A former Democrat House rep from Chicago named Mel Reynolds has been sentenced to prison for the third time. And now he says he has “given up on America,” and plans to move to Africa after serving his latest six month prison sentence.
Reynolds has a long history of lawless behavior; he’s been arrested, tried, and sentenced twice before. The first time was in 1995, when he was convicted of statutory rape charges for sleeping with a sixteen year old girl who was working on his campaign. (Classy!)
The second time was a conviction for campaign finance violations, concealing debts and funneling money meant for voter registration efforts directly into his election campaign.
And now he’s been hit with a tax-evasion charge for failing to report $400,000 he earned doing consulting work for Chicago businesses in Zimbabwe.
Reynolds represented Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District from January 1993 to October 1995. He was replaced in that spot by Jesse Jackson Jr. Yes, the son of that Jesse Jackson. (Ironically, lil’ JJ Jr. also did time in the slammer as well. His crimes involved using $750,000 of campaign money for personal purchases, like a Michael Jackson fedora and – I shit you not – several cashmere capes.)
Mel Reynolds, a former Rhodes Scholar and Harvard grad who has successfully made $400,000 from consulting fees, is of course blaming those darn racists for keepin’ a brother down again.
“I’m going home to Africa,” said Reynolds. “I’ve given up on America because how long do African-Americans put up with this nonsense?” What, the nonsense of paying taxes? That’s just the price we all pay to live in a civilized society, Mel. Or did you think being born poor in Mississippi made you exempt from taxation for life? Because here in America, we start suckin’ the money out of anybody who makes any progress in life just as soon as we can. We do it that way for fairness, you see. To help the poor, and the oppressed, and such.
Reynolds, who served as his own lawyer, argued in court that a year of probation would be a more fitting punishment than imprisonment. (He already got off pretty easy. The max sentence Reynolds could have earned was four years, and the judge gave him six months.) “To put me in jail serves what purpose?” he argued. “To teach me a lesson? I’ve been taught about this racist society…every day of my life.”
Woah there Mel! If you whip that race card out any faster you might hit somebody in the eye with it! Don’t you know America is a land of equality and justice for all? That’s why rich folks like you have to pay your fair share of taxes so the poor downtrodden folks on the South Side, the folks you once represented, can have their food stamps and Social Security payments.
If you don’t like playing by the rules here in America, well. Good luck picking up six-figure consulting payments in Zimbabwe. I’m sure the politicians there could use a self-righteous Harvard grad to give them some advice on how to connect with their base and blame a white majority for all of their country’s problems.
Oh wait. The race card hasn’t worked in Africa since the start of black majority rule?
Well then you better figure out some other shtick, Mel Reynolds. Maybe learn how to actually work for the people you represent and better their lives, rather than trying to just reap the sweet benefits that come from being able to win the public’s trust?
That might be a start.