The long strange saga of Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Jesse Jackson, Jr., former member of the United States House of Representatives.
November 21st, 2012
08:35 PM ET

The long strange saga of Jesse Jackson, Jr.

By Nova Safo, CNN

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois resigned from office today, ending months of speculation about his future. Jackson has not been seen in public since he took a leave of absence in June to get treatment for severe bipolar depression.

In a resignation letter submitted to House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, Jesse Jackson said, “for the past several months, as my health has deteriorated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued to diminish.”

In his resignation letter, Jackson also acknowledged that he’s facing a federal investigation, saying he will accept responsibility for his “mistakes.” He did not specify what those mistakes were, but numerous reports have said that federal authorities are looking into possible misuse of campaign funds and that Jackson may be working out a plea deal to avoid jail time.

Allison Samuels, who has been following Jackson’s travails for The Daily Beast and who has spoken with people close to Jackson, said the congressman has been suffering from bipolar disorder for some time. The pressures of the recent investigation triggered his deterioration, Samuels said, and there are fears that going to jail would make him worse.

[4:29] “He’s functioning to a certain extent, but he is an emotional wreck and has been for a while. This is not something that just began. This has been going on for a very long time. So I think he learned how to function to some extent with it. But they’re very clear that if anything else happens, they seem him as just going over.”

If true, the charges against Jackson would be uncharacteristic of the career Chicagoans have known. For almost 20 years, he’s represented a district comprised of a broad swath of the southern suburbs around Chicago. He had enjoyed a stellar reputation for being above corruption, according to David Morrison, deputy director for the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

[5:05] “He has supported candidates who ran clean campaigns, who ran clean offices and who often took on dirty or ethically challenged incumbents. There are a number of fights between him and some other soutside politicians who were known for steering contracts or playing patronage games and Jackson and his allies stood up to that and helped to push back against that.”

Under state law, a special election must now be held within 115 days to fill Jackson’s seat.

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Filed under: Behavior • Politics • Stories
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Lou Cypher

    'bipolar' is the name of a fake disease,
    used by privileged people who pretend to be 'scientists',
    to label stressed people who pretend to be 'sick',
    to control the distribution of psychoactive pharmaceuticals.
    Jackson may be 'sick',
    but only in an *emotional* sense of the word,
    not in any scientific sense.

    December 1, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mary Jane

    He had it coming he's another scumbag black politician who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and then quickly claimed he had some emotional issues to avoid facing the music. He didn't learn a thing from his scumbag father because Jesse has been scamming people for years and he's gotten away with it. Oh well hopefully he's found guilty of his crimes and he gets sentenced to prison. Of course it would probably be the white collar type of prison on an Air Force Base with white lines instead of barbed wire, but hey whatever works just punish the scumbag

    November 25, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • what?

      is t necessary to say"black scumbag"? are you suggesting only blacks are corrupt or steal? I know lots of white politicians who have are corrupt and are scumbags....you are a stupid racist!

      November 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • armyvet129

        I beg to differ with your opinion that identifying the race of someone is racist. I do agree that there are scumbag politicians of all races. The fact is exactly as stated, there are a long line of black politicians who've pulled this stunt or similar tactics when caught. White politicians tend to lie and attempt to pay their way out, black politicians tend to act like their crazy or ill. I wish Mr. Jackson the best in his personal life and with his health issues. He also needs to face what he's done in court and serve any time he's got coming for his actions.

        November 26, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
        • Intruth23

          Sure, and then there is Richard Nixon. Oh I'm sorry he didn't claim to be sick. He just spent months in the hospital before they were going to oust his As s! And let's not talk about the nut who precipitated this whole issue...A WHITE Politician! .......and he tried to not only buy his way out of his trouble as well as act crazy....And dare I talk about the crazy White Politician before him, a republican, who is in jail. Face it Mary Jane is a cra ppy racist and if you support her statement then you are no better!

          November 28, 2012 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
    • fiscal2020

      Yes, he's such a "black scumbag" for using campaign funds, NOT from the government, donated by people for his own benefit to buy things for his girlfriend. Meanwhile with Citizens United corporations are free to use shareholder money to fund politicians as much as they want. I'm sure that's a great moral outrage to you.

      Meanwhile I assume that white politicians like Randy Cunningham, admitted and serving hard time for taking bribes from defense contractors (houses, boats, cars, vacations) to send sub par equipment to troops, get a total pass from you.

      November 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tonik Joseph

      Good Morning Mary Jane,
      I am shocked an appalled by the tone of your e-mail. This blog is dripping with racism and hate. I can understand your concerns about corrupt government officials but it doesn't have anything to do with the color of skin. Did you really mean to post a blog, which contained such language? Corruption is not synonomous with gender, color or race.

      November 26, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Intruth23

      You're Bi-Polar you racist scumbag!

      November 28, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. massoud

    CNN should have photo shopped his picture and put him in a orange jumpsuit he is probably guilty of improprieties of misusing campaign funds, he and tBlago might be rooming together. What a shock another crooked politrickster from Chicago.. This tool got re elected he dumb ass voters in his district like his Swag, only in Chicagoland..

    November 25, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Debbie

    "IF" he is Bipolar I am sure we would have heard about it before now. I have a Bipolar child and she still has to take responsibility for her actions (by law as well as at home). If the doctors can not get him staple then fire them and find another doctor.......my child is 19 now we've been fighting this since she was 8, if she takes her meds she's stable if she is off her meds it does make her incompetent it makes her pissed off and aggressive. I am SOOOOO tired of high profile people claiming something is wrong with them and then the law makes allowances for them....let my child go to jail and they'd jack it up then put her under it. So if he is incompetent does that mean his salary stopped the day they said so and he LOST his job???? Let this happen to any other Bipolar and the cops get called and when they become aggressive they are shot and killed.

