Jesse Jackson Jr. exhausted; questions loom

June 26, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The embattled congressman waited 15 days to inform his constituents that he had taken an indefinite medical leave of absence. And he did not explain the medical problem beyond claiming that he is exhausted.

Political consultant Delmarie Cobb, a former Jesse Jackson Jr. campaign adviser, says the congressman should have explained in greater detail what he meant by "exhaustion."

"The first thing you learn is that if you don't tell your side of the story, the reporters will tell it for you," said Cobb. "I always tell my clients it's best to get out in front of your own story and define it for yourself. Then, whatever speculation there is, you still have your side out there first."

In his e-mailed statement, staff members for the nine-term south suburban representative revealed he had been on leave of absence from Congress since June 10th with an unspecified medical problem called "exhaustion."

"An illness is an illness," said Ald. Carrie Austin, (D) committeewoman. "If you're exhausted, you're exhausted and I know that for a fact because I've been there as well."

Jackson is under investigation by his House colleagues for ethics violations including

Then last week one of his major fundraisers, Raghuveer Nayak, was indicted by the U.S. Attorney Office.

Debbie Halvorson, who lost to Jackson by a wide margin in the March primary, does not believe Jackson is exhausted.

"No, I do not believe it," she said. "He has a history of being less forthright with the truth as it is. And he has also been known to run from his problems … This could be just another episode of him hiding from what's going on."

But political science professor Robert Starks at Northeastern University says a look at Jackson's recent history and it's easy to believe the exhaustion.

"I would be exhausted if I had all the investigations and people spreading rumors and that kind of thing," Prof. Starks said. "Sure, I'm sure he is exhausted by it."

The congressman's office will not say in what city congressman is resting or is under treatment.

The chief of staff for his wife, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, told ABC7 that Mrs. Jackson was flying Tuesday from the couple's residence in Washington DC to be here for Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

The congressman's office has given no indication when Jesse Jackson Jr. might resume his duties in Congress.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.