Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s congressional campaign organization has paid his wife Sandra, a Chicago alderman, at least $247,500 since 2001, according to a published report citing federal election records.
His political committee also donated at least $298,927 in cash and in-kind contributions to fund Sandra Jackson's 2007 campaign for her city council seat, which pays more than $100,000 a year.
Jesse Jackson got an advisory opinion from the Federal Election Committee in 2001 stating that his campaign could pay Sandra Jackson for consulting work without violating a ban on personal use of political donations, Bloomberg.com reports.
"Much of this may be legal, but let's refer back to an old quote: the scandal in Washington often is what's legal," Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told Bloomberg.
"Mr. Jackson is availing himself of the full range of loopholes by which he can transfer money to his family."
Sandra Jackson, known as Sandi, was sworn in as alderman for Chicago's Seventh Ward in May 2007. According to Jesse Jackson spokesman Rick Bryant, Sandi also provides "campaign-related services, such as fundraising and administrative support" to Jesse Jackson.
Bloomberg found that Jesse Jackson's FEC reports include payments made to J. Donatella & Associates for Sandi's consulting work. The Jackson's oldest child is Jessica Donatella Jackson.
Another recipient is identified as Lee Stevens or Lee Steven. Sandi's middle name is Lee and her maiden name is Stevens.
"Using all these different names to describe the same person raises questions as to whether they're intentionally disguising information on their FEC reports," said Jan Baran, a Republican election lawyer and a former FEC official.
Bryant said: "Congressman Jackson and Alderman Jackson are each other's biggest supporters" and "do their best to follow all federal, state and local rules, laws and ethic codes."
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