Chicagoans are fed up with corrupt politicians and they want the judge sentencing Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi, to know all about it.
Recent letters to the U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson (no relation) detail frustrations from those in Chicago and the surrounding counties over our state’s laughingstock status when it comes to politicians’ bad behavior.
“The crush of political corruption has been felt heavy in both Chicago and in Illinois. Moral fiber is lacking and often totally absent.
We have a long-standing tawdry reputation of political corruption at all levels,” wrote William Pappas of Chicago. “Political corruption has got to stop in Illinois — please.”
On Wednesday, the former congressman and his wife – a former Chicago alderman — face sentencing in a Washington D.C. federal courthouse. The two also benefitted from letter penned by other high-profile leaders who asked the judge for leniency.
The Jacksons pleaded guilty to federal charges and admitted to stealing from the congressman’s campaign fund for years. Prosecutors have recommended four years for the ex-congressman and one year for his wife.
Some Chicagoans told the judge they didn’t believe Jackson’s contention that he left office in June of 2012 because he was suffering from an illness.
Others wrote that Jackson Jr. should get a higher sentence because he waited until after he was reelected to resign from his office and disclose that he was under federal scrutiny. The Jacksons are just the latest Illinois example of a high-profile fall from grace. Others: former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, former Gov. George Ryan, not to mention a handful of state lawmakers and aldermen. (On Monday, the Sun-Times reported that the former governor’s brother, Robert Blagojevich, believed there was something wrong with a system that imprisons his brother for 14 years while Jackson faces four years.
“Our system of government begins and ends with the people — average Joes having confidence in it,” Jim Brown of Chicago wrote to the court. “If after all the Jacksons have brazenly done, they get to walk or get a mere slap on the proverbial wrist with no real jail time, you will have weakened our system of justice throughout the land.”