He did not campaign, did no fundraising, and has been undergoing mental health and intestinal disorder treatment for months. Yet, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) handily won a resounding victory and is scheduled to return to Washington, at some point, to represent Illinois’ second congressional district in the House.
With 99 percent of precincts counted, the absent congressman captured 63 percent of the vote, trouncing opponents Marcus Lewis and Brian Woodwoorth.
“My deep and sincere thanks to the people of the 2nd Congressional District, I am humbled and moved by the support shown today,” Jackson said in a written statement according to NBC Chicago. "Every day, I think about your needs and concerns. Once the Doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years. My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better every day and look forward to serving you.”
The lawmaker is currently in his second prolonged stay at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. where he is being treated for gastrointestinal and bipolar disorders. He’s been on medical leave from Congress since June.
But those aren’t his only troubles. For almost three years, the congressman has been under a cloud of federal scrutiny for alleged misuse of campaign funds and earlier for reported participation in a “pay for play” scheme that led to the conviction of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D).
Just two days after Jackson coasted to victory in his re-election campaign, it’s being reported that the congressman is in plea negotiations with Justice Department attorneys concerning alleged campaign finance violations.
The FBI probe is partly concerned with whether the congressman used campaign funds to decorate his Washington, D.C. home and to purchase a $40,000 Rolex watch for a female friend. The investigation is being conducted by the FBI's Washington Field Office.
Jackson faced federal investigators in December 2008 over allegations that he tried to buy the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated to become president. Jackson denied the allegations and was never charged.
“This has been an ongoing nightmare for the Jackson family, particularly his wife, Alderman Sandi Jackson, and the Reverend [his father, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.],” an unnamed source, who is supposedly familiar with the campaign funds probe, told the Chicago Sun-Times.