Jewish World Review March 13, 2001 / 18 Adar 5761
This is clearly the most unusual news story since dog bites man. For more than three decades Jackson has reaped innumerable personal benefits from victim hood. Along the same lines he imputes racial insensitivity or raw bigotry to anyone who makes even the slightest deviation from his policy dictums. Say this for Jackson: he scams all across the political spectrum. One minute he'll defame conservative organizations; the next he'll shake down big business. What must you do to retain his good graces? Author important civil rights legislation? Uh actually no. How quickly everyone forgot that Congressman Peter Rodino author of the 1982 extension of the landmark Voting Rights Act did not seek re-election in 1988 after incessant demands from Jackson that a black man get the seat. Even Jackson didn't fault Rodino's civil rights record. He targeted Rodino solely on the basis of skin color. Talk about racial profiling.
Once again Jackson plays the race card to deflect questions which most everyone in public life including many blacks and even "civil rights leaders " would have long been forced to answer. Witness his March 8 news conference in Chicago. The ostensible purpose was to rebut allegations of financial irregularities by his civil rights empire. Instead he asserted much proved little or nothing and blamed everyone but himself. Jackson expressed astonishment that right-wing extremists would suggest he's wrong to extort money from corporations or funnel dollars from his tax-exempt Citizenship Education Fund to his ex-mistress. The mere mention of the National Legal and Policy Center which asked the IRS to investigate him inspired Jackson to rant. He called the McLean-based organization "an extreme right-wing group who you should not even give credit for being a normal public interest group."
This abnormal group Jackson suggested earlier in the week had even opposed the landmark Voting Rights Act. This would have been a Herculean task even for the most adept right-wing conspirator. The Voting Rights Act predates the founding of the National Legal and Policy Center by 26 years.
If there is a right-wing conspiracy aiming to bring down Jackson it's rather hapless. Certainly any effective conspiracy would make Jackson continue to answer for his homily in Cuba year ago. Even Maxine Waters who couldn't send Elian back to Cuba fast enough stopped short of declaring as Jackson did in 1984 "Long live Castro. Long Live Martin Luther King. Long live Che Guevara."
Jackson goes largely unscathed for the kind of shenanigans which land even other "civil rights leaders" in hot water. Recall that Benjamin Chavis was forced to resign as NAACP leader in 1994 amid allegations that he failed to notify the NAACP board when he used organization funds to settle a former employee's allegations of sexual harassment. But so far Jackson has weathered the storm over allegations that one of his tax-exempt organizations paid hush money to his ex-mistress. It's still not entirely clear why the Citizenship Education Fund paid Karin Stanford a handsome five figure sum when she moved to Los Angeles in 1999. But in a little-noticed remarks Jackson's chief financial officer earlier this week suggested the money was used to retain Stanford's good graces. That jibes with an earlier report by TAS that a reliable expert thought Jackson could actually argue the expenditure served a legitimate business purpose; in other words tax-exempt hush money. Bill Owens chief financial officer for Jackson's "civil rights" fiefdom said that money paid to Karin Stanford was "necessary to maintain if you will friendly relationships.''
At his 90 minute news conference Jackson was even more oblique. Why do contributions by GTE and other big companies to Jackson's Citizenship Education Fund seem to coincide with his dropping opposition to their merger plans? Jackson said "The biggest mergers provide the biggest opportunities for the inclusion of minorities and so it is then when we make our demands for inclusion."
The suggestion here is that "inclusion" is the criteria for dropping opposition to mergers. Of course to paraphrase somebody who lately has his own problems with inexplicable decisions coinciding with the transfer of large sums of money it depends on how you define inclusion. Does Jackson's criteria "inclusion " mean a rigorous "affirmative action" plan for the newly merged company? Or does "inclusion" include a donation to a Jackson organization?
Jackson's other remarks at the news conference were fraught with contradictions. Jackson said his wife handles all his finances. He said he doesn't even have a checking account or credit card. Coincidentally former Jackson aide Ronald Walters recently said Jackson used a credit card to cover the bill and tip for a dinner with staffers some years back. Moreover if Mrs. Jackson handles all the finances does that include the monthly $3000 in child support Jackson says he personally pays his mistress? If so why has Mrs. Jackson apparently been so surprised by public reports of infidelities?
At the press conference Jackson's only really straightforward comment was a promise that the Citizenship Education Fund's 990 Form would be amended to list Karin Stanford $120,000 annual salary. This is candor Jesse Jackson-style.
Stonewall Jackson strikes yet
03/02/01: Only in New Yawk --- NOT!