Why isn't Jesse Jackson being prosecuted for embezzlement?
April 28, 2001 5:42 PM   Subscribe

Why isn't Jesse Jackson being prosecuted for embezzlement? Jackson's Citizenship Education Fund gave $35,000 to the mother of Jackson's illegitimate daughter for "relocation expenses". Is this routinely done for all ex-employees of the foundation?
posted by Steven Den Beste (16 comments total)
Yeah... but there's no reason for a democrat to push this, and if a republican even tries, he'll be labeled a racist in no time.
posted by Witold at 5:49 PM on April 28, 2001

Sure, Witold, Democratic prosecutors won't go after Democrats for what appears to be a breaking of laws. Never happens.
posted by raysmj at 6:10 PM on April 28, 2001

...and republicans never prosecute black guys...
posted by jpoulos at 6:17 PM on April 28, 2001

Interesting how things get pushed into a "bad guy "situation and why is bad guy getting away with something. Fact is, Jackson's organization has authorized payments and has not thought of bringing charges of embezzlement against Jackson. Why then wouldhe be prosecuted if payments got stamp of approval from the organiation that is being "embezzled." this is not to say that I think this is nice or a good move. But it is their choice and not mine.
Why then the need to make a case against Jackson when law authorities, the organization paying the bills, are not making a case?
posted by Postroad at 6:22 PM on April 28, 2001

We'll see what happens. Either no one brings up any charges or he gets off with some kind of fine... paying off the money back to CEF or something similar.
posted by Witold at 6:24 PM on April 28, 2001

Steven and Witold: It has been printed many times already that the Rainbow board approved for the relocation fee. That changes everything. Now, if it could be proved that the board did so under any threat from Jackson and with the knowledge that Jackson was the father of Stafford's child, it could be worthy of a prosector's time. But you're talking a very iffy case, seems to me. Meantime, the worst that could occur is a questioning of the organization's non-profit status. Maybe it violates tax laws. Then of course there is always the ever-handy mail fraud charge. But I doubt there is anything suggesting a win in court going on here, certainly nothing to suggest a direct conversion of funds for Jackson's personal use.

The only new news here regards Jesse's failure to reach an agreement with Stafford regarding child support payments, which seems bad enough to me. So why not make that the subject for discussion?
posted by raysmj at 6:29 PM on April 28, 2001

Whenever I see anything refering to Jesse now I get getting the parody song that MadTV did in my head. Sung to the Outkast song, Ms. Jaskson:

I'm sorry Ms. Jackson
I am for real
I never meant to cheat on you my wife
Now I'll retire from the public life

Ack...I must find that mp3!
posted by john at 7:18 PM on April 28, 2001

Jackson isn't being prosecuted because it doesn't appear to be embezzlement. The $35,000 was paid to Stanford with the knowledge of the Citizens Education Fund board, according to a Washington Times report.

Stanford earned $120,000 a year as the Washington bureau director of Rainbow/PUSH. A $35,000 payment at severance is high, but hardly unprecedented.

The best argument can be made against the CEF's non-profit status. The payoff to Stanford might be interpreted as personal redirection of the charity's funds, which is similar to what got former United Way director William Aramony in trouble several years ago.
posted by rcade at 5:07 AM on April 29, 2001

Severance is never "routine" for employees above the director level in public or private companies. Working slobs get two weeks. For the brass, the sky's limit. Look at Cheney.
posted by steve_high at 7:23 AM on April 29, 2001

Fact is, Jackson's organization has authorized payments and has not thought of bringing charges of embezzlement against Jackson.

I thought the issue was you're not supposed to use tax-free charitable donations to pay off your mistress. But I could be wrong.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:43 AM on April 29, 2001

dagny, you're assuming that Jackson's mistress did not earn her salary or her severance pay, facts that are not in evidence, at least in this thread.

I haven't followed this case, so I don't know.

In Silicon Valley, it's not uncommon for male executives to work women on their team to death AND make them give blow jobs. So their boards, if it reaches them, are happy to approve severance settlements of six months salary or more plus stock up the ying-yang.

As I said earlier, however, if the woman is a secretary, she gets two weeks and don't let the doorknob catch you in the crack of your ass.

In the case of city managers, public work directors, executive directors of non-profits, etc., the same rules apply, although without stock options the handshake is never as heavy.

But quite apart from the technicalities, Jesse Jackson, like John Kerrey, is a hero. I don't think we should fuck around calling people like this embezzlers and war criminals until we've done something ourselves to reach similar stature.

Do I think our heroes should be beyond criticism and scrutiny? No. But I think both Kerrey, who left a leg in Vietnam, a punishment no one has even proposed for Richard Allen Davis, and Jackson, who risked his life in the Mississippi Delta, which was as dangerous as the Mekong Delta, both deserve a pass on the current scandals des jours.
posted by steve_high at 9:25 AM on April 29, 2001

In Silicon Valley, it's not uncommon for male executives to work women on their team to death AND make them give blow jobs.

