The Illinois congressman and son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, once a shining star of the Democratic Party, is leaving his seat as he battles health problems and federal investigation.
Citing his struggle with bipolar disorder and a federal investigation into his use of campaign funds, Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. — just re-elected two weeks ago to serve a 10th term in the House of Representatives — has resigned.
"For seventeen years I have given 100 percent of my time, energy, and life to public service," Jackson, the 47-year-old son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, wrote in his resignation letter to House speaker John Boehner. "However, over the past several months, as my health has deteriorated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued to diminish."
Over the summer, Jackson — whose district includes South Side Chicago neighborhoods, and who was once considered a rising star of the Democratic Party — was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and he took a medical leave of absence in June for treatment at the Mayo Clinic. He has not been seen in public since then, and only released a brief statement thanking supporters on Election Night.
In addition to his mental health problems, Jackson is the focus of a couple different investigations — including one by his House colleagues, who are looking into allegations that Jackson in 2008 bartered with disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat. Jackson has denied those claims. Separately, there are reports that the FBI has opened an investigation into the possibility that Jackson misused campaign funds.
In the next five days, a special election will be scheduled to determine who will replace Jackson.