Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is currently undergoing intensive inpatient treatment at the revered Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Jackson, Jr. – who had built a stellar reputation for rarely having missed a House vote – has not appeared on Capitol Hill since late May. A statement released by the congressman on Friday cites “depression and gastrointestinal issues” as his reasons for seeking treatment. Jackson, Jr. underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2004.
Jackson, Jr. is perhaps most recognized as the son of Civil Rights icon Jesse Jackson. However, he has continued to make a name for himself in the political sphere since 1995, when he was elected to Congress. Jackson, Jr. – who represents Illinois’s 2nd Congressional District – has maintained a loyal constituency in the heavily Democratic, majority African-American district. David Miller – a former state legislator from Jackson, Jr.’s district – says these constituents continue to support Jackson, Jr. Miller claims that district residents have expressed concern over the congressman’s health, not anger over his absence.
Jackson, Jr. serves on the highly influential House Of Representatives Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for the expenditure of U.S. federal dollars. Jackson, Jr. has used this authority to secure finances for his home district, which is common among Appropriations Committee members. During his congressional tenure, Jackson, Jr. was rarely the subject of controversy. In 2008, that all changed.
Jackson, Jr. spoke with then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about President Obama’s vacate senate seat; Jackson, Jr. hoped to fill the position for the term’s remaining two years. The very next day, Blagojevich was arrested by federal agents on suspicion that he had attempted to auction off Obama’s former seat in the Senate. Jackson, Jr. maintained his innocence in the face of the alleged corruption: “”I did nothing illegal, unethical or inappropriate in that pursuit and I believe that is what the Ethics Committee will conclude at the end of this process,” he said. Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison on multiple corruption charges. The House Ethics Committee has continued to explore allegations that Jackson, Jr. (or one of his associations) bribed Blagojevich for the Senate seat. If these accusations were found to be truthful, Jackson would have likely violated House Rules and broken federal law.
In the heat of this controversy, reporters uncovered further allegations of Jackson, Jr.’s wrongdoing. In a conversation with federal investigators, Chicago businessman Raghuveer Nayak stated that on several occasions, Jackson, Jr. had asked him to fund the flight travel of an out-of-state hostess. Following these reports, Jackson, Jr. gave an apology to his constituents, but did not address speculation of an extra-marital affair. Nayak also stated that Jackson, Jr. asked for $6 million to secure the open Senate seat; the congressman has continued to deny any wrongdoing in his attempts to acquire the position. In the midst of the congressional investigation, Jackson, Jr. managed to secure a 10th term as an Illinois Representative.
Jackson, Jr. continues to face pressure regarding illegal actions he may or may not have taken. Though mood disorders have become more widely understood, Jackson, Jr. demonstrated courage in admitting is struggles to the public. An unidentified doctor has stated that Jackson, Jr. is responding well to treatment and is expected to make a full recovery.
By Mike M.
Filed under: Latest News · Tags: Blagojevich, Chicago, Civil Rights, depression, government, House Of Representatives, Illinois Representative, Jackson, Jackson Jr., Jesse Jackson, Jesse Jackson Jr., Mayo Clinic, mood disorders, moods, Obama, President Obama, Raghuveer Nayak, Recovery, recovery from depression, Rod Blagojevich, Senate, Senate seat, Treatment, treatment for depression