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Jesse Jackson Jr. resigns from Congress


February 19. 2013 6:35PM
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CHICAGO — Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has resigned after a months-long leave for mental illness, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday.


Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel confirmed his office had received a letter of resignation but did not comment further.


Jackson, 47, disappeared in June, and it was later revealed that he was being treated at the Mayo Clinic for bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues. He returned to his Washington home in September, but went back to the clinic the next month, with his father saying his son had not yet regained his balance. He left the clinic a second time earlier this month.


His return to the clinic in October came amid reports that he faced a new federal investigation into potential misuse of campaign funds. The Chicago Sun-Times first reported the probe, citing anonymous sources. An FBI spokesman in Washington, Andrew Ames, has told The Associated Press he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of a federal investigation into Jackson.


Jackson was easily re-elected on Nov. 6 representing his heavily-Democratic district, even though his only communication with voters was a robocall asking them for patience. He spent election night at the Mayo Clinic, but later issued a statement thanking his supporters and saying he was waiting for his doctors' OK before he could continue to be the progressive fighter they'd known for years.


Jackson, whose father is the Rev. Jesse Jackson, took office in 1995 after winning a special election in a landslide. Voters in the district have said Jackson's family name and attention to local issues have been the reasons for their support. He's easily won every election since taking office.


He began his career in Washington with a star power that set him apart from his hundreds of House colleagues. But his resignation ends a once-promising political career that was tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions about raising campaign funds for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.


The House Ethics Committee is investigating reports of those allegations, which Jackson has denied.





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