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Balladeer
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0 posted 12-10-2006 09:54 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


WASHINGTON (AP) In awarding Rep. William Jefferson a new lease on his political life, Louisiana voters this weekend also saddled Nancy Pelosi with another ethics quandary as she prepares to become the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives.

"It's going to be quite a headache for the Democrats," Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Sunday.

Jefferson easily won a runoff Saturday despite being dogged by a federal corruption investigation and FBI allegations that he had $90,000 in bribe money in his freezer. The first black member of Congress from Louisiana since Reconstruction, Jefferson has not been charged with any crime and has denied wrongdoing. He returns to Washington for a ninth term under a cloud that will complicate Pelosi's vow to make this "the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history."

Last June, Pelosi pressed the House to strip Jefferson of a coveted committee assignment: a seat on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. Pelosi now may come under pressure to restore his committee assignment or at least place him on a committee where he could benefit New Orleans.

Sloan said it will be difficult to deny Jefferson a committee assignment because another Democrat under FBI investigation, Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, is in line to be chairman of a subcommittee that oversees the bureau's budget. Mollohan, whose personal finances have come under scrutiny, is now the top Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee that sets the Justice Department budget.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-12-10-jefferson-ethics_x.htm?csp=34

Combine this with Pelosi nominating "pass-the-bribe-this-way" Hastings (which she was pressured into removing) and it appears that the swamp cleaning out she has so energetically vowed to conduct may well be her own.

Huan Yi
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1 posted 12-10-2006 10:02 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Mike,

How dare you be so politically insensitive.

John


.

Mistletoe Angel
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2 posted 12-10-2006 10:05 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I agree, Balladeer, and I am indeed disappointed that where the Democrats had an opportunity to choose moving toward some sort of fresh start by choosing the fresh candidate Karen Carter over the disgraced representative William Jefferson, they decided to dodge the option of principle.

I am at least glad that Cynthia McKinney is gone, but it's gestures like this and Pelosi's even mere consideration of Alcee Hastings from the very beginning that deservedly paint this very same Democratic majority which promised to be the "most honest and ethical Congress in history" as a vast, empty promise when they haven't even commenced yet.

The 109th Congress is already a colossal joke as it is and will go down in history as one of the worst, but I fear the 110th Congress may just be the B-side to the 109th Congress.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
JesusChristPose
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3 posted 12-10-2006 10:17 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

The man was caught with 90K in his freezer, but claims he his innocent. LOL

Now, I don't know about any of you, but if you come into my kitchen and open my freezer door, you'll find my entire savings. I mean, come on, who doesn't keep money in the freezer?  

"Melvin, the best thing you got going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself."
Balladeer
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4 posted 12-10-2006 10:26 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I agree, Noah. The bottom line is that corrupt politicians sit on both sides of the aisle and always have.

For Pelosi to have insinuated that the REPUBLICAN Congress was a cesspool and the DEMOCRATIC Congress would be sparkling after her clean-up was either complete denial on her part or just another typical smear tactic.


JCP....gives new meaning to the term "cold hard cash", doesn't it?
JesusChristPose
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5 posted 12-10-2006 10:35 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

Or, frozen assets?

"Melvin, the best thing you got going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself."

Ron
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6 posted 12-11-2006 07:50 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Innocent until proven guilty?

Nah, that must be some other country I'm thinking of.
jbouder
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7 posted 12-11-2006 08:28 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ron:

Are you kidding?  I thought the standard was "guilty until the press prints a retraction."

Jim
Balladeer
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8 posted 12-11-2006 05:01 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

thanks for sharing a comment that should be beneath you, Ron, but, yes, you must be thinking of another country. Can't be the United States. Everyone knows how evil we are and how our justice system is so pitiful and a decent man can't get a break. Wasn't that way before Bush...damn his hide, anyway! (have I missed anything?)

