Faced with growing scrutiny of the finances of his nonprofit groups, Rev. Jesse Jackson said today he would amend the tax return of one of the organizations to show money that was paid to a staff member with whom he had an affair that resulted in a child.
Jackson said the name of the staffer, Karin Stanford, was not included on the 1999 tax return filed by the Citizenship Education Fund, one of the groups that is part of his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. He said other staff members' names also were omitted from the return, but the omissions were inadvertent.
Billy Owens, chief financial officer for Rainbow/PUSH, said at a news conference today.
Speaking at the same news conference, Jackson defended the financial records of his groups, saying they "reflect discipline, dignity, integrity, results and legal propriety."
Jackson has been under scrutiny since Rainbow/PUSH Coalition acknowledged in January it paid $35,000 in severance pay to Stanford. In addition, there have been recent news reports on his personal income, travel expenses and the finances of Rainbow/PUSH and other organizations.
Earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune reported that Jackson was making public a variety of new details, including his $120,000 salary from Rainbow/PUSH and his organizations' $1.3 million in annual travel expenses.
In an interview published today in the Chicago Sun-Times, Jackson also spoke about his own finances, estimating that his total annual income is as much as $430,000, including speaking fees and his TV contract with CNN. But Jackson said he lives modestly and relies upon his wife to handle his personal finances.
The Tribune had reported this week that Jackson likely would have to amend the Citizenship Education Fund's tax return. As a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, it must give the government financial details, including the names of employees making more than $50,000.
On Citizenship Education Fund's 1999 forms, "NONE" is typed in answer to a request for a list of the top five paid staffers. Owens acknowledged that Stanford, the former executive director of the fund, belonged on that list. A New York spokesman for Jackson previously said that Stanford earned $120,000 as a full-time employee.
Jackson's four organizations have distinct agendas and budgets, but they share some board members, top staffers and office space, according to a report he released this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jackson Defends Finances
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