The Federal Election Commission has a new message for imprisoned former Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.: Show us the money.
The last time the Jackson campaign filed a report with the FEC, they reported they had over $105,000 in the bank. Problem is, that was in December of last year. Since that time, the Jackson campaign hasn't filed any of the required quarterly reports indicating what they did or didn't do with that money.
And the FEC wants to know.
On Friday, they sent the campaign committee a letter, the fourth of four mailed this year, asking for the required reports to be filed ASAP, warning of possible legal action if nothing arrives.
"The failure to timely file a complete report may result in civil money penalties, an audit, or legal enforcement action," the agency warned.
But it isn't clear if anyone was there to read or even receive the FEC mandate.
Jackson reported a week ago to the Federal Correctional Facility at Butner, N.C., where he is now serving a two and a half year sentence for looting that very same campaign fund of $750,000. In September, the former treasurer of his campaign, Vickie Pasley, wrote the FEC to advise them that she was resigning her position, and had no knowledge of the campaign's financial status.
"There is no current official in office," she wrote, "nor campaign staff in existence to facilitate the preparation of any campaign report.
In her letter, Pasley did not explain why no reports had been filed all year, or who was responsible, if that was not her job.
On its face, it may sound odd to be expecting campaign spending documents from a now-defunct committee whose candidate is doing federal time. But officials say they still need to know what happened to campaign accounts, even if the candidate is never going to run again. In Jackson's case, that question may take on larger significance, because of his own admissions that he used campaign cash for personal gain.
"The failure to file a report could lead to a fine," FEC spokesman Christian Hilland said Wednesday. "When a treasurer is no longer associated with a committee, they would need to name a new treasurer."
Pasley did not return messages seeking comment. And Jackson's lawyers, likewise, did not immediately respond to questions about who will provide the FEC with details on what happened to the former congressman's campaign fund.
Hilland said even if a public official is no longer in office or intending to run again, until that official files a termination report dissolving the campaign fund, regular reporting is required, to verify that campaign funds are properly spent. He would not comment specifically about Jackson's case.
"The entire process is confidential," he said.
But the Jackson campaign file is an open book, and it shows that in addition to the November 1 letter, other warnings went out May 3, and August 2, along with an October 29th letter demanding that the campaign appoint a new treasurer to replace Pasley.
"A treasurer must be appointed within ten days of the resignation of the previous treasurer," analyst Carolina Cavano warned.
Pasley resigned her position Aug. 29.