Ald. Sandi Jackson misses budget vote
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org November 15, 2012 3:40PM
Updated: November 15, 2012 8:21PM
Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) stayed away from City Hall Thursday, missing a vote on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget, the most important City Council vote of the year.
Her front-and-center seat in the City Council chambers remained vacant as a phalanx of reporters recently referred to as “jackals” by Jackson waited to ambush her.
Jackson’s husband, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., is under federal investigation for possible misuse of campaign dollars. This week, the congressman was released from the Mayo Clinic, his second round of treatment at the Minnesota facility for depression, since his extended absence from congress that began June 10th.
The Sun-Times first reported last month that before Jackson left Congress in June for treatment of bipolar depression, the FBI in the Washington D.C. field office had been investigating Jackson due to alleged “suspicious activity” of how he used his campaign funds.
Sources said that the investigation has raised questions about to what extent his wife knew about the alleged improper activity. Sandi Jackson’s firm, Donatella & Associates, is paid upwards of $100,000 a year out of her husband’s campaign fund as a “consultant.”
After Thursday’s budget vote, Emanuel said his staff got a heads-up that Jackson would be a no-show and he cut the alderman some slack.
“It doesn’t take a lot to know that she’s balancing a lot — both as a mother, as a spouse, as a public servant.
“I’ve got to be honest. It’s not like, with a vote of 46-to-3, that the [outcome] hung in the balance. What I think is more important is not what Ald. Jackson did or didn’t show up….It’s essential that the congressman begin a conversation with his constituents about his intentions and his actions.”
But, if Sandi Jackson won’t even show up for a budget vote, the mayor was asked how she can possibly serve the residents of her Far South Side Ward.
“I’m not sure I buy that and, more important is what her constituents will buy or not buy for a budget vote,” the mayor said.
“All of us know that this is a unique moment in time for her as both a spouse and a parent, let alone as an alderman and she’ll make those decisions. I don’t think, for the budget, it was essential [that she show up]. I do think that it’s essential for the congressman, who’s been out for a while, to begin his conversation with his constituents about his intentions.”