When Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. emerged from last summer's disappearance—he had, his family said, been seeking treatment for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic—his chief of staff told reporters that he was "convalescing with his wife and children at home in Washington." But last week, he was seen convalescing in a D.C. bar with two different women on two consecutive nights.
According to two independent sources, Jackson was spotted drinking at Bier Baron Tavern, a craft beer bar not far from Dupont Circle, on Tuesday and Wednesday nights last week. Each night, he was accompanied by a different woman. According to both sources, Jackson was drinking. "They were laughing and very focused on each other," one source said of Jackson's demeanor on Wednesday night. "Not sure when they left but I saw them there around 10:30 p.m. They didn't appear intoxicated or loud, but were definitely enjoying themselves."
The Wall Street Journal reported today that federal prosecutors are "in the final stages of a criminal probe" into claims that Jackson illegally used campaign funds to redecorate his $1.3 million home in Washington. That's on top of a separate federal inquiry into Jackson's role in former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's attempt to sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat. So the guy probably needed a drink last week. (And it wouldn't, according to Chicago Magazine, be even remotely the first time he spent quality time with a woman other than his wife, Chicago alderman Sandi Jackson.)
When Jackson first disappeared last summer, many political observers in Chicago speculated that he was being treated for a substance abuse problem of some sort. But his family has insisted that his treatment was limited to a bipolar disease.
According to his spokesman Frank Watkins, Jackson is still "under a doctor's care for bipolar disorder" and hasn't returned to work yet. Asked why Jackson was well enough to go out drinking two nights in a row but not to return to his work in the House of Representatives, Watkins said, "You're asking me to comment on something I don't have any information about."
Update: This post originally stated that the House was in session last week. Although the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform did hold a hearing last Wednesday, the full House was not in session.
[Image via Getty]