Jesse Jackson Jr's former 2nd Congressional District constituents upset with plea deal

February 8, 2013 4:17:13 PM PST
Many of Jesse Jackson Junior's former constituents are upset about his plea deal.

All was quiet at Jackson's South Shore home Friday afternoon as his former 2nd Congressional District constituents learned of his plea deal with federal investigators. Reaction ranged from disappointment to anger.

Some constituents said, in light of the situation, they simply don't know who to trust.

"Every time we turn around there's one more of our politicians caught with their hand in the till," said 2nd Congressional District constituent Theodore Wilson. "It's kind of frustrating."

There has been strong reaction by those who once called Jackson their congressman after learning that the former lawmaker signed a plea deal with federal prosecutors, admitting he violated to campaign finance law when he used campaign contributions for personal use.

"I'm very disappointed," said Tondalaya Watkins. "The money was supposed to be used for other things, and he used it for personal reasons, and that's not right."

Jackson allegedly misspent a large amount of campaign funds, including buying a $40,000 Rolex watch.

Citing health issues, Jackson resigned from his congressional seat he held for 17 years in November 2012, just 15 days after winning re-election to his Chicago-area district by a 40-point margin and after becoming the subject of a federal investigation and citing health issues.

"The illness, I feel like, has been there a long time," said 2nd Congressional District constituent LaVonia Ellis. "The illness didn't make him do these things that he did."

Jackson's father, Rev. Jesse Jackson, refused comment Friday about his son's plea deal or reports that Sandi Jackson is now the target of a separate investigation by federal officials.

"I'm not gonna discuss my son's medical or legal situations. At the appropriate time they will be discussed," said Rev. Jackson.

Voters in the 2nd Congressional District remain without representation until a special election to fill the seat.

"I'm disappointed because I think he had the opportunity to run for president," said 2nd Congressional District constituent Joseph Hunter. "This just put an end to it."

There will be a special election to fill Jackson's vacant seat April 9.