By Jordan Libowitz
September 4, 2019

On the last day of July, the FEC sent former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. a Request For Additional Information letter asking why his still technically open campaign committee had not filed a legally required report accounting for his campaign’s financial activities. It was the 28th consecutive RFAI letter sent to Jackson’s campaign committee since its last filing in 2012. Neither Jackson, Jr. nor the campaign has responded to any of them. Or explain what happened to the hundred thousand dollars it had on hand at the end of 2012.

While the letters all say, “It is important that you file this report immediately,” it can’t be that important to the FEC if this is now the eighth year they are sending effectively the same letter. Maybe the problem is that they send all of the letters to a PO box in Chicago. The location of the PO box is unknown, according to a former campaign treasurer, a position the campaign has not had since 2013–the year Jackson, Jr. went to prison for spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses. In 2016, the Chicago Sun-Times took the FEC to task for this–then at only 14 letters–since they were addressing it to Jackson, Jr. in Chicago despite the fact that after being released from prison, he lived in DC, not Chicago.

This is the height of FEC ineffectuality. A Member of Congress goes to prison for looting his campaign account of hundreds of thousands of dollars, stops telling the FEC about the whereabouts of the last hundred thousand dollars in the account, and the FEC responds by sending the same letter over and over again to a PO box that they’ve been informed is probably not getting checked.

The good news is that Jackson, Jr. apparently moved back to Chicago. So he could check the PO box, if, unlike his previous treasurer, he knows where it is. So far, he seems disinclined to do anything about the FEC’s letters. And the FEC seems disinclined to do anything but send the same “important” letter again.

Photo of Jesse Jackson Jr. from WBEZ.