Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. showed up for work this morning after inexplicably missing two congressional votes Wednesday evening.
The missed votes are out of character for Jackson, who has missed only 36 votes out of more than 9,700 cast in the 15 years he's been on the hill, and come just days after a local newspaper looked into his alleged involvement in a scheme to funnel money to Rod Blagojevich and printed information about female "social acquaintance."
His camp says it was merely a scheduling issue.
"He was on the 3:05 United flight (from Chicago to Washington D.C.) that was delayed by weather in Washington, so he couldn't make it to the Hill in time," spokesman Andrew Wilson told WARD ROOM via email. "The weather delayed him, which happens to everyone at some point. I'm sure it's happened to you, and it happens to Members of Congress from time to time, unfortunately."
The flight Jackson was on actually arrived 20 minutes late -- at 6:14 p.m. -- and the votes he missed took place at 6:33 pm and 6:43 pm. "its not a fifteen minute cab ride in Washington traffic at rush hour," Wilson says.
The absenteeism goes beyond voting.
With less than six weeks go to until his re-election, Congressman Jackson has no public schedule, no way for voters to meet with him, or for reporters to ask him any questions. According to Wilson, he doesn't plan to make himself available either.
"I'm not aware of any public schedule. He is in Washington, voting on pieces of legislation and working on behalf of his constituents, as he was elected to do." When pushed a second time on a public schedule, Wilson replied "not at this time."
It's interesting to note that Jackson has made voting a benchmark of his tenure in Congress. In fact, during his first 14 years as a congressman he missed only two votes. Then, in April of 2009 Jackson missed 26 votes over an eight day period.
Those missed votes came about four months after the arrest and indictment of former Governor Rod Blagojevich.