U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., absent from public life and the campaign trail since June for treatment of bipolar depression, launched a series of automated telephone calls Saturday, asking constituents for patience but not their votes.
The 85-second recorded message came as a source close to Jackson who was not authorized to speak publicly said the congressman was expected to return to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for further treatment early next week.
The message was delivered to voters' telephones throughout the district. It comes after revelations that Jackson is under federal investigation for the alleged misuse of campaign funds, according to federal sources.
A suburban furniture store operator said federal authorities contacted the business within the last month or so and said they were sending a subpoena for purchases made by Jackson’s campaign committee.
Jackson also is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the House Ethics Committee over allegations that his political allies offered imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in exchange for naming the congressman to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the election of Barack Obama to the presidency.
Jackson, who had told an online publication that he was visiting doctors twice a day from his Washington home, also reportedly was spotted at a nearby bar recently. A source said Jackson was returning to Mayo, where he previously underwent treatment, to avoid media waiting outside his residence.
In the recording, the 17-year congressman said he had been undergoing “medical treatment to address several serious health issues.”
“Like many human beings a series of events came together in my life at the same time and they’ve been difficult to sort through,” he said. “I am human. I’m doing my best. And I’m trying to sort through them all.”
Jackson, in the recorded message, said that while he is “starting to heal,” his doctors tell him that “the road to recovery is a long one.” As a result, he said, a “return to work on your behalf” is “against medical advice.”
“While I will always give my all to my constituents, I ask you to continue with your patience as I work to get my health back,” Jackson said.
“After my family, my constituents are the most important people in the world to me,” he said. I will always act in your best interests. Your patience, your prayers and your support during this difficult time means more to me than you will ever know.”
Nowhere in the message does Jackson ask for voters to re-elect him on Nov. 6, but the automated calls are being paid for from the congressman’s re-election campaign fund.
Despite facing a Republican and independent candidate on the ballot, Jackson’s re-election is thought to be a foregone conclusion, though many Democratic leaders have said they believe he may eventually resign.
Monday is the last day that Jackson could step down in time for local Democrats to replace him on the general election ballot.
'I am human' Jackson tells constituents in robocall
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