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John Wayne's Holster: Congress Is Not Above the Law
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Congress Is Not Above the Law



Congressman William J. Jefferson (D-La.) has been under investigation by the FBI for more than one year for using his political office to promote a vested business venture in West Africa. According to FBI affidavits, Jefferson accepted bribes from a telecommunications company called iGate. In support of their case, the FBI is in possession of audiovisual evidence showing Jefferson accepting $100,000 from a wired witness. The money was reportedly given to Jefferson for use as a payoff to government officials in Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana to persuade them to use iGate’s services.

As part of their investigation, the FBI obtained a warrant to search the Congressman’s Capitol Hill office. This past weeked, FBI agents executed the warrant and removed an undisclosed number of documents. Justice Department officials reportedly sought the warrant because Jefferson refused to comply with a subpoena for the documents.

House members from both sides of the aisle were angered by the raid, claiming it is in violation of the Constitution's separation of powers. In a joint statement issued Wednesday, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi stated, "The Justice Department must immediately return the papers it unconstitutionally seized…" House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer added, "The institution (Congress) has a right to protect itself against the executive department going into our offices and violating what is the speech and debate clause, which essentially says, 'That's none of your business, executive department,"'

Sounds to me like there are a lot of people working up on the Hill that have something to hide!

It could be that our elected officials are afraid the expanding corruption investigations of public officials that have been going on lately may snare them. For example, “Duke” Cunningham recently plead guilty to accepting bribes and is currently serving time. We have not heard the last of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. The Kyle "Dusty" Foggo/CIA bribery case is still up in the air. And Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Alan Mollohan (D-WV) are under investigation for allegations that they directed public money to favored parties.

Why does Congress think that they are above the law? If it were you or I in Jefferson’s place, there would be no problem with the FBI searching our homes and offices. This notion about “violating the separation of powers” is nonsense. Congress is just trying to conceal its own wrong-doing. If Jefferson broke the law, he should be investigated the same way every other citizen would be investigated.

UPDATE

Here are the results from a FOX News poll that asked "Should the FBI have the right to raid the offices of congressional members suspected of taking bribes? Over 32,000 people responded and 95% say the FBI has the right. WOW!



In other news, President Bush ordered that the documents seized from Jefferson's office should be sealed for 45 days.

1 Comments:

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Roy said...

Wow! I have been in an intense three week four-hour a day course. Needless to say I had heard of Jefferson but I have not had much time to read up on it. If police doing their job on capitol buildings is a seperation of powers then protecting congress should also fall under that category.

I would love to see all of the money taken out of government and have all campaigns publicly funded. There is something wrong when people are willing to pay tens of millions of dollars to secure a position that pays hundreds of thousands. (I am starting to sound like a communist)

 

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