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Jesse Jackson Jr. submits letter of resignation

CHICAGO — Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., a once-rising political star who had been on a monthslong mysterious medical leave for bipolar disorder while facing separate federal investigations, resigned from Congress on Wednesday, citing his health problems.

Jackson's resignation, just two weeks after voters re-elected him to a ninth full term, comes amid a House Ethics Committee investigation into his dealings with imprisoned ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and reports of a new federal probe into possible misuse of campaign money.

In his resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Jackson admits "my share of mistakes" and, for the first time, publicly acknowledges that he is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation.

He also said his constituents "deserve a full-time legislator in Washington," something that wasn't in his future because of his health issues.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has five days to schedule an election to replace Jackson after he receives official notice.

Jackson, 47, disappeared in June. It was later revealed that he was being treated at the Mayo Clinic for bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues. He returned to his Washington home in September but went back to the clinic the following month, with his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, saying his son had not yet "regained his balance." Jackson left the clinic a second time this month.

Jackson took office in 1995 after winning a special election. His resignation ends a once-promising political career that was tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions about raising campaign funds for the imprisoned Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Jesse Jackson Jr. submits letter of resignation 11/21/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:32pm]
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