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SNEED: Feds following the money — and who might have been giving it to Jesse Jackson Jr.

FILE - In this March 20 2012 file phoRep. Jesse JacksJr. D-Ill. speaks Chicago. A spokesman for House Speaker John

FILE - In this March 20, 2012 file photo, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill. speaks in Chicago. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner says he has received letter of resignation from Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Wednesday. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

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Updated: March 13, 2013 6:33AM



The Jackson file . . .

Sneed hears rumbles the feds, who had been probing former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s campaign fund misuse, have turned their sights on who may have been giving Jackson illicit cash to pay his bills.

Word is Jackson, who just signed a plea deal following the intense federal probe, was reportedly using cash to pay his credit card bills via money orders.

A source familiar with the probe tells Sneed: “The guy [Jackson] knows he’s being investigated in a House ethics probe . . . and yet he continues to dip into his campaign funds for personal use.”

Sneed hears about $100,000 may have been funneled from his campaign funds for personal use. Word is some of the funds may have been used to redo a kitchen in a Jackson home.

The feds are now investigating.

The Hadiya case . . .

Sneed is told a witness to the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton on Jan. 29 — which resulted in murder charges filed Monday against two Gangster Disciples gang members, Michael Ward and Kenneth Williams — was due to return to Chicago from Las Vegas Monday afternoon for a lineup but missed his flight. Stay tuned.

The pope’s plight . . .

The big question: Is the real reason for Pope Benedict XVI’s abrupt decision to resign a medical condition called Alzheimer’s disease?

◆ Backshot: The pope, who has been in office since 2005, shocked the world Monday morning by announcing he will leave as head of the Catholic Church later this month.

Cardinal Francis George, who saw the pope in Rome last week, felt he looked extremely tired but showed no sign of mental weakness. “It’s been suggested that might be the problem, but no one who has been with the pope recently is publicly stating that,” a source said.

Ironically, George, who voluntarily submitted his compulsory resignation letter last year — which was rejected — is not only going to be a member of the conclave choosing a new pope but could be in the running.

The pope’s plight: II . . .

It was the scoop of a lifetime: Vatican reporter Giovanna Chirri, who works for Italian wire service ANSA, got the scoop on Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation — which he read in Latin — because she can speak Latin! Many of the reporters at the papal announcement were befuddled initially when the pope issued his statement in the language of the ancient Roman church.

The pope’s plight: III . . .

A Canadian Pope? Montreal Cardinal Marc Ouellet is considered to be on the papal short list, but it doesn’t seem like he wants the job.

◆ Translation: When asked if he was interested in the papacy in 2011, Ouellet told a Quebec newspaper: Being pope “would be a nightmare,” adding the duties are “not very enviable” and the responsibilities “are crushing.”

The profile push . . .

Sneed has learned congressional hopeful Robin Kelly, who is hoping to fill Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s empty shoes, will be the special guest of Reps. Bobby Rush and Danny Davis at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

“Robin is on the right side of gun control,” said Rush, who recently endorsed Kelly’s candidacy in tandem with Davis.

“She [Kelly] broke down in my office the other day — in tears remembering Valentine’s Day is the anniversary of the murder of her best friend, a woman who was shot and killed,” he said.

Warble winners . . .

First lady Michelle Obama always picks winners! The first lady told People magazine her Grammy picks included R&B artist Frank Ocean to win album of the year (he won best urban contemporary album) and pop star Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” to win song of the year (it won best pop vocal album). Cigar but not close!

I spy . . .

Actor Treat Williams stopped by Hugo’s Frog Bar on Monday . . . Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and fiancee Kristin Cavallari dining at Chicago Cut on Saturday night . . . and the Anaheim Ducks hockey team dropped in at Chicago Cut on Sunday for dinner and had all their leftovers packed up to be given to the homeless at a shelter nearby.

Sneedlings . . .

Tuesday’s birthdays: Arsenio Hall, 57; Bill Russell, 79; and Josh Brolin, 45.



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