Big Red Car here. Been out for an early run this morning. Got stopped for not having a current registration. The Boss had put it in the glove compartment — when was the last time you wore gloves, driving gloves I guess?
The policeman was quite understanding and said to get it on the windshield and did not write The Boss a ticket. Got me thinking about the legitimate role of government and how government regulates itself.
Which got me thinking about how government regulates itself, how it identifies and roots out corruption. Which, OF COURSE, gets me thinking about Chicago and the Chicago Machine.
Jesse Jackson, Jr
Yesterday afternoon — Friday afternoon on a holiday weekend, haha — the Feds announce that they have indicted former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr and that they have arrived at a plea agreement subject only to a Federal Judge sentencing JJJ.
Pardon my cynicism — a Friday afternoon. A holiday weekend. The President in town for a major campaign speech on guns.
Somebody was running interference for JJJ. Clout. Corruption. Protection.
So what exactly did JJJ do or what is he willing to admit to?
These are not complicated, complex charges.
JJJ stole money. Gobs of money. Campaign contributions he solicited knowing he intended to steal them.
Theft of gobs of money, fraud, mail fraud, lying to investigators.
What did he — JJJ — do with the money?
He bought a gold Rolex, he feathered the beds of a few misstresses, he bought children’s furniture, Michael Jackson memorabilia, mink coats.
These were not campaign violations or impulse purchases — this was cold blooded, painstakingly considered, premeditated theft.
He has apologized for “errors in judgement”.
Errors in judgement means things like — ooops, I used the wrong fork with shellfish; or, I drank a white wine with a steak; or, I was speeding. Those are errors in judgement. What JJJ did was just corruption and criminal behavior.
No, this was a thumb in the eye of honest men everywhere, a “the rules do not apply to a big dog like me”, the rules are for the little people.
But he did not do it alone.
So JJJ had a witting and accomplished accomplice, his wife, Sandi Jackson. Sandi is charged with filing false campaign reports and Federal income tax returns which cynically attempted to hide $750,000 of theft. She too has been indicted, sought a pleas deal and will be sentenced.
JJJ is liable for up to 5 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Right, you say Big Red Car, he stole $750,000 and he has to repay $250,000 and serve up to 5 years.
Sandi is looking at 3 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
Let me state the obvious. They will both likely get probation and are not likely to get prison time because……………………wait for it……………………they have a child and will seek clemency to take care of their child.
They have engaged in the behavior since 2007 — bi-polar, or not.
This corruption is a pattern of repeating behavior in Chicago. JJJ’s predecessor was Mel Reynolds who was convicted of having sex with a teenage campaign volunteer.
Guess what? Mel Reynolds is going to run for JJJ’s vacated seat! I do like the idea of having a “pre-indicted” candidate. Makes it easier for the Federal prosecutors.
In the course of all of this which feels like a Traffic Court dust up given JJJ’s comments. JJJ says:
“I want to offer my sincerest apologies … it is my hope that I am remembered for things that I did right.”
Cynical Big Red Car says: “And what would those things be exactly given that you started stealing a couple of months after your inauguration?”
Big Red Car has to go take a shower.
But, hey, what the Hell do I know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car in desperate need of a good lathering.