Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), who has been AWOL from Congress since June of this year, left the Mayo Clinic Tuesday where he was being treated for a bipolar disorder. Sources are now reporting that Jackson will resign his seat and accept a plea deal from federal authorities for what appears to be disuse of campaign funds.
The son of a noted civil rights leader and activist, Jackson entered Mayo shortly after spending time at Sierra Tucson in Arizona where he was beginning his leave of absence. He left Mayo in September to return to his Washington, D.C., home and the re-entered in October.
Jackson won re-election to his 9th term in Congress while a patient at Mayo last week.
Earlier this year, The Chicago Sun-Times first reported that an anonymous source tipped them off about Jackson being the target of a federal probe involving misuse of campaign finances. Jackson reportedly used some of the funds to redecorate his Capitol Hill home and purchase a $40,000 Rolex for a female friend.
He is also under investigation by the House ethics committee for his dealings with former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted of corruption charges that involved his attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Obama in 2009.
Reports surfaced that the Justice Department reached a tentative deal with the 17-year congressman that involved his resignation from Congress for health reasons, a "guilty" plea regarding the misuse of campaign funds and repayment of expenditures found to be of a personal nature.
Noted criminal defense attorney Dan Webb is representing Jackson. A former prosecutor in Chicago during the 1980s, Webb was involved in the plea deal that sent the late Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) to prison for converting postage stamps into personal money.
An announcement from Jackson could be forthcoming because Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are calling for the congressman to provide his constituents an explanation on what his future plans might be.
"It has reached that point and I have tried to be sympathetic and understanding because I believe that mental illness is in fact an illness," Durbin said, in an interview with WDWS 1400, a Champaign, Ill., radio station.
"It can be treated and should be taken seriously and I stand behind those who are struggling with it but there are so many issues that are emerging here and he is a public figure, and there reaches a point where he has to square what is being said about him with the reality of his life and he has to step up and say more."
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Jackson's wife, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson (D), could also face charges for aiding the misuse of funds.
Jackson's office does not know his whereabouts and have not responded to questions about the investigation or his health.