Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Reps. Jackson, Rush Put Wives on Campaign Payroll

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Congressional wives have been cashing in on their husband's campaign coffers, according to reports.

    Representatives Jesse Jackson Jr. and Bobby Rush paid their spouses hundreds of thousands of dollars to work on their re-election bids this past cycle, records show.

    Jackson's re-election campaign doled out at least $315,000 to Sandi Jackson's firm, J. Donatella & Associates, since 2002, according to the Federal Election Commission.

    Rush paid his wife, Carolyn, $240,000 for serving as a campaign consultant during the same time period.

    Neither politician broke the law or used taxpayer dollars to cover the checks.

    However, some watchdogs expressed worry that lawmakers would abuse the practice in the future.

    The FEC prohibits lawmakers from employing family members in their offices. In 2001, the agency concluded it was perfectly legal for relatives to work on campaigns as long as they were qualified and were paid nothing higher than market rate.

    It turns out Rep. Jackson was the lawmaker who asked the FEC to rule on that.