Democrats losing patience with Jackson Jr.
November 12, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Political pressure is growing on Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. to come clean about any plea deal he may be negotiating with the feds.
For months, Democratic leaders in Illinois were willing to give Congressman Jackson a pass because he was being treated for bi-polar depression, but now that the election is behind us and the congressman's legal troubles are mounting, Democrats say it's time to Jackson to do some explaining.
He was re-elected, even though he hasn't been seen in the state of Illinois since taking a leave of absence from congress more than five months ago.
While the 2nd District congressman is possibly negotiating a plea deal for misusing campaign funds, Illinois Democrats say it's time for Jackson to come clean with his constituents.
"I think it is important for anyone in public office to tell the public what their situation is all about their legal situation," Governor Pat Quinn said.
"If this is honest and accurate, then it raises some serious questions about his continued service in congress," said Senator Dick Durbin.
Even Mayor Emanuel, who has been supportive of Jackson, says time is up.
"It is incumbent upon him to have a conversation with his constituents about his intentions," Emanuel said.
Some experts say Jackson is holding on to his congressional seat as possible leverage for a plea agreement.
Jackson is under federal investigation for allegedly using campaign funds to buy furniture for his Washington DC home, as well as a $40,000 watch for a female friend.
Former federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer says the furniture could be viewed as a legitimate campaign expense if fundraisers were held in Jackson's house, but Cramer says there is no gray area when it comes to the expensive watch.
"Prosecutors when they pursue cases like this especially Congressman Jackson takes the path of least resistance," he said.
Cramer said the watch alone is enough. If Jackson were to plead guilty he would have to resign and if that's the case, a special election would be held.
Already, there are a number of names being talked as possible candidates, including Jackson's wife, Alderman Sandy Jackson.
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