Two days after winning a commanding re-election, U.S. Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has found his way back into the headlines, for a very different reason.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday that Jackson is in the midst of plea discussions with federal prosecutors probing his alleged misuse of campaign funds.
Authorities began probing in June whether Jackson used campaign funds to decorate his home and buy a female friend a $40,000 watch.
More recently, Jackson has returned to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he was treated over the summer for bipolar disorder. He's been on leave since June 10 when he collapsed in his Washington, D.C., home.
The current federal probe isn't the first time Jackson has found himself accused of wrongdoing.
In 2010, Jackson's name was mentioned during the investigation surrounding ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's attempt to sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.
According to a 2010 Sun-Times report, a millionaire Democratic fundraiser named Raghuveer Nayak bought — at Jackson's request — two plane tickets for Giovana Huidobro, a female friend of Jackson's, to fly to Chicago from D.C. Huidobro told authorities she knew nothing of any attempt by Jackson's to purchase the Senate seat, but she didn't deny taking the flights, which Jackson never reported on his House financial disclosure statement.
Jackson's wife Sandi admitted in 2010 that her relationship with her husband had been damaged because of his extra-marital affair with Huidobro. The pair has since decided to stay together and undergo counseling.
Nayak was indicted this year by prosecutors on tax and fraud charges for allegedly bribing physicians to refer patients to outpatient surgery facilities he owned. Meanwhile, Jackson is still facing a House ethics probe over his involvement in the Blagojevich “pay for play” case.
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