Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
The Jefferson conundrum
Stipulating that in the end, Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson may be found to be a complete crook. However ... and this is, as they say, a "big however..." the FBI raid on his D.C. offices, a year after agents found $90,000 in cash they gave him during a sting -- in the refrigerator at his home (and yet failed to charge him with a crime,) strikes me (and many lawmakers,) as a clear separation of powers problem, and the latest display of executive branch bullying and intimidation, this time of the United States Congress. The message Alberto Gonzalez and the FBI are sending to the Hill is similar to the one they're sending to journalists: we -- can -- get -- to -- you. The Bush administration is flagrantly using its ever-broadening law enforcement power to intimidate and silence the American people and their representatives. Jefferson was a nice juicy target with which to make that point. So far, the Congress has been pliant and subserviant to a fault. But they've been acting up a bit of late, and the Bushies might want to make sure they stay in their post-9/11 place. It's just my take, but I think that's why both Democrats and Republicans are rising up in opposition to the raid. They see the handwriting on the wall (or the horse's head in the bed, as it were...)

Of coure, the righties disagree, and enjoy watching the administration mete out discipline to the Hill and to the Fourth Estate. But the chilling effect on both is something anyone with a passing interest in the Constitution should be wary of. Still, the case has provided the convenient smokescreen of sucking the still mainly compliant media onto a new primetime topic: the supposed bipartisan nature of Washington's culture of corruption. Don't fall for it. This is about the White House cowing the Congress. Jefferson will be quickly shelved by the Dems. The raid will linger long after he's gone.

On a lighter note, I eagerly await the Dave Chappelle impersonation of Mr. Jefferson.

And here are the court documents and a timeline of the Jefferson case.

Tags: , Corruption, Politics, , Bush Administration,
posted by JReid @ 8:59 AM  
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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