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Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. Resigns

Photo by Chris Maddaloni/ CQ Roll Call.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., resigned from Congress, citing his ongoing mental health issues that have resulted in a prolonged leave of absence from Capitol Hill this year.

Jackson, 47, submitted a letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner’s office on Wednesday.

“For seventeen years, I have given 100 percent of my time, energy and life to public service. However, over the past several months, as my health has deteriorated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued to diminish,” Jackson wrote in the letter. “The constituents of the Second District deserve a full-time legislator in Washington, something I cannot be for the foreseeable future.”

The move brings to an end a disappointing chapter in the political career of the nine-term lawmaker.

Earlier this year, Jackson was admitted to the hospital after suffering what was rumored to be a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He has been on medical leave from Congress since June and has been admitted to the Mayo Clinic on at least two occasions.

According to GovTrack.us, a site dedicated to tracking the legislative record of Congress, Jackson participated in less than half (46 percent) of the House votes in 2012.

The resignation comes at a time when Jackson was facing growing scrutiny for allegedly misusing campaign funds on purchases for his home in Washington, D.C.

There is also an ethical cloud hanging over Jackson from the ongoing investigation by the House Ethics Committee into his efforts to lobby disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich into an appointment to fill President Obama’s vacated Senate seat in 2008.

Jackson, the son of civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, easily won re-election to his Chicago-area district earlier this month with 63 percent of the vote.

Current Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will have five days to announce the date of a special election to fill Jackson’s seat. The vote must occur 115 days from the time the seat is vacated and could cost taxpayers in the state between $600,000 and $1 million.

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