Cold Cash Congressman To Lead Katrina Tours

That is Jake Tapper’s headline, not mine (but I wish it were). The story is for real, too. I would have sworn it was a Rush Limbaugh parody, but not so.

The Louisiana Democratic Congressman caught on FBI surveillance tapes taking $90,000 in cash has been selected by the Democratic Congressional caucus to lead a delegation from Capitol Hill on a tour of New Orleans next week to “join in prayer with the people of the region, to reflect and remember.”

Jefferson has denied any wrongdoing in a case that sparked controversy when the FBI searched his Capitol Hill offices. The cash was discovered in a freezer in Jefferson’s home.

“To pick somebody who’s clearly having problems is insensitive,” says Ken Boehm, Chairman of the National Legal Policy Center, a political ethics watchdog group, “I suppose if Representative Cunningham could get out of federal prison, they could have him lead the tour.”

Ironically, Katrina victims will likely remember a previous Jefferson tour of New Orleans when he commandeered a National Guard escort to check on his own home and save his belongings while residents clung to rooftops awaiting rescue, as first reported by ABC News National Correspondent Jake Tapper. Last week I wrote about the upcoming Katrina anniversary, but I never dreamed this would be part of it.

Update: Glenn Reynolds has a roundup of reaction to Spike Lee’s Katrina movie. Here are some quotes from a couple of Brendan Loy posts that he included. (Loy appears in the Lee movie)

Ray Nagin is an incompetent idiot. Here’s a detailed explanation of why. Two days before landfall, I predicted that he would be “the mayor who fiddled while New Orleans drowned,” and I was right. Yes, there were massive failures at all levels of government — local, state and federal — but the single person who bears the most blame, in my view, is Mayor Nagin, for failing to make even a halfway-serious effort at implementing the city’s evacuation plan, even though it was 100% clear by the Saturday morning before landfall that if there was ever a time to do it, now is the time. Spike, I gather, intends to focus on Condi Rice’s shoe-buying tendencies in tonight’s movie, and while that might score political points, it’s not the Secretary of State’s job to protect American citizens from hurricanes. It is, however, the mayor of New Orleans’s job to protect his city’s residents by putting long-held evacuation plans into effect…

I don’t mind the inclusion of the conspiracy theories, in the sense that it’s good to know how many people believe that, but Spike definitely didn’t emphasize the debunking of those theories. His treatment was hardly evenhanded, clearly leaving the impression that these theories are plausible, if not likely. A bit more actual scientific commentary on the plausbility of the theories, and alternative explanations for the “explosions,” would have been appreciated. . . . Also: Harry Belafonte is an idiot. But if you’re going to include his inane ranting about how Bush doesn’t care about poor people and black people, where was the alternative viewpoint saying that it was incompetence, not malice? I know Spike had footage available of someone saying that, because I said it. He just chose not to use it. So Belafonte’s crap goes unrebutted, the ridiculous criticisms of Rice go unrebutted, Nagin’s comment about “where are the buses” goes unrebutted (the obvious rebuttal being, you let them drown, Mr. Mayor)… yet when people criticize Nagin, it’s rebutted by Nagin and others. Very interesting editorial choices, Spike.

Well, what did he expect?

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