Jesse Jackson Jr. Under Federal Scrutiny, Reports Say

October 14, 2012

By Amanda Becker, Roll Call

Beleaguered Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. could be implicated in a second federal investigation, according to reports today.

The Chicago Sun-Times, citing unnamed sources, is reporting that the FBI field office in Washington, D.C., is investigating “suspicious activity” related to the Illinois Democrat’s official Congressional account or his campaign’s finances.

Roll Call could not independently corroborate the report. But NBC News also reported this evening that Jackson is under investigation and that his lawyers had asked recently that he not be indicted before the election. NBC cited “law enforcement sources.”

Jackson has been questioned about his use of Congressional and campaign funds in the past.

For example, Roll Call reported in February that Jackson’s re-election committee had paid more than $12,000 for the Congressman and his wife to stay in Israel for an additional three nights after a weeklong excursion sponsored by a private interest group.

A year-end report filed by the Jesse Jackson Jr. for Congress campaign reported spending $9,273 on hotel accommodations at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and $3,210 for a tour guide in Tel Aviv during a “CODEL in August 2011.”

The trip was not an official Congressional trip, known as a CODEL, but one paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, the charitable arm of the pro-Israel lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Campaign finance law experts told Roll Call at the time that lawmakers can use campaign funds for official officeholder expenses overseas, though without specifics it would be difficult to determine what trips might qualify.

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