The federal investigation into U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign finances has reportedly expanded to include Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, Jackson's wife.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Sandi has become a subject in the congressman's ongoing plea negotiations. Sources familiar with the case told the Journal that investigators are looking into whether Sandi was complicit in the alleged misuse of campaign dollars to decorate the Jacksons' Washington, D.C. home.
Meanwhile, it was announced Tuesday morning that Jackson is no longer a patient at the Mayo Clinic, though the clinic's spokesman told the Associated Press that he did not know where the congressman is heading. Jackson has been away from work since June and has remained silent on when he aims to return to Washington after re-admitting himself to the Minnesota clinic for treatment for bipolar disorder last month.
Prominent Chicago Democrats are losing patience with Jackson as he he and his staff and family have declined to comment amid the ongoing federal probe. At an unrelated press conference Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged Jackson to address the constituents who handily reelected him to a ninth term in the election Tuesday, one day before news of the plea talks first broke.
"With the election over, there are big issues coming up in the lame duck session," Emanuel told NBC Chicago. "I think Congressman Jackson, it's incumbent upon him to have a conversation with his constituents about his intentions."
The mayor added that he is praying for the Jacksons.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) commented Monday that if the allegations are "honest and accurate," then they raise "some serious questions about his continued service in Congress," CBS Chicago reports.
Various reports have emerged in recent days that Jackson is engaged in ongoing plea negotiations with the feds concerning allegations that he used campaign contributions on personal expenditures. The tentative deal reportedly includes the congressman pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds, resigning for health reasons, repaying any campaign contributions that went toward personal expenditures and -- almost inevitably -- some jail time.
News is expected to come soon concerning Jackson's future. Fox Chicago reported Monday that Jackson's resignation could come within a matter of weeks. If Jackson does resign from office, a special election would be held to choose his successor.
The Jackson family have as yet declined to comment on the plea talk reports, which are unrelated to an ongoing "pay-to-play" ethics investigation concerning whether Jackson was aware of efforts to raise money for imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for his appointment to the Senate in 2008.