As you know, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. recently resigned his seat in Congress amid a federal investigation into his campaign spending and ongoing mental health problems. Now, a potential replacement is stepping forward… again.
Meet former Congressman Mel Reynolds:
Only in Chicago, folks:
Mel Reynolds, an ex-con convicted of bank fraud and having sex with a 16-year-old girl when he was in his 40s, wants to replace the embattled Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress.
Standing in front of signs that read “Redemption” Reynolds held a news conference on Wednesday saying he would run in a special election after Jackson resigned in disgrace last week in the midst of a federal investigation.
It was Reynolds who Jackson replaced 17 years ago —in a special election — after Reynolds himself resigned in disgrace after his conviction.
“It’s what you do after the mistakes,” Reynolds said, adding that his crimes were “almost 18, 20 years ago,” and shouldn’t be a life sentence. “I want to serve.”
And to those who wonder if he has no shame, Reynolds has this to say:
“I say to those people that I’m not perfect. If you’re perfect, I’m not appealing. I’m appealing to people who want to take a fair look at all of my history, all of my work, all of my education. What I’ve done since those times … and make a fair judgment,” said Reynolds, a onetime Rhodes scholar.
Oh, well if he’s a Rhodes scholar, then… Nope. Still can’t stand this guy.
Update: Here’s some more useful information Illinois voters should be reminded of when it comes to Reynolds’ past…
—Reynolds initially denied the charges of sexual assault and insisted they had been racially motivated.
—On August 22, 1995, Reynolds was convicted on 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography and sentenced to five years in prison.
—In April 1997, he was convicted on 15 unrelated counts of bank fraud and lying to SEC investigators and sentenced to an additional 78 months in prison. He only spent 42 months of the later sentence in prison, however, because President Bill Clinton commuted his sentence and he finished off his sentence in a halfway house.
—Just days before he left office, President Clinton pardoned Reynolds and he went to work for Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. (Yes, that means Reynolds had sex with a subordinate, was granted clemency by a president who had sex with a subordinate and went to work for a reverend who had sex with a subordinate.)
—The guy who held the congressional seat before Reynolds was Rep. Gus Savage. In 1998, Savage was accused of the attempted rape of a Peace Corps worker in Zaire. Savage denied the charges and blamed the “racist press,” but the House Ethics Committee ruled he was guilty. He never faced criminal charges and the Ethics Committee did not pursue disciplinary measures after Savage delivered an apology.
—When Reynolds challenged Savage in the primaries of 1988 and 1990, Savage accused Reynolds of accepting donations from “racist Jews.” Reynolds, in turn, was injured in a drive-by shooting in the South Side of Chicago in 1992 and pointed the finger at Savage. Savage denied the allegations and accused Reynolds of staging the shooting to help win sympathy votes.
Yeah… good luck with that, Chicago.