Alderman Sandi Jackson, 7th Ward, released a statement Wednesday following a report that her husband had an affair with a Washington D.C. restaurant hostess: Today's public disclosure is not new and is one that my family and I have been privately addressing for two years. Therefore, I would hope that the public and the media will respect our family's right to continue to handle this matter privately.
Jackson also faces allegations that there is new evidence the tried to purchase an appointment to the U.S. Senate.
"I think this is something that would have to be thoroughly investigated, because I don't think at the time you got all the facts out there," said Richard, constituent
New evidence supports allegations that Jackson tried to purchase the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama in 2008 from then governor Rod Blagojevich, who will face a corruption retrial in early 2011.
During a meeting on October 8, 2008, Jackson allegedly asked political moneyman Raghuveer Nayak to raise $5 million to use toward the Senate appointment.
Nayak reportedly told FBI agents that Giovanna Hidoboro, a so-called social acquaintance of Jackson, also attended that meeting. Nayak said he bought roundtrip plane tickets to Chicago for the Washington DC restaurant hostess, with whom the congressman allegedly had a questionable relationship.
Jackson denied he was involved in a attempt to buy the Senate seat. As for the alleged affair, Jackson's office released a statement: This reference to a social acquaintance is a private and personal matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago. I know I have disappointed some supporters and for that I am deeply sorry.
"I hold our politicians to a standard of moral accountability. I don't think those kind of allegations imply moral account ability," said Cynthia Bowns, voter
Neither Jackson nor his wife, Alderman Sandi Jackson (7 th Ward), would comment on the allegations during Sandi's birthday party. Sandi did release a statement Wednesday calling the alleged affair 'old news.'
"He's representing the people who actually put him in the office, so yeah, it may impact how I feel about it," said Donald Moody, constituent.
A group of constituents who believe the allegations have hurt Jackson's political future plans a news conference and protest at noon in Dolton.
Jackson's challengers weigh in on allegations
As Jackson maintains his silence, the volume on the political rhetoric in his south suburban district has steadily increased. Opposition party candidates who had almost no chance against the eight-term incumbent are seizing an opportunity.
Anthony Williams is the Green Party's candidate in the Illinois second congressional district. It's Williams' fifth campaign to unseat Jesse Jackson Junior, who has represented the city's South Side and south suburbs since 1995. Williams said Jackson's legal issues are a distraction at the worst possible time.
"People (are) trying to survive and so you need a serious-minded person with an agenda from the people trying to serve their best interests," said Williams.
Some constituents seem to agree, but others believe Jackson's affair is personal.
"I lost a lot of faith in Jesse, Jr. after that. He was my boy... When this thing went down it changed everything," said William Ellis, Dolton resident.
"You got a family and you doing things to hurt your family. I don't think that's a good man to be in politics," said Oliver Blanchard, Dolton.
"It don't matter cause ain't nobody perfect. He got my vote every time," said Walter Wells, Calumet City.
A spokesman said Jackson was headed to Washington Wednesday. Williams said the congressman's refusal to debate him and republican candidate Isaac Hayes is evidence of Williams called the congressman's arrogance."His self-centeredness has been his downfall. It's never been about serving people with him," said Williams.
Since Labor Day, Jackson has conducted a relatively low-key campaign in the second district, which was- until now- considered a 'safe seat' by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.