Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. resigns from Congress
This had been expected for weeks - even before the election that Jackson won handily despite not campaigning a single day. His district is among the most Democratic in the country, giving Barack Obama 82% of the vote.
Jackson has been in and out of the Mayo Clinic since June suffering from complications related to his bi-polar disorder. The Feds are nearing an indictment for his misuse of campaign funds, and the House ethics committee is still looking into his pay for play gambit in offering to raise funds for disgraced ex-governor Rod Blagojevich in exchange for being appointed to President Obama's former senate seat.
Suffice it to say, Jackson was toast. And his reported plea deal with the Feds includes his resignation from Congress.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) submitted a letter announcing his resignation from Congress to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday, according to a Boehner aide.
"For seventeen years I have given 100 percent of my time, energy, and life to public service," Jackson wrote.
"However, over the past several months, as my health has deteriorated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued to diminish. Against the recommendations of my doctors, I had hoped and tried to return to Washington and continue working on the issues that matter most of the people of the Second District. I know now that will not be possible."
Jackson's resignation comes amid reports that he is being investigated by the Justice Department for allegedly misusing campaign donations to redecorate his home.
Reports earlier this month said Jackson was negotiating a plea deal with federal investigators that would require him to resign from Congress, citing health reasons, and repay the campaign funds.
Jackson's office has not commented on the reported plea talks.
Jackson wrote that he has "made my share of mistakes."
"I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone."
Governor Pat Quinn must call a special election within 115 days and several candidates have already emerged. Rep. Jackson's wife Sandi, a Chicago city councilwoman would probably be a favorite, although former Rep. Debbie Halverson, who lost to Jackson in the primary last spring, will probably give it another go.
Jackson was not known as a particularly able congressman, having failed to leave his mark on any significant legislation. But he was useful to the Democrats for PR purposes given his famous father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. His ambition turned out to be his downfall - a not uncommon fate for those on the Hill who overreach in grasping for the brass ring.