WASHINGTON/CHICAGO — Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., who has been treated for bipolar disorder and is reportedly under investigation for possible misuse of campaign funds, resigned his seat yesterday, citing health reasons.
“My health issues and treatment regimen have become incompatible with service in the House of Representatives. Therefore, it is with great regret that I hereby resign … effective today, in order to focus on restoring my health,” the Chicago Democrat said in a letter to US House Speaker John Boehner.
Jackson, the 47-year-old son of civil rights leader and former presidential candidate Reverend Jesse Jackson, also admitted to “my share of mistakes”, in his two-page letter to Boehner, an Ohio Republican.
“I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone,” Jackson wrote.
Jackson has been in Congress since 1995 and easily won re-election in a heavily Democratic district earlier this month despite his ailment and the ethics questions hanging over him.
His resignation was not expected to result in any changes in the political balance of power of the US House, which is controlled by Republicans. Voters in Jackson’s district will now have to hold a special election to fill the vacancy.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said he would propose a date for the election within five days.
“We know that Congressman Jackson is confronting health challenges, and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time,” Quinn said.
Jackson was treated for at least six weeks this summer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for bipolar disorder, a psychological condition marked by extreme mood swings, and has been on medical leave since June.
He has also been the subject of a House ethics committee probe over an alleged bribe offered by a Jackson supporter in 2008 to then Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. (Reuters)