Case of Jesse Jackson, Jr. is Test for House Ethics Commitee

Jesse Jackson Jr. photoLast week, the United States House of Representatives Ethics Committee voted to end its temporary deferral of a case against Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL). The US Justice Department had requested the deferral but has since withdrawn that request. The case had been deferred for over two years.

Jackson, the son of Rev. Jesse Jackson, is in his ninth term in the US House and is under investigation for allegations that he attempted to buy the open US Senate seat that was vacated by President Barack Obama. It has been reported that Jackson’s supporters were willing to raise $1.5 million on behalf of Governor Blagojevich’s re-election campaign.

While Jackson has maintained that he did no wrong, the investigation will continue. According to Associated Press and reported on, Jackson’s office had no comment on the announcement and his attorney was unavailable for comment. In Chicago, the US Attorney’s office had no comment on whether its probe of Jackson had concluded.

Congressman Jackson has admitted that he was “Senate Candidate A” in the criminal complaint against then Governor Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich had considered a number of different candidates for the Obama seat.

Associated Press reported that while the future direction of the House investigation is not clear, the committee has looked at whether the Congressman or others on his behalf, offered to raise money for Blagojevich. The former governor was convicted of numerous charges this past summer including trying to sell the Senate seat.

The Ethics Committee is made up of ten members of the House of Representatives consisting of five from each party. In a statement released by the committee it noted that the extension “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”

The committee also stated that it would announce further plans regarding the investigation on December 2, 2011.

NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm said, “Eric Holder’s Justice Department has now punted on prosecuting another member of Congress. Since Jackson is African-American and the case involved President Obama’s Senate seat, the investigation probably never had a chance.”

Boehm continued, “It is now up to the Ethics Committee to conduct a complete investigation. In the wake of the Maxine Waters fiasco, this is a test of whether the Committee can actually function and do its job.”