TODAY   |  October 16, 2012

Jesse Jackson Jr. under federal investigation

Law enforcement sources tell NBC News the FBI is in the final stages of an investigation into whether Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. used campaign funds for personal expenses. NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports.

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>>> representative jesse jackson jr . is facing new scrutiny this morning out of sight for much of the past four months now being investigated for possible misuse of campaign money. nbc 's national investigative correspondent michael isikoff has more. michael, good morning to you.

>> reporter: savannah, good morning. even while he runs for re-election jess gentlemen j hab boston absent from congress and the campaign trail for months undergoing medical treatment , his campaign says, for a bipolar disorder , but now he's facing another ominous threat, this time from the fbi .

>> making a statement.

>> reporter: it's the latest probe into jesse jackson jr . law enforcement sources tell nbc news the fbi is in the final stages of an investigation into whether the illinois congressman used campaign funds for personal expenses that reportedly included decorating this washington , d.c. home which was briefly put on the market for $2.5 million last august.

>> campaign finance laws clearly prohibits candidates from using their campaign funds for personal use. it's a blanket prohibition, so if mr. jackson was using his campaign funds to buy furniture for his home, that would be flat out illegal.

>> reporter: a spokesman for jackson works hasn't been seen in public for months even while he runs for re-election, declined comment, but the sources say jackson 's lawyers met with federal prosecutors in washington last week asking them to delay any decision on bringing charges until after the november election. the feds gave no assurances, said the sources. top illinois democrats monday brushed off questions about the new probe.

>> my thoughts are with the family. he's obviously dealing with some personal issues.

>> reporter: but one illinois political analyst said that while jackson is likely to re-election the probe could ratchet up pressure for him to step down.

>> the cumulative drip on a series of scandals certainly adds a great deal of pressure on him personally.

>> we measure champions not how quickly they get knocked down but by quickly they get up.

>> reporter: once a rising star in chicago politics, jackson has been engulfed in a swirl of controversies involving both his ethics and personal life . in 2009 jackson was investigated over allegations he directed a top fund-raiser to offer $1 million in campaign funds for then governor rod blagojevich in exchange for naming jackson to barack obama 's senate seat. jackson denied any wrongdoing, and no charges were brought. according to an nbc news tally jackson has missed 225 consecutive roll call votes in the house since last june when he took a leave of absence for treatment of what his staff called a mood disorder .

>> we have a congressman who stopped talking, who is not communicating, for four months not said a word to anybody.

>> reporter: sources tell nbc news that the fbi probe actually began before jackson took his leave of absence in june, and a spokesman for jackson confirmed the congressman hasn't been seen in his office since then. he's under his doctor's care, the spokesman said, and they have not okayed for him to come back to work. savannah?

>> michael isikoff in washington , thank you.