Reporting Jay Levine
CHICAGO (CBS) – As Congress returned from its Thanksgiving break on Tuesday, Jesse Jackson Jr.’s resignation from Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District was made official on Tuesday.
It was announced Tuesday on the House floor that Jackson had resigned, and the number of sitting Congressman in the House of Representatives was down to 433 as of Tuesday.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has the exclusive details on where Jackson has been, where he is now, and why there could be another Jackson on the ballot to replace him next year.
Jesse Jr.’s brother Jonathan is being urged to run for the seat, even though he said several days ago that he thought it best to sit this one out, to focus on Jesse Jr.’s recovery.
Meantime, CBS 2 has learned Jesse Jr. was in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, where he’s been for nearly a week.
Jesse Jr. was in Chicago with his parents when his letter of resignation was sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last week, but he left town almost immediately afterward.
He’d been expected to stay for the family’s Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, but instead drove back to the D.C. area Wednesday night to be with his wife, Sandi, and his children, Jessica, 12, and Trey, 9, for the holiday.
Attempting to escape reporters staking out their DuPont circle townhouse, they spent the weekend at a friend’s home in the D.C. suburbs.
The former congressman and his family all were still in the D.C. area when his resignation letter – which he wrote himself – was read in the House on Tuesday.
“I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and 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,” Jackson wrote in that letter.
The “mine alone” reference was obviously to his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), who also has worked as his $5,000-a-month campaign manager.
Any investigation of improper spending by Jesse Jr.’s campaign would have to include his wife, though there is no indication she’s been implicated.
An opinion piece in Tuesday’s Washington Post, titled “Jesse Jackson Jr. will be missed in Congress,” called him “a powerful voice in progressive politics.”
But there could be another Jackson running to take his place. Jonathan Jackson – a businessman and professor, as well as an activist – while originally inclined not to run, might reconsider.
Jonathan Jackson is reportedly being recruited, and told that the resources and support for his candidacy would be there.
Reached at Chicago State University, where he was teaching a class Tuesday afternoon, Jonathan Jackson declined to comment, saying that no decision had been made.
But at this point, the principal concern of the entire Jackson family is Jesse Jr.’s mental health. Family sources said the state of his health could limit the cooperation he promised in his letter of resignation, which could delay the plea agreement that would be the final chapter of this sad saga.