By Ed O'Keefe
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — The political career of Jesse L. Jackson Jr. on Wednesday essentially came to an end — at least for the immediate future — as the former Illinois Democratic congressman pleaded guilty to criminal charges against him and admitted using campaign funds to benefit himself and his wife.
The guilty plea caps a remarkable turn for a politician born into an active political family who many believed was destined to serve in Chicago City Hall, or the U.S. Senate, if not the White House.
The former congressman was born in 1965, in Greenville, S.C., while his father, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, was on the march to Selma. The Washington Post has documented Jackson's recent travails in several worthy reads, including an October profile by Manuel Roig-Franzia and two stories by Paul Kane, at the start — and conclusion — of Jackson's most recent travails.
Here's a quick recap of Jackson's rise and fall:
1989-1995: Jackson launches his political career as president of the Keep Hope Alive PAC, a job he held from 1989 to 1990. He then served as vice president of Operation PUSH (1991 to 1995) and as national field director for the National Rainbow Coalition (1993 to 1995).
1995: Jackson launches his campaign for Congress when Rep. Mel Reynolds, a Democrat resigns after his conviction for sexual assault stemming from a relationship with a teenager. Jackson prevails in a primary challenge and scores an easy victory in the general election.
1995-2012: As the representative of the Illinois 2nd Congressional District, Jackson uses a seat on the House Appropriations Committee to bring home roughly $600 million in federal funds. Picking up on an issue of Windy City concern, Jackson fought for the construction of a third Chicago airport, the proposed Abraham Lincoln National Airport, but the project never materialized.