Mel Reynolds (born January 8, 1952) was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Illinois.
Reynolds was born in Mound Bayou, Mississippi and he graduated from Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois. An academic achiever, he won a Rhodes Scholarship to Lincoln College in the University of Oxford.
Reynolds was unsuccessful in his 1986, 1988 and 1990 campaigns against Congressman Gus Savage. However, Reynolds was able to defeat Savage in 1992. He served in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 1995.
In 1994, he was indicted for having sex with a sixteen year old campaign volunteer. Reynolds initially denied what he claimed were racially motivated charges but on August 22, 1995 he was convicted on 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography. Reynolds was sentenced to five years in prison and expected to be released in 1998. However, in April of 1997, he was convicted on fifteen counts of bank fraud and lying to SEC investigators and as a result, was sentenced to an additional six and a half years in federal prison. After serving 42 months of his 78 month sentence, U.S. President Bill Clinton commuted his sentence and Reynolds served the balance in a half way house. Mel Reynolds served his entire sentence on the original charges.
In 2004, he was overwhelmingly defeated by Jesse Jackson, Jr. in his attempt to win back his old House seat.
Preceded by: Gus Savage U.S. Representative of Illinois's 2nd Congressional District 1993-1995 Succeeded by: Jesse Jackson, Jr.