CHICAGO - A convicted felon that has served time in prison will announce his intention to run for Congress. Wednesday at noon, former Congressman Mel Reynolds will be yet another Democrat that wants to succeed Jesse Jackson Jr, whose resignation letter was read to his congressional colleagues Tuesday. Reynold's rap sheet includes the following:
- Assault Chicago 17-Aug-1989, charges dropped
- Solicitation Chicago 17-Aug-1989, charges dropped
- Obstruction of Justice convicted Aug-1995
- Statutory Rape convicted Aug-1995
- Child Pornography convicted Aug-1995
- Fraud (bank fraud) convicted 1997
- Wire Fraud convicted 1997
- Perjury convicted 1997
Evidence used in one of Reynolds' trials included wiretapped phone conversations. In one tape, Reynolds asked his 16 year old girlfriend Beverly Heard to describe sex with her lesbian lover, then asked if he could join Heard in bed with "Theresa." Heard had invented a fictitious 15-year-old Catholic-school girl to tempt Reynolds. At one point he begged Heard to provide lewd photos of the girl. "Jesus," Reynolds said on the tapes, "a Catholic. [...] Did I win the Lotto?"
Reynolds was re-elected in 1994 even though he charges had been brought against him. He resigned from Congress after being found guilty the next year. Jesse Jackson Jr succeeded Reynolds. Reynolds then unsuccessfully challenged Jackson in the 2004 Democratic primary.
While it's often said that Reynolds' 1997 charges were pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001, cleaning up his criminal history, the truth is Clinton did not pardon Reynolds' but commuted Reynolds' bank fraud prison sentence. He served time in prison for statutory rape.
A convicted felon may run for office, but he may have more difficulty voting for himself than getting others to vote for him.
And Reynolds is sure to have an answer for all those questions Wednesday when he announces he's running for Congress in a special March election that will cost taxpayers upwards of $5 million.