Once a rising star, the Illinois Representative has not been seen in Congress since early June. Friends and colleagues say Jackson was being treated at a facility in Arizona. NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports.
Illinois Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. faced new pressure from Democratic leaders Wednesday to explain his month-long absence from Congress, even as friends and colleagues tell NBC News that he has been at a treatment facility in Arizona.
A family friend who is in close touch with Jackson’s parents says the congressman is suffering from “severe clinical depression” and has an alcohol problem – although his wife and staff have a different view of his condition.
His wife, Sandi Jackson, texted NBC Chicago on Wednesday saying that her husband is “not in rehab.” His staff issued a statement denying Jackson was being treated for alcoholism – they say he is being treated for a “mood disorder.”
“The Congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential facility for a mood disorder,” his office said in the statement. “He is responding positively to treatment and expected to make a full recovery.”
A statement from Jackson’s physician also said that he is responding well.
Jackson’s father, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, Sr. told NBC Chicago on Tuesday that his son is under medical supervision and is slowly regaining his strength.
"He is taking his time in his recovery and of course we pray for him and of course the family embraces him. We love him so much," Jesse Jackson, Sr. said.
Jackson has missed more than 80 votes and has not been seen in Congress since early last month, which has not settled well with Democratic colleagues.
Representative Steny Hoyer, Democrat from Maryland, said the congressman and his family should "advise the constituents of his condition. He’s obviously facing a health problem.”
Jackson still faces a House Ethics Committee investigation into whether he used his office to compel former Governor Rod Blagojevich to appoint him to the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama in 2008. A former fundraiser for Jackson was arrested on June 20 by federal prosecutors in Illinois on unrelated charges. There have also been reported marital problems.
On Wednesday, a close friend of Jackson’s told NBC, "This has all come down on him like an avalanche and there is a good possibility he will have to resign."
Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O’Donnell contributed to this report.