Ahem. That's called sexual harassment.
posted by dagnyscott at 10:52 AM on April 29, 2001

I worked as a newspaper reporter in the Mississippi Delta for years. I have several books around about the region. Jesse Jackson is mentioned them only once, in the 1980s, when he came to Tunica County, Miss., with media in tow to talk about the shame which was Sugar Ditch, the poorest place in America. A couple of years or so later, Jesse was praising his new friend Michael Milken to the skies, just as Mike happened to be under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (and Rudy too).

Do I think Jesse's done a lot of good in his lifetime? Absolutely. Does he have many gigantic faults, ones impossible to ignore? Ditto. Which is not to say he has not had great ideas -- his many speeches on the need for a lessening of inequality in the South and America, regardless of race, are enormously powerful. It's just that the ordinary American can't look at him without thinking about his crying wolf, or his opportunism in general, or now, thinking he's a deadbeat for trying to negotiate his child support payments downward. And the ordinary American is not wrong to do so, although some people seem a smidgen too obsessed with him.

P.S.: The Delta, as pitifully poor as it still is, had very little racial-related violence in comparison with most parts of the South during the civil rights era. Emmitt Till's case comes to mind, but nothing much else of serious significance. Did violent events occur there? Certainly, just more so before the 1950s and '60s. It was not Ground Zero of the civil rights movement in any case, although it's significant due to rallies held there (the first cry for "black power" came in Greenwood), personalities from the region such as Fannie Lou Hamer, King's bringing attention to poverty there, its majority black population, etc.
posted by raysmj at 11:07 AM on April 29, 2001

1. Excellent post, raysmj. Facts are always good. Regardless, I think Jackson is a big man and that this embezzlement charge is a small, petty and unworthy thing.

2. Dagny, I'm pretty well up on what sexual harassment is. But you said the issue was the woman's getting paid off and I'm suggesting she may have simply been getting paid. If she was just on the payroll to provide sex for Jackson, then I guess he might be guilty of mis-use of charitable funds, but I still don't think it should be investigated or prosecuted.

Mickey Mantle, as we know all know, was guilty of being a peeping tom on the roof of a New York hotel. I say, a guy hits a baseball that far, let him off with a warning. Some dog like me gets caught with his eye in the telescope, I deserve to have to call up my wife and ask to get bailed out of Rykers. (Would I risk it anyway? Probably).

We deserve to have heroes, and heroes deserve some immunity from chickenshit harassment even if this means that they are above the law.

BTW, Dagny, I went to your web site and was pleased to see that people still read books. I like looking at things like Hyakugojyuuichi, but I worry a little about who's gonna run the Republic when I'm using store-bought choppers.
posted by steve_high at 11:45 AM on April 29, 2001

Jesse is a Martin Luther King wannabe, except that he falls far short of MLK. He thrives on publicity and uses it to promote himself. He's very good at implicitly charging everyone with racism if they don't go his way.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me: does CEF do anything aside from bullying big corporations into hiring more blacks and threatening them with racism charges? (think wall st, supreme court clerks, etc) Do they have any other programs? I don't know exactly what CEF does but that's the impression I got from their webpage and prior metions in the press.
posted by Witold at 6:34 PM on April 29, 2001

The Wall Street Journal ran a very good story on this topic a couple of months or so back. It's now certain Wall Street business people who want to work with Jackson, as much or more as vice versa. Even in the 1980s . . . Look, why do you think Mike Milken hooked up with Jesse when things were looking down? He didn't threaten anyone then; Milken's people apparently contacted Jackson. (They then appeared at a Dodgers game with dozens of mostly black, underprivileged school children.) The idea here is that Jesse's a brand name, so to speak, and better to work with Jesse than someone else who comes along and demands more. (That he has cried wolf and that there has been an element of coersion involved is undeniable, but no one forces AOL TimeWarner to hand grants to Jackson and hold a press conference. If you don't believe me, look at the timing of the grants announcement -- two or three days after Jesse came back from his three-day retirement.)

Meantime, Jesse's bidness talks had become almost starchy conservative in the past year: dress the part, pay attention to grammar, etc. Not that I totally disagree, but I think a funky tie every now or dressy casual and then is OK, depending on what type of job you are doing. That said, people of both races are increasingly annoying me these days by constantly typing "definately" in e-mails.

For minorities, however, it's true that image may be double what it means for whites, depending on the circumstances -- which only means to me that he wasn't practicing what he, um, preached. At all.
posted by raysmj at 7:17 PM on April 29, 2001

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