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Our view: From much promise to disgrace

Updated: March 18, 2013 6:51AM



If it wasn’t before, it became painfully clear Friday as to why Jesse Jackson Jr. sank into a deep depression last summer — causing him to take an extended leave of absence from Congress, not campaign for re-election and resign his House seat Nov. 21.

And why his wife, Sandi, resigned as Chicago’s 7th Ward alderman last month.

They knew that their promising political careers were in deep trouble.

How especially stunning and depressing for Jackson Jr., who envisioned himself one day as mayor of Chicago or a U.S. senator, maybe even a presidential candidate.

The felony charges filed Friday against the couple, are more serious than we and many others expected — involving a scheme to misuse $750,000 in campaign money for personal expenses and to evade paying their proper share of income tax from 2006 to 2011.

Jackson Jr., 47, who accepted responsibility for his “mistakes” when he resigned his House seat, plans to plead guilty and could serve time in federal prison and pay a hefty fine.

Sandi Jackson, 49, also intends to plead guilty. She may avoid incarceration or get a lighter sentence to avoid their two children being without parents for a lengthy time.

It’s a sad outcome for the couple, who were akin to rock stars in Chicago’s black community, which has been especially betrayed by them. Because it appears to involve hubris, some may be tempted to compare it to a Shakespearean tragedy. It is not.

A tragedy is what happened in December at a grade school in Connecticut. The Jacksons were greedy and foolish, another distressing example of the corruption and cynicism seemingly inherent in Illinois’ political class. Too many members of that class also have a sense of entitlement that has contributed to their downfall.

Jackson and his wife are the latest inductees into Illinois’ Political Hall of Shame. It looks like we’re going to need a new wing on that building.



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