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Editorial columns


Worst week in Washington: Jesse Jackson Jr.

What’s $750,000 between friends?

That’s roughly the amount of campaign money that former Illinois congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr. schemed to spend on his personal life between 2005 and 2012, according to his guilty plea.

The sheer amount of campaign money Jackson used on personal conveniences is eye-popping. Even more amazing is the laundry list of things he bought with the cash.

There was the $43,000 Rolex watch – who knew a watch, any watch, could cost that much? There was the $61,000 spent at restaurants, nightclubs and lounges. There was the $5,000 spent on fur capes and parkas. There was the $14,000 on dry cleaning. (That’s a lot of clean suits.) And then there was the hat that had belonged to Michael Jackson.

The congressman wasn’t nibbling around the edges of illegality, he was raiding the refrigerator – again and again.

U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. chose his own metaphor, saying Jackson had used his campaign account as his “personal piggy bank.”

It was an ignominious end to a political career that, when it began in late 1995, was expected to run through the Chicago mayor’s office, the Illinois governorship and even, perhaps, the White House.

Instead, Jackson’s time – at least in the near term – will be spent in a prison cell.

Jesse Jackson Jr., for forgetting that the law applies to, you know, everyone, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Chris Cillizza is a columnist for the Washington Post.