Illinois House Democratic candidate Jonathan Jackson did not file financial disclosure report; Rev. Jesse Jackson

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Democratic House candidate Jonathan Jackson with his father, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and son Noah at a Washington, D.C., fundraiser on May 25, 2022.

Lynn Sweet/Sun-Times

WASHINGTON — Jonathan Jackson, a frontrunner in the crowded House Democratic primary to replace Rep. Bobby Rush, failed to file a required financial disclosure report though all his leading rivals followed the law.

“That’s an oversight and a mistake that I did not file,” Jackson told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday. He was speaking from Detroit, where he was doing fundraising.

Asked how he did not know he had to file a personal financial disclosure document, Jackson said, “I was not informed by the people that I’m working with.”

Last week Jackson held several fundraising events in Washington. At the fundraiser I attended, he was accompanied by Rev. Jesse Jackson, his father, a former two-time presidential candidate with an extensive political network here. Jackson’s father is his main political asset in this primary.

Once told about the disclosure requirement by the Sun-Times, Jackson said he will “absolutely” submit his filing.

Jackson’s main competition — Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd); state Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago; Karin Norington-Reaves; and Jonathan Swain all filed their reports with the clerk of the House of Representatives.

These disclosures about personal finances are different from campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Candidates for the House of Representatives are required under the federal Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to file financial disclosures detailing income sources, liabilities and assets.

The House Ethics Committee, which oversees disclosures, tells candidates, “Individuals are required to file a Financial Disclosure Statement once they raise or spend “more than $5,000 in a campaign for election to the House of Representatives.”

As for deadlines, according to the House Ethics Committee instruction guide for the 2022 elections,  candidates who raised or spent more than $5,000 must file a financial disclosure report “within 30 days of becoming a candidate” or, in 2022, by May 16.

Candidates cannot evade financial disclosure — even if defeated in a primary, they still owe the House a report.

If it’s just a matter of a late filing, the candidate is assessed a $200 fine for each missed deadline. The Ethics in Government Act, according to the House Ethics instruction guide, provides that if a report is never filed, “the Attorney General may pursue either civil or criminal penalties.” The maximum civil penalty is $66,190. The maximum criminal penalty is up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $66,190.

Candidates who are running campaigns who did not file financial disclosures include real estate agent Nykea Pippion McGriff and Pastor Chris Butler.

McGriff’s spokesperson said, “Unfortunately, the campaign overlooked this important disclosure. We will look to remedy this as soon as possible.” 

Butler said, “We found out about the report late. I plan to complete the report, pay the late fee, and move forward in my work to make sure that we continue to make our electoral process more accessible to everyday citizens.”

A Chicago Sun-Times review of financial disclosure statements filed with the House Clerk’s office found:

Jamal Cole, a community activist, is known as the founder and CEO of My Block, My Hood, My City. According to his disclosure, his main 2021 income was $216,249 from his nonprofit’s parent organization, the Role Model Movement.

Cole owes the IRS between $10,000 and $15,000 and, as of last month, said in his report, there was a “payment plan in progress” for the debt. He is also putting a payment plan in place for student loans from 2006, 2009 and 2011, totaling somewhere between $70,000 and $200,000. 

Disclosure reports only require stating a broad range of the value of an asset or a liability.

Collins’ main income for 2021 was her state salary, $81,285. Her credit card debt was somewhere between $60,000 and $145,000.

Dowell’s main 2021 income was her $107,078 alderperson salary. She listed no debts.

Cassandra Goodrum’s major 2021 income was $51,351 from Chicago State University.

Norington-Reaves main 2021 income was $195,369 from the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. Her student loan debt ranged from $100,000 to $250,000.

Robert Palmer filed the disclosure; he listed no financial details.

Terre Layng Rosner’s salary at the Joliet-based University of St. Francis in 2021 was $80,200.

Swain in 2021 earned $56,999 from his company, Urban Retail Management; $49,886 from his position as a Chicago Board of Election Commissioner and $180,731 from LINK Unlimited Scholars.

He owes between $40,000 and $115,000 for three auto loans. The three student loans also cover his wife, a spokesperson said. The combined student loan debt is somewhere between $45,000 and $150,000.

Kirby Birgans’ 2021 salary was $43,500 from the Perspectives Charter school.

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June 2, 2022 at 08:55PM

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