Republicans’ opportunistic support of Rep. Jefferson.

These complaints by congresscritters about the search of Rep. William Jefferson’s office are insane.

The assertion is that the FBI may not search the offices of sitting congressmen, based on concerns about the separation of powers. Of course, such searches require a warrant, which must be approved by a judge. So here we have one branch (executive) being balanced by the need to gain approval of another branch (judicial) to investigate the third (legislative). Seems to me like the separation of powers has worked nicely.

Had this been done without a warrant, or a warrant issued by the FISA court or something, I could appreciate the concerns. But the man had $90,000 in cash stuffed into his freezer after being caught on tape collecting it from an FBI informant. Guilty or no, there was clearly good evidence for a warrant.

I cannot help but notice that it’s only, in the words on CNN, “Republican House and Senate leaders” who are making these separation-of-powers claims. If any Democrats other than Rep. Jefferson think this presents a problem, I haven’t heard of them.

Seems to me that these Republicans feel the noose tightening as the many investigations into illegal behavior on their part (DeLay, Abramoff, MZM, etc.) begin to wrap up. So Jefferson’s plight is an opportunity for them. If Democrats are smart, they’ll toss Jefferson to the wolves and loudly rebut these claims.

16 thoughts on “Republicans’ opportunistic support of Rep. Jefferson.”

  1. Nancy Pelosi went on record with her opposition to the search.

    She’s been calling for Jefferson’s investigation for the last month or 2, but not loudly enough. In fact, today was the first time I’d even noticed it. If I were House Minority Leader, I’d have been publicly demanding his resignation for the last 2 months. The party needs to disown him. The guy is clearly a crook.

    Pelosi is so weak and ineffective that it would be worth losing that seat just to get rid of her ‘leadership’ (not that she’s remotely vulnerable). Much like swapping out Tom Daschle for Harry Reid was totally worth losing that Senate seat.

  2. Every time Nancy drops a diary at Dkos, she does not stick around to answer, and the last few times, she has been savaged by people asking her questions about why she isn’t doing her job. (To the tune of 300+ comments) Not all nice and friendly either. She has been being roundly criticized there for some time now. The straw poll today was not in her favor, something like 2-1 against her performance.

    I think there will be a new Majority Leader if the Democrats can win back the House.

  3. The link above does not work. : ( There’s part of an href tag at the end of it. I deleted the ending and got to the article, but thought you’d want to know.

  4. “Not As Lame As You Think”, by Amy Sullivan

    Great article, basically about how our perception of the job that the Democrats have been doing is totally distorted by the media.

    For instance when Social Security privatization was killed, there was not a whiff of the fact that the Dems in the House and Senate are the ones that stopped it cold.

    I suppose you can chalk it up to bad PR . . . anyway, great article. I dig Amy Sullivan.

    That being said, not only should they throw this guy out to the wolves, they should lead the wolves to where they threw him!
    This could seriously compromise the whole Culture Of Corruption narrative.

    We should be showing the country how we handle our bad apples, in direct contrast to how the Republicans do it.

  5. We should be showing the country how we handle our bad apples, in direct contrast to how the Republicans do it.

    Huh? The Democrats’ top leader in the House is going to bat for this crook. Show us one instance of an elected GOP leader who complained of Duke Cunningham’s (well-deserved) treatment?

    Besides, the Democrats have certainly shown us how they deal with bad apples such as Ted Kennedy. ‘Nuf said.

  6. I.Publius,

    Tom Delay, nuff said. Ralph Reed, nuff said.

    And if you had paid any attention to the comments we where chiding the leadership for not taking a more proactive role in punishing Jefferson. Though, they have been calling for his resignation.

  7. new thought, while listening to npr. this is dominating news coverage mainly because of Hastert’s and (gasp), even Delay’s supposed outrage at the searches. Starting to sound really fishy, is this just a ploy to keep it at the top of the press coverage?

  8. As a pseudo-New Orleanian I can come at this with a different angle. While the cards have begun to stack against Jefferson people need to view this from its relative prism. There are no straight and narrow politicans from L.A. If you just read L.A. and thought Los Angeles you aren’t coming at this discussion from the angle that Louisianians are, namely that all politicans from the Pelican State are at least in part crooked. This has always been and always will be the name of the game in my home town and home state. Nearly all counties have election issues come voting times, and cases of bribery happen at every level of state government and are almost always brushed away. Cronyism and family dynastys are just a way of life and something most have come to terms with.

    These are not excuses for what Representative Jefferson may or may not have done. But what the rest of the country needs to do is realize Louisiana is the state least like any other, its politics and culture is much more like a Mediterranean country rather than ours as a whole. Treating Rep. Jefferson as a criminal before anything has been done in court is wrong not because he is a blue Dem from a Red state, but because the whole state is a shade of grey.

  9. This is also interesting (from Matt Stoller over at MyDD, ):

    “Furious black lawmakers, rallying behind Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), were pulled back from the brink of open revolt against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in an emergency meeting with her yesterday.

    The meeting with a handful of CBC members was called after Pelosi wrote the embattled lawmaker, who is at the center of a massive bribery scandal, a curt note requesting his immediate resignation from the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

    Outraged that one of its members was being picked on even though he has not been charged with a crime, the Congressional Black Caucus had intended to issue a defiant statement against their leader but agreed after the meeting to pause, at least briefly, for reflection.”

  10. This is the first time in the history of this republic that the executive branch has come into the legislative branch in this way. THE FIRST TIME. Since 1789, that means, with all the crooks, liers, wars, communist scares….the executive branch never did this…..until now.

    I see the administration using the pretense of a Crook congressman as a “legitimate” way to push the envelope of its power. If it is “OK” to do it this time with a legitimate crime, what happens next time when the reasons are less clear. Will there be an outrage?

    There are many things that the administration does today that are accepted (grudgingly) that would have caused an uproar in June of 2001.

    The Bush administration has been very good making the executive branch supreme in tiny steps. It is slowly chipping away and chipping and chipping. After a while the walls that seperate the governmental branches will be gone and no one will have noticed when it happened.

    That said: Jeffereson should resign.

  11. This is the first time in the history of this republic that the executive branch has come into the legislative branch in this way. THE FIRST TIME. Since 1789, that means, with all the crooks, liers, wars, communist scares….the executive branch never did this…..until now.

    To be fair, it hasn’t happened before not for any substantive reason. If there’s any constitutional limitation that prevented such a search from happening, neither I nor anybody else seems to be able to determine what it would be. It seems that it’s been more of a matter of courtesy. If Rep. Jefferson took evidence from his home and put it in his office, in hopes that it couldn’t searched (as seems to be the case), that seems like a pretty good reason to breach that etiquette and start searchin’.

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