Questions swirl around Rep. Jackson's absence
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., who took a leave of absence from congress last month due to unspecified "physical and mental" problems, is starting to get flack from his fellow Democrats and constituents about the secrecy surrounding his ailments.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) had a "responsibility" to release more information about his medical condition, which has caused the congressman to go on leave.
"As a public official, there comes a point when you have a responsibility to tell the public what's going on," Durbin said at a press conference in Chicago, according to Crain's Chicago Business on Monday.
He added that Jackson "will soon have to make a report on the physical condition he's struggling with."
Durbin's comments are in response to an announcement from Jackson's office on Thursday that the congressman's condition, which is unspecified, is "more serious" than had originally been thought.
The nine-term House lawmaker is currently in treatment for "certain physical and emotional ailments," according to Jackson's office.
Prior to the statement, Jackson had been taking a medical leave from Congress since June 10, reportedly because of exhaustion. Jackson's office has kept quiet on details of his ailment and where he is receiving treatment. His office has only said that he is receiving care at a medical facility.
One of the rumors, broadcast on WLS radio over the weekend, was that Jackson had attempted suicide. But his father, Rev. Jesse Jackson, denies it.
But the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., in an interview with POLITICO, pushed back on an unconfirmed report that his 47-year-old son attempted suicide.
The elder Jackson was responding to a "rumor" broadcast by an Illinois radio station Tuesday. WLS of Chicago cited "two high-ranking people on the Democratic side of the aisle, in both fundraising and in the legislative branch," as the source of this information, none of which had been confirmed with Jackson's office or family.
"No, that's not true," Jackson Sr. told POLITICO. "He's with his doctor and getting treatment, regaining his strength. That's all I really want to say at this point."
Jackson Sr. added that there is "no truth" to the WLS broadcast. "None at all," he said.
That same Politico story quotes a Democratic insider as said that Jackson might not come back "until at least September, if he comes back at all."
Jackson owes his constituents, if not his colleagues, an explanation for why he can't do his job.