CHICAGO – Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who has been on a hushed medical leave for more than three months, has put his home in Washington on the market for $2.5 million to help pay for health care costs, an aide said Wednesday.
Jackson's medical treatment for bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues included several weeks of hospitalization at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The Chicago Democrat returned to his family at their Washington home earlier this month, but his staff has given no indication of when he'll return to work.
"Like millions of Americans, Congressman Jackson and Mrs. Jackson are grappling with soaring health care costs and are selling their residence to help defray costs of their obligations," Jackson spokesman Rick Bryant said in an emailed statement.
Jackson put the Victorian-style town house on the market Sept. 8, a day after his office announced he'd been released from Mayo. Online listings for the home say it was built in 1921, has four bedrooms, five fireplaces, a gourmet kitchen and a rooftop deck with a Jacuzzi. One listing indicates that the sellers "need to find a home of choice."
It was unclear if the Jacksons are interested in buying or renting another home in Washington. The congressman and his wife, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, also have a home in Chicago, though their children attend school in Washington.
The home sale prompted questions about the family's finances, though neither Bryant nor a public relations firm hired by the family returned phone messages Wednesday from The Associated Press. Jackson makes about $174,000 a year as a congressman.
Jackson, 47, has been on medical leave since June 10, but his office did not publicly disclose the leave until about two weeks later and has released little information since then, which has invited scrutiny. His office first said Jackson was being treated for exhaustion and didn't reveal his whereabouts. Staff members later said he was being treated for a "mood disorder," and only later disclosed he was at Mayo treatment.
Members of his prominent family — including his father, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson — also have been mum. The elder Jackson declined to speak about his son Wednesday.
The timing of the leave also has raised questions, since it comes as Jackson is under a House Ethics Committee investigation for ties to imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The committee is looking into allegations that Jackson was involved in discussions about raising money for Blagojevich's campaign in exchange for the then-governor appointing him to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat. And the announcement of the leave came just days after a former fundraiser connected to those allegations was arrested on unrelated federal medical fraud charges.
Jackson has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Jackson, who first won office in 1995, is on the November ballot with two little-known candidates. He's widely expected to win re-election.
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