• Ill and facing inquiry, Jackson resigns from congress
     | November 22,2012

    Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill. speaks in Chicago. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner says he received letter of resignation from Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. on Wednesday.

    Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who has received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and has been under federal investigation, has resigned from Congress.

    Aides to House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that Jackson sent his office a letter with his intent to resign.

    In his hometown, Chicago, and in Washington, the decision puts an end to five months of speculation over the political future of Jackson, a Democrat, who had vanished from Congress and public view since June.

    Still uncertain for Jackson is how a criminal investigation into his possible use of campaign funds on purchases for his home may turn out. Already, even before word of Jackson’s decision began spreading, political figures in Chicago were scrambling for the seat, which Jackson had occupied for nearly two decades and is now expected to be filled through a special election.

    Only a few weeks ago on Election Day, he won 63 percent of the vote in his district on Chicago’s South Side and its southern suburbs even as he remained, his representatives said, under treatment for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

    Once talked about as a future U.S. senator or mayor of Chicago, Jackson’s circumstances have unraveled in the past few years.

    Separate from the federal investigation into Jackson’s campaign fund spending, a House ethics investigation has continued over Jackson’s actions in 2008, when he sought an appointment to the Senate seat vacated when Barack Obama won the presidency. As part of an inquiry into actions by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, who is in prison for trying to sell the appointment to Obama’s Senate seat, federal authorities said they learned that a close friend of Jackson had offered large campaign contributions to Blagojevich if Jackson was given the Senate job. Jackson, who has said he was unaware of his friend’s offers, has acknowledged hoping to join the Senate but has denied wrongdoing.

    In early 2012, Jackson faced a primary challenger, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, and ran one of his most active, aggressive campaigns in many years. In the March primary, he defeated Halvorson with more than 70 percent of the vote.

    But by June, Jackson dropped out of public view. His office initially reported that he was suffering from exhaustion, but his representatives eventually announced that he had been hospitalized for bipolar II depression, a condition that was apparently complicated by a weight loss surgery he had undergone in 2004, his office said.

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