The mysterious disappearance of Jesse Jackson Jr.
By Michael Moynihan
I once met Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. at a restaurant in D.C., where he was entertaining a table of genial conservative lobbyists and hatchet men. All assured me that he was a decent sort — and in those brief interactions, he appeared to be — willing to work with the other side, and considerably more moderate than his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. One can make a reasonable case that his moderation is one of tone — he’s a committed liberal but one with little time for clenched-fist radicalism. But as Sylvester Monroe argued in The Root in 2010, Jackson’s tenure in politics has been seriously hampered anyway, his effectiveness as a legislator compromised by mounting scandals.
Because he has a lower profile than his father, few people outside his district noticed when, last month, Jackson took leave from his seat for “exhaustion”— that resilient little euphemism that typically obscures something embarrassing or sinister. Jackson’s office updated his status a few weeks ago, with an equally opaque message claiming that the representative has “grappled with certain physical and emotional ailments privately for a long period of time.” The plot thickened.
Now we are two weeks out since the last update-that-didn’t-really-update, and even Jackson’s fellow Democrats are losing patience. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin urged Jackson to update his constituents “soon” and explain “the physical condition he’s struggling with,” even though it’s not clear that if the missing congressman is suffering from something “physical.”
“As a public official though,” Durbin said, “there reaches a point when you have a responsibility to tell people what you’re facing and how things are going.”
With so few facts available, I can only say that if Jackson is indeed suffering from either physical or mental ailments — real problems that must be attended to by real medical professionals — it would be heartless to wish him anything but a speedy recovery. But as ABC News points out, Jackson is facing an ethics probe, and just “days before he left Congress on medical leave, a former fundraiser for Jackson, Raghuveer Nayak, was arrested by the FBI on charges of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to doctors.” Any disappearance shrouded in this much secrecy and circumlocution deserves a healthy dose of irritated skepticism.
Need I point out that Jackson is employed by his constituents, most of who cannot simply disappear from their jobs for a month without explanation? When a public servant claims that his ability to perform his job is hindered by health problems — the type that require at least a month of treatment — their medical affairs are no longer entirely private affairs. I can think of only two recent examples of politicians refusing to inform their subjects of serious medical conditions, save oblique references to a general diagnosis: Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. When I was in Caracas in February, Chavez was about to again disappear to Cuba for treatment of his mystery illness. Responding to a question about whether Venezuela could still be considered a democracy, an opposition journalist huffed that in democratic countries like the United States, politicians cannot simply disappear for weeks at a time, never telling the public exactly why. I agreed.
Jesse Jackson Sr., who famously shouted “viva Fidel Castro” on a trip to Havana, told reporters that “at an appropriate time," his son would "share with the public that which he feels they should have.” But that won’t do. The younger Jackson’s party should give him until the end of the week to enlighten the people of Illinois or return to work. And if he refuses, it should demand his immediate resignation
ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., whose whereabouts haven't been disclosed since he quietly took a medical leave from Congress several weeks ago, is being treated for depression at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, according to a statement released Friday by the hospital.
Jackson is undergoing an extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and for gastrointestinal issues, the hospital said in providing the first details about his medical condition. But the statement didn't disclose where the longtime Chicago congressman, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, had previously been staying.
Jackson is undergoing an extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and for gastrointestinal issues
Jackson sometimes boasted that he was a reincarnated Greek chariot driver
The nine-term Democrat who represents the south side of Chicago has been away from Congress since May. His office announced in June that he was taking a medical-related leave of absence. In August it emerged that he was suffering from depression and was in treatment at the Mayo Clinic.
Though he checked out of the Rochester, Minnesota-based facility in September, the Chicago Sun Times reported Friday that Jackson would be returning to the clinic, as soon as that same evening.
"I am anxious to return to work on your behalf but at this time, it's against medical advice," he said in the call. "And while I will always give my all to my constituents, I ask you to continue with your patience as I work to get my health back."
He added, "The good news is my health is improving, but my doctors tell me the road to recovery is a long one."
The congressman is the subject of an investigation involving possible financial improprieties conducted in Washington by the FBI and federal prosecutors, a federal law enforcement official told CNN this week. The Wall Street Journal reported the investigation involved home improvements which may have been improperly funded by campaign donations.
Jackson, 47, is also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which is examining allegations that, in 2008, he or one of his associates offered to raise money for then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for Jackson being appointed to the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.
Well, we could just pay some of these guys to stay home
and stay out of trouble, couldn't we?
Jackson will hand in his resignation to House Speaker John Boehner, the source said.
Jackson had planned on a press conference to announce his resignation but was not able to bring himself to speak about it because of his illness, the source said.
The announcement comes after mounting pressure faced by Jackson as federal investigators appeared to widen their ongoing investigation into the congressman’s activities.
Jackson had been missing in action politically for more than five months. His absence from his official congressional duties began June 10, although his office did not disclose it until two weeks later.
He has checked in and out of the Mayo Clinic at least twice for treatment for bipolar depression, but is currently believed to be in the Chicago area.
Sources said that the investigation has raised questions about to what extent his wife knew about the alleged improper activity. Sandi Jackson’s firm, Donatella & Associates, is paid upwards of $100,000 a year out of her husband’s campaign fund as a “consultant.”
CHICAGO (WLS) - The Wall St. Journal is reporting that two people familiar with the Jackson investigation say that the feds are now examining evidence that Jesse Jr's wife, Alderman Sandi Jackson, may have been complicit in the misuse of campaign funds to decorate their house.
This comes as his wife, Alderman Sandi Jackson, is also under scrutiny.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the congressman's wife Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) has become a subject of the same federal investigation. The Journal reports that her conduct is being investigated as part of the plea negotiations, as it related to the allegations of using campaign funds to decorate their Washington home.
A source told Fox 32 News that Sandi Jackson is a paid consultant for the congressman's campaign and she receives a monthly check of $5,000. The federal government is trying to determine if she knew her husband misused funds.
When reached by text Tuesday evening for a comment on a federal investigation involving her, Alderman Sandi Jackson told Fox 32's Darlene Hill exclusively, "JJ's attys asked the family not to comment on anything. It's killing me because 90 percent of this stuff is false.."
When asked for an on-camera interview and for a response as to which 10% is true, Sandi Jackson said: "I'm gonna be a while."
Read more: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/20084639/rep-jesse-jackson-jr-left-mayo-clinic-patient-no-longer-a-patient#ixzz2CtMHhiZJ