U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has gone on leave due to exhaustion, his staff says. The son of the famous civil rights leader has been out on medical leave two weeks, according to the Chicago Tribune.
At the request of the family, we're not saying where he is, spokesman Frank Watkins said in a statement.
I don't know how long he'll be out of action, he continued, making it clear that he was unsure when the Chicago congressman of nearly two decades will be able to return. Watkins also asked everyone to respect his family's privacy.
Watkins explained that it was was a family request to wait two weeks to announce Jackson's departure and that he did not know why the family waited so long to make the announcement.
Jackson exhaustion claim and treatment comes at a time when he is also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, as the Tribune reported.
Jackson found himself in the hot seat when his longtime friend, Raghuveer Nayak, wanted to give Rod Blagojevich, then governor of Illinois, up to $6 million in an attempt to get Jackson President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat after the 2008 election. Even though Jackson had made attempts to distance himself from his old friend, he is still being investigated.
Nayak was recently arrested on federal fraud charges concerning his surgical centers. Jackson has denied any connection to the Senate seat scandal for which Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison sentence.
Brian Woodworth, a Republican from Bourbonnais who is going up against Jackson in the November election, wishes only the best for his opponent.
My position is, if he's in a hospital being treated for exhaustion, it's best we just keep him in our prayers and wish him a speedy recovery, Woodworth said. I never wish ill on anybody, including my opponent.
Jackson's House absenteeism shocks Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat. He said it was unusual and noticeable that Jackson was missing.
To make the situation even stranger, fellow Chicago Democratic Rep. Danny Davis added that the last time he saw Jackson he seemed fine.
Davis continued, He was joking, like he usually does. He was laughing. He was his usual self.