As a journalist and an American I take no pleasure in the embarrassment of Jesse Jackson. But I do believe in karma, and the fact that Jackson is now getting his may be the ruling of the universe. For years, Jackson has been dividing Americans. Sometimes with good cause, other times employing pure exploitation. With the revelations that he fathered a child with his mistress and paid her big money to keep quiet, Jackson has lost his moral imperative. And he may be losing much more.
I have been looking into Jackson’s finances for the past two years. The facts are these: He runs four organizations, and two of them are tax exempt. In some cases he does not itemize his expenses on the tax-exempts. For example, in 1998 the Rainbow Push Coalition cited 1.2 million dollars in travel expenses. But no receipts were provided in the Illinois tax return. You try that.
In 1982 the IRS reviewed Jackson’s non-profit status. About one million dollars was unaccounted for. Jackson was ordered to repay about seven hundred thousand to the government. It took him years to do it. The IRS did not charge him interest or a penalty. You try to get that deal.
Jesse Jackson is a millionaire but does not have a full-time job. He gets paid to speak and apparently has a steady income flow. He provided his mistress with $40,000 in moving expenses, a $365,000 house and $10,000 a month in child support. Was any of that tax- exempt money? Enquiring minds would like to know.
The government seems to be afraid of Jesse Jackson. He has not been audited since 1982 even though he was a million light. The press is afraid of Jackson as well. The New York Times played the mistress story on page 26.
The reason the powers that be are afraid is that Jackson will demonize his opponents in a heartbeat. He’ll slap you with a racist tag, and if you really annoy him, he’ll picket you and urge his supporters to drive you out of business. He is not a man to be taken lightly.
Last year Jesse Jackson went to Mississippi and told the world that the authorities were covering up the murder of a young man found hanging from a tree. Of course that wasn’t true. The evidence was overwhelming that the man committed suicide. Jackson never apologized.
A few months ago, Jesse Jackson ran down to Florida and told the world the state willingly disenfranchised thousands of black voters. No proof was presented, but the NAACP has filed a lawsuit. I am anxiously awaiting the depositions, as no journalist has uncovered any pattern of organized unlawful acts against African-Americans. But Jackson is positive there was a conspiracy. Just as he was positive about that young man in Mississippi.
Jesse Jackson has many enemies, but few are willing to talk on the record. One very powerful man in Washington told me that he wanted Jackson to join a group that was going into the inner cities to speak to small children about the horrors of drugs. The group would have garnered a tremendous amount of publicity. Jackson declined to participate.
The CEO of the company Cypress Semiconductor told me that Jackson demanded his company hire “consultants,” people close to Jackson, for advice on how to integrate the company. As Cypress is very well integrated, the CEO told Jackson to take a hike.
Many executives would not have done that and would have hired Jackson’s pals. Is there anything for Jackson at the end of the “consulting” rainbow? Once again, enquiring minds want to know.
Jesse Jackson is the most visible African-American leader in the country. As such, he holds and wields tremendous power. He has been financially unchecked for the past 18 years. He has rammed his political and social agenda down many throats. Now he has been disgraced and should be thoroughly investigated by the government. But whether Congress or the Bush administration has the courage to do this remains to be seen.
What is apparent, at least to your humble correspondent, is that Jesse Jackson has run afoul of forces far more powerful than auditors or politicians. His karma status is dubious to say the least. His spiritual student, Bill Clinton, somehow beat the karma rap at least in the short term and sprinted from the White House yelling to anyone who would listen that he was a big plus for the country.
Will Jesse Jackson be able to pull a Clinton and come back from disgrace? It certainly is possible. Especially if nobody bothers to look any deeper than the sex business. But the real stories about Jesse Jackson — and Bill Clinton, for that matter — are yet to be told. And unless the government begins to toughen up, the likelihood is that they never will be.
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