Page 3 Profile: Jesse Jackson Jr, US politician


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The Independent Online

Has the apple fallen far from the tree?

Like his father, Jesse Jackson Jr is a liberal voice in US politics. He supports gay rights, he wants greater environmental regulations and he advocated the early withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Unlike Jesse Jackson Sr, his son keeps a quieter profile. In 1995, he took a seat in the House of Representatives for Illinois – a position he was re-elected to earlier this month.

Just the kind of person you want in Congress.

Except that he resigned this week. Jackson suffers from bipolar disorder, and has been on medical leave since June. He spent at least six weeks this summer at a specialist clinic in Minnesota. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, he wrote: "My health issues and treatment regimen have become incompatible with service in the House of Representatives. Therefore, it is with great regret that I hereby resign." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Jackson had "presented a fresh perspective on how we work together" during his time in office. His father said that while "It's not the kind of illness you can put a timetable on", he was sure he would "get well in time".

So no scandal, then?

Jackson is allegedly the subject of an FBI investigation into the misuse of campaign money, and a House ethics committee is probing whether a Jackson supporter offered a bribe to disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in 2008 in an effort to grab the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. Jackson's letter said he would "cooperate with the investigators and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone".