Jesse Jackson Jr. At Mayo Clinic: Congressman To Be Evaluated For Depression, Other Ailments

(Adds details on ethics probe, 2004 surgery)

By David Bailey

MINNEAPOLIS, July 27 (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. has been admitted to the renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to be evaluated for depression and gastrointestinal ailments, the congressman's office said on Friday in a statement released by the clinic.

The statement came more than two weeks after the Illinois Democrat, son of civil rights leader and former presidential candidate, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, was said by his doctor to be undergoing treatment for a "mood disorder."

The younger Jackson, 47, announced in late June that he had taken a leave from office two weeks earlier for treatment of what was then described as exhaustion.

Amid mounting political pressure to disclose more information about his medical condition, Jackson said on July 5 through a statement that his problems were more serious than previously believed, adding he needed extended in-patient treatment for unspecified "physical and emotional ailments."

On July 11, his physician said the congressman was receiving intensive care for a "mood disorder" and was expected to make a full recovery.

The statement on Friday marked the first time that Jackson, who is seeking re-election to a 10th term in the House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 election, acknowledged he was being evaluated for depression.

"Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has arrived at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and gastrointestinal issues," the statement said without elaborating.

The statement did not say whether the gastrointestinal issues being evaluated were connected to a gastric bypass surgery Jackson underwent in 2004 for weight loss.

It said further information would be released as Jackson's evaluation proceeded.

Jackson's Republican opponent in November, Brian Woodworth, said in early July that Jackson had an obligation to clarify his situation. Woodworth could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday night.

Jackson has been the subject of a congressional ethics committee probe over an alleged bribe offered to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich by a Jackson supporter in 2008.

The offer was intended to entice Blagojevich into appointing Jackson to President Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat. Jackson has admitted to lobbying for the seat but has denied knowing about any money offered to Blagojevich, who was convicted of public corruption charges and is in prison.

Two fellow Illinois Democrats, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez, said this month that Jackson owed voters from his South Side Chicago district an explanation.

They compared the congressman's situation with those of stricken Illinois Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and Illinois Democratic U.S. Representative Bobby Rush.

After Kirk suffered a stroke in January, his doctors held news conferences about his condition, and the senator later provided a video depicting his rehabilitation and showing him speaking and struggling to walk on a treadmill.

Rush had surgery for throat cancer, and Gutierrez said at the time, "We knew where to find him." (Reporting and writing by David Bailey; Editing by Steve Gorman and Peter Cooney)



Jesse Jackson Jr. Medical Condition