Jesse Jackson Jr. (Mike Segar/Reuters)Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned his seat in Congress on Wednesday, acknowledging an ongoing federal investigation into his campaign funds and expressing a desire to be remembered for what he "did right."
Text from Jackson's resignation letter, submitted on Wednesday to House Speaker John Boehner:
During this journey I have made my share of mistakes. I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and 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.
Jackson, son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, cited his health issues as the reason for his departure on Wednesday, saying his condition and "treatment regimen" were "incompatible" with his congressional responsibilities.
This summer, Jackson abruptly dropped out of the public eye. His staff first reported the congressman had taken a leave of absence for exhaustion and then indicated his condition was more serious. After pressure from colleagues and others, it was revealed Jackson was being treated at the Mayo Clinic for bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues.
Jackson left the clinic in September but returned the following month. He was reportedly at the clinic on Nov. 6, when he easily won re-election in his Democratic Chicago-area district.
Recent reports indicate that a federal probe into an alleged misuse of Jackson's campaign funds has widened. Some sources have suggested Jackson's resignation would be part of a plea deal.
News outlets reported on Wednesday morning that the Illinois Democrat had canceled a morning conference call with staff for fear of media eavesdropping. Then Jonathan Jackson, Jackson's brother, told the Chicago Tribune a resignation was imminent.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi expressed support for Jackson in the wake of the news. "It is with great sadness that we learned of Congressman Jackson's decision to submit his resignation," Pelosi said in a statement. "His service in Congress was marked by his eloquent advocacy for his constituents' views and interests."
The timing of Jackson's resignation means he will not be sworn in for the new term beginning in January. A special election will be held for his seat.