NBC News has reports from "family friends" who claim Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s month-long absence from Congress is due an alcohol addiction. Jackson's office, however, is denying the rehab rumors and claims the Illinois congressman is suffering from a "mood disorder." All parties seem to agree that Jackson is currently receiving "treatment" in an Arizona residential facility.
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.
Since secretly leaving town early last month, Jackson has missed more than 80 votes in Congress without any clear explanation to his constituents about his whereabouts or capacity to remain in office. In the meantime, Jackson still faces a House Ethics Committee investigation into whether he tried to compel former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to appoint him to the Senate seat vacated by President Obama in 2008.
"This has all come down on him like an avalanche," a close friend of Jackson's told NBC, "and there is a good possibility he will have to resign."