The reprieve from a House ethics investigation into whether Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. tried to buy the Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated when he won the 2008 presidential election is officially over. The ethics panel said on Tuesday that after a two-year delay it would reopen the case and announce its course of action on or before Dec. 2.
In 2009, the panel had determined in 2009 that Jackson “may have violated federal law and House rules” by public resources, including his staff in Chicago and Washington, to pursue Obama’s old seat. The Justice Department, however, requested that the investigation be put on hold while agency tried former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted in June, on 17 counts of wire fraud, soliciting bribes and attempted extortion.
Jackson has always maintained his innocence, and his office declined to comment on the probe. But former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, who hopes to unseat him in a primary challenge next year, had plenty to say, Chicago’s ABC7 reports. She speculated that the investigation may be expanded to determine whether he improperly used campaign funds to fly his mistress to and from Chicago, and suggested that he’s laying low and not meeting with constituents to avoid the topic.
"Maybe he's embarrassed and he doesn't want to be there with the people because he is afraid of people like you or anybody else coming where he is to ask him questions he doesn't want to answer," Halvorson said.
(Photo: Mitch Dumke/Reuters)