Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) has signed a plea deal over violations of campaign finance law, according to a report.
Under the agreement, Jackson — who resigned from Congress in late 2012 citing health issues — would have to repay the campaign money he spent on furniture and other personal items.
According to NBC News, Jackson spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on items and travel unrelated to campaigning. Using campaign funds for personal use is illegal and punishable by a minimum penalty of five years in prison.
It is unclear how much time in prison Jackson is likely to spend. A federal judge for sentencing has not yet been assigned.
In response to the reported plea agreement, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a statement asking whether Jackson held onto his seat to use as a bargaining chip.
"With the writing on the wall well in advance of Election Day, and Rep. Jackson’s resignation just weeks later, it begs the question whether the former congressman held on to his seat to maintain a stronger bargaining position with prosecutors," CREW executive director Melanie Sloan said in a statement on Friday. "The people of Illinois deserve much more from their federally elected officials. While Rep. Jackson will be required to reimburse the government and may face jail time, the disservice to his constituents likely won’t be forgotten any time soon."
When Jackson resigned from Congress in November, he was reportedly in negotiations with federal investigators over his misuse of campaign funds. Part of a potential deal, according to reports, included resigning from Congress and repaying the money.
Jackson alluded to the investigation in his resignation letter to Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerBenghazi Blues If 'bipartisanship' is now a dirty word, how about a rebranding? Cameras go dark during House Democrats' sit-in MORE (R-Ohio).
"I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone," Jackson BoehnerJohn BoehnerBenghazi Blues If 'bipartisanship' is now a dirty word, how about a rebranding? Cameras go dark during House Democrats' sit-in MORE" href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/269093-rep-jackson-jr-to-announce-resignation-in-letter-to-boehner">wrote in November.
--This report was updated at 2:51 p.m.