After weeks of silence, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. released a statement Friday, announcing that he was receiving “extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and gastrointestinal issues” at the Mayo Clinic. The statement, released via the hospital, was one of the only direct comments from the Illinois Democrat since he left Capitol Hill in May.
Earlier this month he had announced that he was seeking treatment for a mood disorder at a residential facility, continuing the leave of absence he announced in June. The most recent statement identified the facility as Rochester, Minnesota’s famous hospital.
“Further information will be released as Congressman Jackson’s evaluation proceeds,” read the statement distributed by the Mayo Clinic on behalf of Jackson. “Congressman Jackson and his family are grateful for the outpouring of support and prayers that have been received throughout his care.”
As Jackson undergoes evaluation, the House Ethics Committee is continuing its own examination of allegations against the representative. The allegations claim that Jackson or one of his associates had offered to raise funds for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for Jackson being appointed to the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama in 2008. Jackson maintains that he was not involved, and has said he will cooperate with authorities. Blagojevich was caught at the center of the scandal and was convicted on corruption charges last year, after being caught trying to shop the Senate seat. His 14-year sentence began in March.
Jackson was caught in a separate incident in September 2010, after a Chicago businessman revealed that Jackson had asked him to fly a restaurant hostess back and forth between Washington and Chicago on several occasions. Jackson issued a public apology to his supporters.
Some members of Congress have been uncomfortable with the lack of information provided by Jackson regarding his health and time frame for recovery. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri came to Jackson’s defense after speaking to members of Jackson’s family.
“This is not about a congressman. This is about a human being who is sick,” Cleaver said. “This is not a political matter, it’s a health matter.”