|Speaker Pelosi Loves William Jefferson More Than Homeland Security, Ethics and Maybe Even All Those Grandchildren|
By CFIF Staff
Thursday, March 01 2007
Last week, Washington's Culture of Corruption went from just plain disgusting to full-out scary.
Many Americans missed the turn, consumed as they were by the need to get Anna Nicole Smith buried and justice gone wild in the pursuit thereof.
The turn was there nonetheless, as word leaked that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intends to appoint William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, to the House Homeland Security Committee.
After the FBI raided Congressman Jefferson's freezer in August 2005, seizing $90,000 in neatly bundled, really cold cash, details of some of his extracurricular activities began to pour forth, and they are not pretty.
Outlined simplistically, Jefferson allegedly solicited bribes in return for help in arranging African business deals. A former aide to Jefferson and the owner of the telecommunications company seeking to do the deals have pleaded guilty to bribing the Congressman.
An investor in the scheme, believing she might be defrauded, went to the FBI and participated in a videotaped $100,000 sting, which subsequently yielded the $90,000 in marked bills seized from Congressman Jefferson's freezer.
There is even an FBI affidavit that Congressman Jefferson attempted (somewhat crudely and obviously) to hide documents from the FBI during the execution of the search warrant that recovered the $90,000.
There are clearly implications, if no revelations, of activities beyond the above-cited circumstances. Yet when the FBI extended its investigation to Congressman Jefferson's office in May 2006, then-Minority Leader Pelosi (along with way too many other Democrats and Republicans) screeched loudly, seemingly on the basis that investigations of the "Culture of Corruption," even when judicially approved, cannot enter the hallowed halls from which said corruption might emanate.
In June 2006, as court documents on Congressman Jefferson's activities began to bulge from evidence boxes, the House Democratic Caucus, meeting behind closed doors, stripped Jefferson of his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee, the better to cynically campaign against the "Culture of Corruption."
"This isn't about proof in a court of law. This is about an ethical standard," Pelosi was quoted as saying after the vote.
On December 9, 2006, Congressman Jefferson was re-elected to his ninth term in a run-off. Even after that, now-Speaker Pelosi refused to allow Jefferson to return to the Ways and Means Committee, so busy was she proclaiming "the most ethical Congress in history," to the applause of grandchildren everywhere.
In that context, the news last week of Jefferson's potential appointment to the Homeland Security Committee stimulated amazingly little reaction.
Congressman Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), the ranking Republican on the committee, did say, "It sends a terrible message. They couldn't trust him to write tax policy, so why should he be given access to our nation's top secrets or making policy for national defense? Members of the committee have access to intelligence secrets, plots here in the country, overseas, and people under suspicion. This shows how unimportant the Democrats think homeland security is."
Not to mention those "ethical standards" supposedly embodied in Speaker Pelosi's "most ethical Congress in history." But it is one thing to abandon that cynical façade, as much as it contributed to the new Democrat majority in Congress. It is totally another for the "leader" who, we are reliably told, is only two heartbeats away from the Presidency, to act so recklessly and, seemingly, so stupidly.
As the above article was being posted, politico.com reported that the House Republican leadership intends to force an almost unheard of floor vote on Speaker Pelosi's appointment of William Jefferson to the Homeland Security Committee. Normally, the respective political parties make committee nominations that are invariably rubber stamped by the full body.
In this unusual circumstance, no such deference is deserved, given the implications of Jefferson's alleged criminal activity and the particular sensitivities of the Homeland Security Committee.
The entire Jefferson mess also begs one essential question. If the Justice Department indeed has the significant evidence that has been made public, including two guilty pleas by Jefferson associates already booked, then why no indictments? Both the country and, in fact, Congressman Jefferson himself, are owed swift justice in the case of a sitting Member of Congress.
Last year, even before the election that returned Congressman Jefferson to his seat, Edward F. Renwick, a Loyola University political scientist, was quoted as saying, "It's all clear as mud." The entire Jefferson matter still is.