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November 14, 2012

Jesse Jackson Jr. leaves clinic

CHICAGO — Questions about Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s health and political future swirled again Tuesday as the Chicago congressman left the Mayo Clinic for the second time but didn’t disclose where he was going.

The Democrat, who was easily re-elected last week, has been on a hushed medical leave since June for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues. Neither his staff nor his family has given updates about when or if he’s expected to return to work.

The latest development in Jackson’s mysterious absence comes amid a continuing House Ethics Committee investigation into his dealings with imprisoned ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, along with reports of a new federal probe into possible misuse of campaign money and pressure from Illinois’ top public officials for an update.

“Given the election is over, I think it’s important for him to tell his constituents and tell the public where he stands,” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said Tuesday at an unrelated event.

However, few details were available Tuesday about Jackson’s condition or whether he was in his Chicago-area congressional district, his home in Washington or somewhere else.

Mayo Clinic spokesman Nick Hanson said Jackson was no longer a patient at the hospital in Rochester, Minn., but he did not know where the congressman was going. Jackson’s father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, told some media outlets that his son had not left the hospital. He did not return multiple messages seeking comment.

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