In what's shaping out to be a pretty dreadful year for Jesse Jackson's Jr., the Chicago congressman who has been on medical leave for bipolar disorder is now the subject of a criminal investigation for misusing campaign money to spruce up his house.
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The Wall Street Journal's Devlin Barrett and Evan Perez report that a FBI probe of Jackson is in its "final stages ... according to people familiar with the matter," with the possibility of an indictment coming before the November election. The paper reports Jackson's attorneys tried to get assurances that an indictment wouldn't come before Nov. 6, but Justice Department officials refused to make any promises. He's alleged to have "misused campaign money to decorate his house," reports the Journal. Evidence of a probe's existence first appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday, but the paper didn't report why the congressman was being investigated. Sources did tell the paper, however, that it involved Jackson's finances. After the Journal leapfrogged the Sun-Times last night, the paper followed up with details of some unusual activity involving the sale of Jackson's home, which seems to have tipped off investigators:
The Jacksons put their Washington, D.C., home on the market last month at a price of $2.5 million. The listing was public and included the property’s address as well as multiple photos of the inside of the home. A campaign spokesman said at the time that home was put on the market to pay for mounting medical bills... A day after the D.C. listing was made public, the couple subsequently took it back off the market, citing a security issue.
If you're keeping track of Jackson's legal problems at home, this probe has nothing to do with an earlier investigation into Jackson and disgraced ex-Gov. Rod Balgojevich who was accused of scheming to sell off Barack Obama's old Senate seat. (Jackson denied any wrongdoing in that matter.) When it comes to this current investigation, no one knows if it was slowed down by Jackson's surprise disappearance in June which was later attributed to treatment for bipolar disorder and intestinal problems at the Mayo Clinic.
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Whatever the case, Jackson's intestinal problems aren't preventing him from having a drink at DC watering hole Bier Baron, according to Gawker's John Cook.
According to two independent sources, Jackson was spotted drinking at Bier Baron Tavern ... on Tuesday and Wednesday nights last week. Each night, he was accompanied by a different woman. According to both sources, Jackson was drinking. "They were laughing and very focused on each other," one source said of Jackson's demeanor on Wednesday night. "Not sure when they left but I saw them there around 10:30 p.m. They didn't appear intoxicated or loud, but were definitely enjoying themselves."
The establishment formerly known as the Brickskeller, is a basement/restaurant bar famous for its huge selection of international beers. That may win him the respect of craft beer drinkers but not the Chicago Tribune. Last week, the newspaper withheld its endorsement from him, saying it's an "open-ended question" as to whether he'll ever get back to work, listing Republican Brian Woodworth as a "viable alternative."