This story has been updated.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is at an undisclosed residential treatment facility receiving medical treament for a mood disorder, his aides and doctors said Wednesday, capping two days of intense speculation about his whereabouts and political future.
Citing federal medical privacy laws, Jackson’s office said in a statement late Wednesday that it would not release specific details of the congressman’s condition, nor his current location. But in a statement attributed to an unnamed physician, Jackson’s office said, “The Congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder. He is responding positively to treatment and is expected to make a full recovery.”
Additionally, Jackson’s office strongly disputed rumors about his condition and a report by NBC News Wednesday night that Jackson is being treated for alcohol and addiction issues at a facility in Arizona.
The disclosure came on the same day that House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters that Jackson and his family “would be well advised” to tell constituents about his undisclosed medical condition and lengthy absence.
But Hoyer also said that people get sick in every profession, adding, “When people get sick, they miss work.”
Hoyer’s comments were the most direct appeal yet by a top House Democratic leader to Jackson to share more information about his condition.
Additionally, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the most senior lawmaker from Jackson’s home state, said Wednesday that the congressman “has a responsibility as a public official to tell us what the situation is.”
“I want him to get well, he’s got a beautiful young family and I want him to get well and be home with them,” Durbin said in an interview, “But when we accept this responsibility in public life, we have a burden to be more open about our private lives than most people.”
Others, however, defended Jackson.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday that Jackson’s timeline for publicizing more about his condition should be dictated by his medical needs.
“The timing ... is related, I think, not to my curiosity or to anyone else’s but to his health-care needs,” she said. “The time is right when Mr. Jackson — Congressman Jackson — has an evaluation of what his situation is, and I’m sure that he will share it with his constituents.”
“This is about a human being who’s sick. This is not a political matter, it’s a health matter,” Cleaver. He said later that Jackson “is fine” and will “definitely” return to Congress.
The statement from Jackson’s office came after his wife, Sandi Jackson – a Chicago alderman — told Chicago reporters that she hoped her husband’s doctors would be able to disclose more information.
“I’m in constant talks with them about Jesse’s condition and his medical prognosis going forward,” Sandi Jackson told the Chicago Tribune.
Jackson last month waited more than two weeks before publicly announcing that he had been on a medical leave since June 10 for an undisclosed medical condition. His office last week said he was struggling with “physical and emotional ailments” worse than previously known, which only added to the intrigue surrounding his absence. Jackson’s last recorded vote was June 8, according to The Washington Post Congressional Votes Database.
In an interview Tuesday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, told Chicago’s WMAQ-TV Tuesday that his son “is slowly regaining his strength, he is under medical supervision and he is taking his time in recovery. And of course we pray for him and of course the family embraces him, we love him so much. We hope that he will be successful in his return.”
Pressed to disclose what is actually wrong with the lawmaker, Jackson said: “That’s inappropriate. I speak as a father, and one who right now is pained as he comes out of his crisis. We’re with him and we hope that he’ll be fully restored to his health. But right now he’s going through a tremendous challenge.”
First elected to the House in 1994, Jackson 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. As part of a corruption investigation, Blagojevich was heard on a tape saying that Raghuveer Nayak, an associate of Jackson, had offered to pay $1.5 million to the governor if the congressman was appointed to the Senate. Nayak was arrested last month on unrelated fraud charges just days after Jackson’s medical leave began.
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This post has been updated since it was first published.
Video: Constituents of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. ask for more information about the Congressman’s whereabouts. He is under intensive medical treatment for a "mood disorder," his office said in a brief statement Wednesday.