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Jesse Jackson Jr. resigns from Congress

CHICAGO -- Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. quietly resigned yesterday, effectively ending a once-promising political career months after the civil rights icon's son went on a mysterious medical leave while facing separate federal investigations.

Just two weeks after voters re-elected him to a ninth full term, Jackson sent his resignation to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), citing his treatment for bipolar disorder and admitting "my share of mistakes."

The House Ethics Committee is investigating his dealings with imprisoned ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and for the first time Jackson publicly acknowledged reports of a new federal probe believed to be looking into his possible misuse of campaign money.

"I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, and accept responsibility for my mistakes," he wrote.

Jackson, 47, disappeared in June, and it was revealed that he was being treated at the Mayo Clinic for bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues. He returned to his Washington home in September but went back to the clinic the next month, with his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, saying his son had not yet "regained his balance."

Jackson took office in 1995, beginning his career in Washington with a star power that set him apart from his hundreds of other House colleagues.

He served as the national co-chairman of Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008 and had reportedly had his sights set on becoming a U.S. senator or Chicago's mayor.

Then came Blagojevich.

Though not charged, Jackson had to dodge allegations of a role in discussions about raising campaign funds for Blagojevich in exchange for Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has five days to set the date of election to replace Jackson, which must be held within 115 days.

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