After Jesse Jackson Jr. quit, Sandi changed campaign reports
By Natasha Korecki Political Reporter Twitter @natashakorecki December 14, 2012 12:32AM
Alderman Sandi Jackson, talks with media at City Council meeting, Wednesday, October 3, 2012. l John H. White~Sun-Times
Updated: January 15, 2013 11:47AM
Five days after Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress, his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, filed a series of amendments to her ward committee’s campaign fund, revealing dozens of previously undisclosed transactions that went back three years. That includes at least $13,000 in previously undisclosed transfers from her husband’s congressional account into her ward organization account, a Sun-Times review of campaign records show.
Among the undisclosed transactions shown in the amended reports were monthly transfers of $1,250 to his wife’s 7th Ward Independent Political Organization — or SWIPO. In a federal disclosure, Rep. Jackson’s campaign fund indicates a $1,250 payment to SWIPO is for rent — he and his wife share campaign office space on Chicago’s South Side. However, the 7th Ward disclosure did not list the purpose of the $1,250 transfers.
On Nov. 27, one of the corrections Sandi Jackson’s 7th Ward committee filed was for the final quarter of 2010. The corrected document submitted after her husband’s resignation showed an additional $20,000 in expenditures for that period and revealed $8,200 in transfers out of her husband’s congressional account.
Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned on Nov. 22, citing a federal probe and an ongoing battle with health issues. The Sun-Times first reported in October that federal authorities were investigating Jackson’s finances. The couple’s finances have been under intense scrutiny since at least before June of this year.
In all, Sandi Jackson’s ward organization filed eight amended reports, dating back to 2009.
Some of the corrected reports now indicate negative balances — something that an official with the Illinois State Board of Elections said could result in a review.
In the second quarter of 2011, for instance, the committee originally filed a report showing nearly $12,000 cash on hand. The amended report showed the committee was actually $7,000 under water. It also did not originally disclose $3,750 in transfers from Jesse Jackson Jr.’s congressional fund.
Typically, negative balances call for follow-up from the board of elections.
“It’s something that we would potentially put an inquiry out to the political committee to see what the circumstances were behind this,” said Andy Nauman, deputy director of the division of campaign disclosure with the State Board of Elections.
A notation on some of the reports blames computer and staff issues.
“To Whom It May Concern, Per our recent conversations, I am amending this file to reflect corrections made to this report reflecting contributions and disbursements that were not included in the original report due to staff transitions and computer errors,” the filings from the 7th Ward committee indicate.
While filing corrections to campaign reports isn’t uncommon, the number of corrections, the extent of initially undisclosed information and the length of time taken to correct the errors indicates: “recurring accounting lapses,” said David Morrison, Deputy Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
Morrison said usually an amended report is for one or two reporting periods, errors are caught relatively quickly. “It’s clarifying a street address … or a finger slip,” he said. “The problems are far more serious than they just had software issues. These are substantially new reports,” Morrison said. “There’s more going on here than I think they’ve acknowledged.”
A message left with Sandi Jackson’s committee was not returned. Neither a spokesman nor an attorney for the Jacksons could be reached for comment on Thursday.