in campaign money as a personal coin purse. His wife, former Chicago alderman Sandra Jackson, has pleaded guilty to the separate charge of falsifying tax returns, and was sentenced today to one year in prison for misusing campaign funds.
As details of the investigation emerged last winter, the media giddily listed the items Jackson had purchased using campaign funds: a $43,350 Rolex watch, an $8,000 pair of mounted elk heads, and countless mundane daily expenses. Jackson's family, meanwhile, submitted letters to the court pleading with them to consider his recent diagnosis and treatment for bipolar disorder and depression when deciding his sentence. Jackson himself has shown nothing but tearful remorse, telling "everybody back home, I'm sorry I let them down."
Jackson Jr. had been something of a rising star in the Democratic Party before rumors of his misbehavior began to swirl. He served as the national co-chairman of President Obama's 2008 campaign and represented Illinois' 2nd district in the U.S. House of Representatives continuously since 1995, before resigning in 2012. By that point, rumors had even begun to circulate that he might run for president, as his father did in 1984 and 1988. Of course, those career aspirations ended the moment this scandal began.