Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) has reportedly canceled a conference call with staff that had been scheduled for Wednesday morning, and which had fueled speculation that the embattled congressman was close to making a decision about his political future.
The recently reelected Illinois Democrat has not been to work since early June, when he collapsed in his Washington D.C. home and then subsequently spent the summer being treated for bipolar disorder. More recently, it has been revealed that Jackson has been the target of a federal criminal probe that predates his medical treatment. The latest reports indicated the congressman has been in plea deal discussions with federal investigators.
Tuesday night, sources told Fox 32 News in Chicago that Jackson was going to speak with some of his staff in both his D.C. and Chicago offices on Wednesday morning. Other staff members would reportedly “receive an e-mail about his future plans in politics - and possibly the details of his plea bargain with the federal government.”
“There was a conference call. I was informed the congressman was going to have a conference call with the staff at 10 a.m.,” Jackson spokesperson Frank Watkins told The Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday night.
But Rick Bryant, Jackson’s chief of staff, later put out the word that there would be no call.
“We’re not having a conference call tomorrow, no,” Bryant told the Sun-Times.
According to NBC 5 in Chicago, there were concerns that members of the media had gotten ahold of the number for the conference call.
Jackson has barely been heard from since his collapse. In October, a reporter for The Daily encountered Jackson outside his D.C. home, and the congressman said in a brief interview that he was “not well.” Later in the month, his campaign released a robo-call in which Jackson said that “like many human beings a series of events came together in my life at the same time and they have been difficult to sort through.”
Federal investigators have been looking into Jackson for allegedly misusing campaign funds to redecorate his home.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com