David Frum

02.21.13

It's All in the (Jackson) Family

Dario Cantatore/Getty Images ()

As Jesse Jackson Jr. likely heads to prison, let's recall the sordid business career of the founder of the family dynasty.

Jesse Jackson [Sr.] dropped plans to boycott Anheuser-Busch only after two of his sons were awarded a beer distributorship. Jackson dismissed the charge. "It's their business," he said. "I should not answer any of their business. I am proud of them."

And while Jackson denies that he tailors his criticism of corporate America according to the size of their donations to his organizations, the record raises questions. In 1998, for example, he lobbied against the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, saying they were an "apartheid system" of telecommunications. But after a 1999 donation of $1 million to [his Citizens Education Fund], Jackson applauded the proposed deal as a way to "deliver the benefits of growth in the telecommunication industry."

"Let the critics try to discredit us," Jackson said today. "Our record is one of discipline, dignity, integrity and results."