Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., was indicted Monday on federal charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes and money-laundering in a long- running bribery investigation into business deals he tried to broker in Africa.
The indictment handed up in federal court in Alexandria., Va., Monday is more than an inch thick and list 16 alleged violations of federal law that could keep Jefferson in prison for up to 200 years.I wonder how prominently this will be discussed places like Good Morning America and Jay Leno, and when it is, I wonder how many will include the party affiliation. I would say this makes it harder for the Democrats to use the “culture of corruption” charge against Republicans, but since all this was known about Jefferson prior to the last election, and they used it anyway, I guess it doesn’t make much difference.
Update: Macranger thinks there may be some others in congress who were involved.
Ed Morrisey points out some whitewashing going on at The Washington Post. In the Post story they reported the House expelled Jefferson from the Ways and Means Committee, but that “Jerry Markon and Allan Lengel never bother to mention that Pelosi later assigned him to the high-profile Homeland Security committee, and that he sits there still.” It will be interesting to see how this one is covered. (UPDATE: Please read the comments to this post regarding discussion on the Homeland Security Committee seat. Ed has updated his post (which I linked earlier) to say the Washington Post was not wrong, linking a list of current members. I guess Ed was referring to the “he sits there still” line in his post. The Democrats did, however, vote to give Jefferson the seat, at least that is what CNN reported in February:
Eight months after Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson was ousted from the powerful House Ways and Means Committee for allegedly chilling stacks of dubious cash in his freezer, his Democratic colleagues voted to give him a seat on the Homeland Security Committee.
The House Democratic caucus approved Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s appointment Tuesday of Jefferson to the homeland security panel, a decision that has come under fire from Republicans.
After the meeting, Jefferson said the vote was “not contentious” and that there was “no dissent.”
Pelosi also said the homeland security panel “is an appropriate place for him to be,” given its jurisdiction over matters related to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated Jefferson’s New Orleans-area district.
In June, Pelosi moved to strip Jefferson of his assignment on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee after federal prosecutors revealed $90,000 in cash had been found in the congressman’s freezer in August 2005.
The money was divided among various frozen food containers, according to a heavily redacted affidavit on the case.
Soon after Jefferson was stripped of his position on the committee, he accused Pelosi of “singling” him out, using his troubles for political gain. “[Pelosi] believes that it gives her a political advantage in this set of elections,” he said. “She hopes that out of this she’ll be speaker of the House one day, if the Democrats can take charge.” In response to that action, Republicans objected and the appointment was put on hold. I really think the Washington Post should have included all of that in their story. If you read the Post story linked, it absolutely gives the wrong impression.
Update II: McQ asks “What will the most honest and open congress do now?”