Friday, February 22, 2013
Jackson Graft Case Further Indicts Black Caucus
Investors Business Daily -- Corruption: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s guilty plea to fraud charges raises fresh questions about the Congressional Black Caucus. It's a group with many laudable goals, but why do so many in it succumb to corruption?
A disproportionate share of ethics cases have been brought against this exclusive club.
According to a 2012 National Journal study, five of the six lawmakers under review by the House Ethics Committee were Black Caucus members. Yet just one in 10 House members belong to the group.
It's a familiar pattern.
In 2009, all eight lawmakers under ethics investigation were African-American. Besides Jackson, they included Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who was later convicted of accepting gifts from donors with business before his tax-writing panel and 11 other ethics violations.
All told, the Journal says, an astonishing one-third of sitting black lawmakers have been named in an ethics probe at some point in their Hill careers.
The stat does not include former lawmakers now doing time in prison, such as ex-Rep. William Jefferson, D-La. FBI agents last decade caught Jefferson red-handed with $90,000 of bribery cash stashed in his office freezer.
The Black Caucus was founded 40 years ago by civil-rights leaders as "the conscience of the Congress." Members swore to help "disadvantaged African-Americans." Today, members of the group seem more likely to be in trouble for lining their pockets than solving the very serious problems of their constituencies.
Jackson is just the latest member of the group to get in trouble, according to the Justice Department. Prosecutors last week indicted him for "enriching" himself in a criminal scheme to defraud campaign donors by misusing their funds for his own "personal benefit." He pled guilty on Wednesday.
He admitted to spending at least $750,000 of public funds on personal items, including a $43,350 gold Rolex, $5,150 worth of mink capes and parkas from Beverly Hills, a $4,600 Michael Jackson fedora and $2,200 worth of Malcolm X memorabilia.
He was also accused of falsifying federal campaign finance-disclosure reports to conceal the embezzlement.
Jackson, who faces 46 to 57 months in jail under a plea agreement, won't be sentenced until June 28. His wife, Sandi, who also recently resigned from public office, has pleaded guilty to separate tax fraud charges.
Jackson in a statement said he made some "errors in judgment," adding that we all make "mistakes."
But this wasn't some sudden ethical lapse. The indictment says Jackson engaged in at least a seven-year conspiracy to defraud the public. And it may even predate 2005.
Blog author's comments - Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s guilty plea is the latest in ethics problems by a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. I will not pass judgment on the troubles other members of the Black Caucus may have but, I do believe Rep. Charlie Rangel a member of the Congressional Black Caucus should have been removed from office for being found guilty of 11 ethics charges. Instead, he received a slap on the wrist and was reelected.
Also, I cannot see what the Congressional Black Caucus members do for the black community besides make many of them more dependent on the government. They never tell them it's time to take responsibility for their own life and family.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, former chairman of the CBC, admitted that African-American members of Congress hold Obama to a lower standard because the President is black. Pointing to the historic level of African-American unemployment, Cleaver said, “If we had a white president we’d be marching around the White House.”
Herman Cain, Dr. Ben Carson, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Dr. Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams...just to name a few...are all respected black men, but unfortunately are only respected by Independents and Republicans. Many members of the black community do not know who these men are and what they have accomplished.