WASHINGTON – Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi, the former alderman – who are battling in a messy divorce – have not asked President Barack Obama for clemency after serving prison sentences for looting campaign funds, the Sun-Times has learned.
“We do not have petitions from either Jesse Jackson Jr. or Sandi Jackson,” Dena Iverson, a Justice Department spokesman, told the Sun-Times.
An act of clemency could have wiped the slate clean.
In contrast, the Justice Department earlier confirmed that imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is asking Obama to reduce his 14-year corruption sentence.
Last month, Jesse Jr. made a plea to Obama through Facebook to grant mass pardons before he leaves office on Jan. 20
After leaving prison last year, Jackson had signaled that he might ask Obama, who he knew from when Obama’s earliest days in South Side politics. There was another connection, though one that faded with time. Sanita Jackson, a high school pal of Michelle Obama, sang at the Obamas’ 1992 wedding reception at the South Shore Cultural Center.
On Facebook, Jackson wrote: “Truly, Mr. President, with a presidential pardon equally monumental to, and greater in scope than, the Emancipation Proclamation, the legacy of Barack Hussein Obama II will be one of faith, hope and love.
“It will indicate an unprecedented amount of personal courage because it is an act of extraordinary strength. Yet, for the recipients of grace, it will be a miracle. There are millions of people who have learned their lessons, will never return to prison, who still need a clean slate. If you give it to them, it will be a miracle in their lives.”
Because of the nature of Jackson’s offense, though, it seemed impossible for Obama to give Jackson an individual break.
The disgraced former congressman and his wife, pleaded guilty on Feb. 20, 2013, to looting campaign funds of $750,000 and spending much of it on personal items — ranging from the lavish, including a Rolex and furs, to the mundane, such as toilet paper bought at Costco, to the bizarre, two mounted elk heads for his Capitol Hill House office.