Monday, May 22, 2006

Hang Him Out to Dry. Now.

There were a few threads floating around a couple weeks ago about Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA). At the time he had not yet been named in the investigation, but the people who bribed "Congressman A" had...

Here was my comment at the time:
From commenter Paul at Balloon Juice:

The smart move by the Democrats would be to call a heavily televised public gathering. At said gathering, they would drag out William Jefferson and publicly demand his resignation from a) the Democratic Party and b) the congressional seat he’s in. Conclude with an open statement that the Democratic Party will not tolerate such corruption and that the Republican Party should learn by example. Once you see the popularity polls for the Democratic Party shoot up 5 points watch the GOP sweat.

[I added]: Don’t sweep dirt under the rug, take it out in the front yard and shake it out. Or even beat it with a stick. Let the Repubs try and Febreze out the stench and see where that gets them.

The Republican party is steeping in corruption right now, but people still have the old “they’re all dirty” soundtrack running in their minds. If the Dems publicly toss the dirty members of the own party to the curb now, it is not only the right thing to do, it looks good for them in the fall too.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did a fairly reasonable job of calling Jefferson out. Reminding folks that there was a due process to occur, but if Jefferson had done anything wrong he should resign. She then called for a House Ethics investigation of a member of her own party.

Another (apparently psychic) commenter added this in response to Pelosi:
Pelosi is right. We're a nation of laws, and even if there are videotapes of Jefferson accepting bags of money with "BRIBE" written on them, he's still entitled to due process.

Well get ready for the due process to start. From an affidavit released yesterday
[Rep. William] Jefferson was videotaped accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from a Northern Virginia investor who was wearing an FBI wire [...] A few days later, on Aug. 3, 2005*, FBI agents raided Jefferson's home in Northeast Washington and found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers.

No mention as to whether the bags were labelled or not. Presumably that affidavit was part of the process of obtaining a warrant to raid Jefferson's Congressional office over the weekend.
An unusual FBI raid of a Democratic congressman's office over the weekend prompted complaints yesterday from leaders in both parties, who said the tactic was unduly aggressive and may have breached the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government.

Interestingly, Congressional members of both parties are up at arms over this raid, the first one ever of a sitting Congressman.

It seems this poses serious questions about separation of powers (the FBI works for the Executive Branch).
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), in an e-mail to colleagues with the subject line "on the edge of a constitutional confrontation," called the Saturday night raid "the most blatant violation of the Constitutional Separation of Powers in my lifetime." He urged President Bush to discipline or fire "whoever exhibited this extraordinary violation."

I guess ole Newt hasn't been payin' attention. Bush has never had any regard for any supposed "Separation of Powers", nor does he ever fire anyone...

As for Jefferson? He insists he's being railroaded. I say bullshit. The party needs to cut his ass loose and do it loudly. Zero tolerance for this nonsense.

* You might have heard of this guy before. He's the same clown that shanghai'd an Army convoy to take him to his house in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. He apparently had some evidence to destroy or "frozen food" to retrieve.


S.W. Anderson said...

Maybe Jefferson will get to bunk in with the Dukester. The two of them would make bookends.

Pelosi did well to call for Jefferson to be investigated. The Democratic Caucus should at least take away his committee assignments.

Mike said...

The Democrats have a deathwish.

Mr Furious said...

If they can’t throw him out, s.w.a.'s right, they need to yank every committee assignment from him and completely isolate him within the caucus. And the party needs to back a new candidate for his seat whether he decides to run or not. If they cannot get rid of him now, he needs to be gone after the election.

At the very least, running a challenger at him speaks volumes about the party’s stance on corruption.

The Democrats reallly need to have a clear, consistant stance on this and good talking points to go with it. The Republicans are not going to push this issue, they still suffer in the comparison. The real press will come from the media and they need to be able to counter any attempt to broadbrush this as a bipartisan problem.

Yglesias nailed it. The Dems might have a bad apple, they have a rotten barrel.

BenC said...

Why not do what the Republicans did and continue to do with Delay and simply ignore it? Even though the response might not be strong and harsh against Jefferson, the public will soon forget about it if they stop hearing about it. While Republicans might be outrageously corrupt, they are the best party in terms of manipulating the message, so why not take a page out of their book? Ignore it ignore it ignore it. That way, nobody will ever even think of it.
However, as I say this, I do realize that by letting this scandal slowly disappear would only maintain the status quo, which is not good for Dems. So, maybe it would be good to take a risk, change it up a bit, because whatever they are doing now isn't working.