Chicago's tradition of corruption

Andrew Malcolm:
...

See if you can follow along now. The details are revealing of the uncompromising history, incestuous inner workings and municipal mores of the place that produced Obama the politician.

Yesterday Mel Reynolds announced his candidacy for the House seat representing Illinois' 2d Congressional District, which includes the city's South Side and -- oh, look! -- Obama's Hyde Park house. So, he'll be eligible to vote in the February Democrat primary and the meaningless April special election.

That special election became necessary after the sudden resignation last week of the district's easy Nov. 6 election winner, eight-term member Jesse Jackson Jr.

Jackson Jr. has been absent from his House duties most of this year during treatment for depression and bipolar disorder. His situation was complicated by revelations that federal authorities are probing allegations of his misuse of campaign funds, not a rare occurrence in Chicago politics.

That resignation and special election is an interesting coincidence because Jackson Jr. was also initially elected in a special election, in December 1995. That followed the sudden resignation of the district's House incumbent after his conviction on 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography.

That new convicted felon was Mel Reynolds.

Reynolds had been elected to the House in 1992 succeeding Democrat Gus Savage, who'd been condemned by the House Ethics Committees over allegations of sexual misconduct with a Peace Corps volunteer during an official visit to Zaire.

During the 1994 House campaign, Reynolds was indicted for sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse. The married congressman had developed an attraction to a 16-year-old female constituent, who became a campaign volunteer and candidate mistress. At one point the teenager confided her underage relationship with Reynolds to a neighbor. The neighbor was a police officer.

Reynolds denied the charges, said they were racially-motivated, continued his second House campaign and, naturally, was easily reelected in November 1994.

So, Mel goes off to state prison while Jesse Jr. wins a crowded 1995 Democrat primary, tantamount to election in those parts. While in prison, Mel receives an additional 6 1/2 year federal term on 15 counts of bank fraud and lying to the SEC.

You may recall December of 2000. That month Republican George W. Bush was declared the next president.

As a loyal former elected Democrat, Mel Reynolds writes a plea to the White House for a commuted sentence.

The letter is delivered to Democrat Bill Clinton by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Democrat father of Reynolds' Democrat successor. Hours before President Clinton surrenders the White House to his GOP successor, he commutes Reynolds' federal fraud conviction.

Upon release, Reynolds is hired by Rev. Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition as a counselor to black teens.

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There is more.

The state senate seat that Obama won became vacant when the woman who held ran unsuccessfully for this tainted House seat.  Piled on top of that irony is that one of the reasons Jesse Jr. was feeling low is because he was caught in a scheme to donate money to the recently convicted governor in order to get an appointment to replace Obama in the US Senate.  

It is not surprising that Obama's term in office is becoming more sleazy by the day.

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