According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr, son of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson of course, has resigned from Congress today. And while he said in a letter that his health is the main reason he will step down since he can’t really be effective as he battles bipolar depression, others think it has more to do with the fact that he is being investigated by the FBI and the House Ethics Committee for the misuse of campaign funds and Congressional allowances. Congressman get an allowance which they can use to “operate offices in Washington and in their districts” according to the Chicago Sun-Times, but we previously reported that reports were saying that Jackson was using his allowance to buy Rolex watches for women friends and to decorate his D.C. home. We also reported that there were rumors of a plea deal in the works that would include his resignation from Congress, and sadly this has occurred, and just weeks after winning re-election for the tenth time. According to CNN, authorities are also looking into allegations that in 2008, someone in Jackson’s camp offered to have Jackson’s team raise money for former Governor Rod Blagojevich, but only if Jackson would be appointed to President Obama’s empty Senate seat.
In his letter of resignation, Jackson did discuss the investigation and said that whatever is found out about him, he will take responsibility for. According to the Chicago Tribune, the letter went something like this:
“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. None of us is immune from our share of shortcomings or human frailties and I pray that I will be remembered for what I did right.”
But as mentioned earlier, Jackson made it clear that it is because of his health, first and foremost, that he is leaving his seat. He’s not admitting any form of guilt, but just owning up to any mistakes:
“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 as a member of the United States House of Representatives, effective today, in order to focus on restoring my health…Once the doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years. My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better every day and look forward to serving you.”
The 47-year-old has been struggling with an array of health issues (on top of being diagnosed as bipolar, his office said he has also been treated for gastrointestinal issues) for most of the year, and he hadn’t been seen in the House of Representatives since early June. Jackson has had scandal follow him for the past few years his name being tied into the Rod Blagojevich scandal, his most recent investigation into the way he’s spending money monitored by Congress, and past drama with him asking folks to pay for random women to fly to come see him. Whatever is going on, it really is time for Jackson to step down, take care of his health and his probes, the latter which is tarnishing his reputation, and just go get his life back on track.
Are you surprised that he resigned, or did you see it coming?