It's been a tumultuous few years for Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. . The son of civil rights crusader Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jackson Jr. had a promising political career in Illinois. Many were predicting a Chicago mayoral run, or perhaps even a Senate campaign.
Today, however, it's tough to imagine Jackson rising to such heights, even after he convincingly defended his congressional seat in last week's election. While he's been in and out of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., since the summer, receiving treatment for bipolar disorder, Jackson has been anything but present to his constituents. On Election Night, he was in the Mayo Clinic.
Jackson is also in plea discussions with federal authorities over allegations that he misused campaign finance funds to redecorate an acquaintance's home. Concurrently, he's under investigation by the House Ethics Committee who believe he and his associates may have attempted to buy Barack Obama's old Senate seat from the now-imprisoned Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2009.
On Tuesday, according to the AP, Jackson walked out of the Mayo Clinic in the middle of his treatment and staff there have absolutely no clue where he went. Neither his congressional spokesperson or his publicist would speak to the media about the troubled congressman's whereabouts. The Rev. Jesse Jackson told The Chicago Tribune that his son was still at Mayo, but the newspaper confirmed with the clinic that Jackson Jr. had left.
When Jackson disappeared for a month this summer, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., criticized Jackson for neglecting his constituents. On Tuesday, Gov. Pat Quinn called on Jackson to speak publicly about his condition so his constituents weren't left guessing. Likewise, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel urged Jackson to re-establish communication with the voters who put him into office.
Members of Congress are expected to return to Capitol Hill Tuesday for votes scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EST. It's unclear whether Jackson Jr. will be present.