Jesse Jackson Jr. takes medical leave


Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.). (Charles Dharapak/AP)

A brief statement to reporters from his office said Jackson has been on leave since June 10. “He asks that you respect his family’s privacy,” the statement said. “His offices remain open to serve residents of the Second District.”

First elected to the House in 1994, the 47-year old lawmaker represents Illinois’s 2nd Congressional District, an area encompassing parts of Cook and Will counties and the southern suburbs of Chicago. He has been under investigation by the House Ethics Committee in recent years over allegations that he improperly raised money for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (D) in an effort to win appointment to the Senate seat formerly held by President Obama.

Jackson’s last recorded vote was on June 8, according to The Washington Post Congressional Votes Database. Despite his absence, his office has issued at least three press releases since his medical leave began.

Democratic aides could not immediately say late Monday when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders first learned of Jackson’s absence.

Spokesman Frank Watkins would not say Monday night when Jackson might return to Capitol Hill nor whether the congressman was in Chicago or Washington. Asked why Jackson’s office waited two weeks to tell constituents about his absence, Watkins told the Chicago Tribune that the lack of disclosure was a “family request.”

Though he is expected to cruise to victory in November, Jackson faces challenges from Republican candidate Brian Woodworth and independent candidate Marcus Lewis, according to state election records.

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Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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