    November 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Memo2

    We can talk about Jesse, but the truth.

    November 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Michael B. Calyn

    Reblogged this on Ye Olde Soapbox.

    November 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. voteemallout

    he got a legacy seat he didn't deserve and was corrupt. but his constituents reelected him. sort of a microcosm of what's wrong with congress. the power of the incumbancy keeps them in office. and in jacksons' case the old man blackmailed budweiser for a franchise and they've been rich ever since.

    November 24, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. clarke

    Look the man has some problems, can't we just let him deal with them and not make an issue of it. He is doing what he needs to do, so let it go. Not of his problems affect anyone else, except maybe his family. Why must we always be getting into other people's business?. CNN is becoming like National Enquirer.

    November 24, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lifelong Democrat

    Thank ubernibbler for referring us onto Peter Bella's article. Unlike the CNN writer Nova Safo, Bella is trying to be a journalist –speaking truth to the clear abuse of power. Safo on the other hand seems more interested in praising Jackson's honesty and parroting the crap his defense team is trying to use to keep him out of jail. CNN and Safo should be embarrassed as journalists.

    November 24, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. AmericanPeasant

    Kinda curious why JJ Jr. is dropping out and having all these problems. He seems all right enough a guy not real zealous like his dad. Hope nothing serious life-threatening is happening to him. Can't blame him though for wanting out of 2 party circus. Never anything wrong with surrendering power.

    November 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. UberNibbler

    After the mysterious disappearance from his Congressional post in June to be treated for an “exhaustion”, speculations of FBI investigation, and extramarital affair, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. finally resigns from the U.S. Congress. Huffington Post, among hundreds of other media outlets, published the resignation letter. Case closed.

    No, not at all. This is just a beginning.

    Peter Bella http://bit.ly/RG7aVw summarizes all the important questions regarding Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi. This is one of the best, straight to the point articles, I came across recently.

    There are several questions that come to mind.

    With Jesse making $174,000 a year as a Congressman for a 2nd Congressional District and Sandi making $114,913 a year as a Chicago Alderman of the 7th Ward, plus a monthly check of $5,000 for working as a consultant on Jesse’s nonexistent campaign, they derailed that gravy train for decorating their Washington house and some not-so-lousy $40,000 Rolex for a girlfriend? Really? Read the whole post http://bit.ly/RVO7Xs or libertyandbeyond dot com

    November 23, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bwanadave


    November 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. semby

    Does he really have bipolar; who he is lying so he won't go to jail.
    Why do so many think that they are entitled to so much.
    I hope he goes to jail and does not get any favors; he broke the law; the slammer he should go.

    November 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ejhickey

    the democratic party should have stepped in months ago ans subsituted a viable candidate

    November 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. valwayne

    Bipolar disorder? Sure! Folks what we have here is a corrupt politician, protected by the left wing press, who was apparently diverting campaign money to buy jewelry for his mistress? It doesn't get any more corrupt or sordid than that. What we've seen the last few months was Rep Jackson establishing his alibi for his plea deal, and or corruption trial, with the left wing media covering up for him the entire time to help him establish his alibi and actually win reelection. The press handled this just like it handled John Edwards. They hid it. Ask yourselves what would have happened if instead of being a black democrat Rep Jackson was a White Repupulican. Just his absence from Congress while he was supposedly in rehab or undergoing Bipolar treatment would have created a firestorm of national publicity, and demands that he resign, and you can bet that lots of people in the media knew about the criminal investigation and covered it up. This isn't a strange case this is the same old sex and corruption scandal we've seen throughout history. The only difference is that the left wing media played along and protected Rep Jackson from start to finish.

    November 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Illinois politicals is squeaky clean

    He allegedly bought his girlfriend a $40,000 watch with campaign funds, as well as redecorating his house. Other than that, hes a big believer in being a clean politician.

    November 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Enough Is Enough

    Being a criminal is not a medical condition.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  18. sCOTT

    Good Riddance, useless person anyhow.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  19. manapp99

    Oh the irony. Jessie's dad fought for the average black man to be treated the same as any other man. A noble cause. Now his son is being treated like a rich white man. What regular black man accused of a crime would be allowed to resign his job and negotiate his punishment. In the real world you get handcuffed and taken to jail where you have to pay just to be released to fight your accuser innocent or guilty. You don't show up for work and you get fired making mounting a defense that much harder. In the rich white world you don't get arrested, you don't have to post bond or live with it's draconian conditions, and you get to resign your position. Then your lawyers negotiate with prosecutors for you to keep you out of jail and, if your lucky like Elliot Spitzer, you get a job on television preaching morals to others. Amen.

    November 23, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  20. goose 7777

    Hey Safo, keep your mouth shut. This guys a black and for that matter he's a Demorat... you know the unwritten media rules- don't rehash trash on our own. Or perhaps you'd like to be stuck in a neighborhood journal... Huh?

    November 23, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  21. Kenneth Candido

    Jesse Jackson Gigante: For years, the reputed mob boss of the Genovese crime family in New York, Vincent "The Chin" Gigante walked the streets of Greenwich Village in pyjamas and his striped bathrobe, muttering to himself. It was accepted that his behavior was staged, feigning mental illness, to confound the FBI and protect him in case of indictment. It would appear that "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it"....JJJr. may be the second coming of "The Chin"; the result will be the exact same, as predicted....

    November 23, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |