Democrat Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr’s staff just released a statement saying the Chicago politician is taking a medical leave due to exhaustion. The statement read,
“On Sunday, June 10th, Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr. went on a medical leave of absence and is being treated for exhaustion. He asks that you respect his family’s privacy. His offices remain open to serve residents of the Second District.”
Those close to the son of famed racial activist Jesse Jackson, say that the congressman was tired from a long fought primary campaign and from working hard on trying to save his marriage. They also point out that Jackson Jr. suffered from exhaustion several years ago at which time he secluded himself in the home of Ron Burkle, a supermarket tycoon who lives in California.
Some skeptics say the timing of his medical leave coincides too closely to the arrest of his former friend and fundraiser Raghuveer Nayak. Jackson’s attorney says that his client was on leave before the arrest of Nayak and that one has nothing to do with the other.
Nayak was just arrested by the FBI for fraud and tax offenses. According to the Chicago Division of the FBI, Nayak was arrested on June 20 after a grand jury investigation resulted in a 19 count indictment. Their statement said,
“The owner of multiple area outpatient surgery centers was arrested today on federal fraud and tax charges alleging that he paid bribes and kickbacks to physicians for patient referrals and filed false federal income tax returns that understated his income. The defendant, Raghuveer Nayak, was charged in a 19-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury last week and unsealed today following his arrest, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Thomas Jankowski, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.”
However, back in 2008, Nayak was very close to Jackson Jr and helped him with campaign fund raising. When the Illinois senate seat held by Barack Obama was vacated due to the presidential election, then Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich apparently began entertaining cash offers for his appointment of the empty position. Blagojevich was later convicted of corruption charges stemming from the allegations.
During the investigation into Blagojevich, prosecutors say that an Indian businessman, later identified as Raghuveer Nayak offered to raise at least $1 million for the Blagojevich campaign if the governor would appoint Jackson Jr to the empty senate seat. Jackson has always denied any involvement in the illegal scheme, but not everyone is convinced of his innocence. He is currently under investigation concerning congressional ethics issues related to Blagojevich’s senate seat for hire fiasco.
With the unrelated arrest of Nayak on fraud charges, is Jackson getting worried that this will play into the congressional investigation on him? Though he denies ever being involved or having any knowledge of the alleged bribery attempt by Nayak to secure him the senate seat, it wouldn’t be the first time a politician denied charges that were later proven to be true. If I were one of the congressmen investigating Jackson Jr, I would make darn sure that I thoroughly interviewed Nayak to see what really transpired.
So I have to wonder if Jackson Jr is really medically exhausted or just hiding while he and his attorney’s figure out what to do with Nayak and any possible implications that may fall back on Jackson Jr. Or perhaps it is a combination of the added strain of a failing marriage and possible congressional action that could cost him his seat in Congress that is weighing on him and leaving him helplessly exhausted.