His return to the clinic in October came amid reports, first by the Chicago Sun-Times citing anonymous sources, that he faced a new federal investigation into potential misuse of campaign funds. An FBI spokesman in Washington, Andrew Ames, has told The Associated Press he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of a federal investigation into Jackson.
In his resignation letter, Jackson cites his health issues as the reason for his departure from Congress and says he hopes he is remembered on the balance of his work.
“The constituents of the (2nd) District deserve a full-time legislator in Washington, something I cannot be for the foreseeable future. My health issues and treatment regimen have become incompatible with the House of Representatives,” Jackson wrote.
Jackson took office in 1995 after winning a special election. Voters in the district have said Jackson’s family name and attention to local issues have been the reasons for their support. He has easily won every re-election since taking office and brought home close to $1 billion in federal money for his district during his tenure.
He began his career in Washington with a star power that set him apart from his hundreds of House colleagues. But his resignation ends a once-promising political career that was tarnished by the allegations that he was involved in discussions about raising campaign funds for then-Gov. Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat.
The House Ethics Committee is investigating reports of those allegations, which Jackson has denied. After the allegations surfaced, he cut back drastically on his number of public appearances and interviews. Blagojevich is now in federal prison after being convicted of trying to sell the seat, among other things.
The timing of Jackson’s leave in June and the way it was handled also has invited scrutiny. It was announced just after a former fundraiser connected to the Blagojevich allegations was arrested on unrelated medical fraud charges.