Of course the fellow should be considered innocent and there may be a perfectly plausible reason for his actions and for having 90 grand in his freezer....and, after all, he IS a Democrat. Had he been Republican, perhaps you comment would consist of something referring to logic and common sense thinking.....but maybe not.
Brad
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9 posted 12-11-2006 05:23 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Mike,

Those two paragraphs speak volumes.
JesusChristPose
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10 posted 12-11-2006 06:00 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

Who is talking about innocent or guilty via court of law? Congress men and women should live up to a higher moral standard, should they not? The fact is 90K was found in his freezer, of which he could not provide any plausible explanation for it being there.

That evidence, in itself, should of been enough to have him voted out of office, but then this is America where a mayor can be a drug addict and still get re-elected.



"Melvin, the best thing you got going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself."

[This message has been edited by JesusChristPose (12-11-2006 06:40 PM).]

Local Rebel
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11 posted 12-11-2006 07:39 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Well there's a few things to consider here;  Nancy Pelosi didn't re-elect him.

The majority of Dems sitting in the next Congress rebuked Pelosi's old-school politics of picking ethically challenged (but exhonorated) Jack Murtha to be whip.

Jefferson didn't get caught with a dead girl or a live boy -- the only two things that will get you turned out in Louisiana.  (According to Huey P. anyway).

Hastings didn't get seated.

The Dems are, so far, paying attention (because we are).

Ron
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12 posted 12-11-2006 07:54 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
thanks for sharing a comment that should be beneath you, Ron, but, yes, you must be thinking of another country. Can't be the United States. Everyone knows how evil we are and how our justice system is so pitiful and a decent man can't get a break. Wasn't that way before Bush...damn his hide, anyway! (have I missed anything?)

Actually, Mike, my question wasn't directed at the American justice system. It wasn't even directed at Bush. Neither the system nor the administration, after all, is trying to judge the man on hearsay, innuendo, and rumor.

JCP says, "The fact is 90K was found in his freezer," when in truth that isn't a fact, it's just an allegation, and indeed, a pretty meaningless one. Can you say circumstantial? I knew you could!

Maybe the guy is guilty of corruption. Maybe he's not. Neither an investigation, which is current, nor an indictment, which hasn't even happened, can answer those questions, though. He was duly elected to office, and until he is legally removed, that should be enough.

When suspicion alone is enough to determine who will or won't be allowed to govern, we've got serious problems.
Balladeer
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13 posted 12-12-2006 01:40 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

"JCP says, "The fact is 90K was found in his freezer," when in truth that isn't a fact, it's just an allegation, and indeed, a pretty meaningless one. Can you say circumstantial? I knew you could!" - Ron

The only reason it isn't called a fact is that it is all tied up in court over the search details. A meaningless allegation? That's very understanding of you   I suppose that is the 90k is meaningless, then so must be the videotapes of him accepting the bribe and the records of the bill serial numbers matching the FBI money given for the bribery sting. Yes, I can say circumstantial. I can also say Wikipedia, CNN and ABC. Let's see what they can say.........

He is Louisiana's first black Congressman since Reconstruction.[1] He is currently the subject of a corruption probe, and in May 2006 his Congressional offices were raided, as well as his home in Northeast Washington, where, the FBI alleged, they "found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers."
Jefferson has been under investigation by the FBI for suspected corruption since March 2005. Since that time, he has been named in the guilty pleas of two associates

On 20 May 2006, Jefferson's Congressional offices were searched by the FBI, "believed to be the first-ever FBI raid on a Congressional office,"[5] raising concerns that it could "set a dangerous precedent that could be used by future administrations to intimidate or harass a supposedly coequal branch of the government.
On 30 July 2005, Jefferson was videotaped by the FBI allegedly receiving $100,000 worth of 100 dollar bills in a leather briefcase at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington, Virginia.[8] Jefferson told an investor, Lori Mody, who was wearing a wire, that he would need to give Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar $500,000 "as a motivating factor" to make sure they obtained contracts for iGate and Mody's company in Nigeria
A few days later, on 3 August 2005, FBI agents raided Jefferson's home in Northeast Washington and, as noted in an 83-page affidavit filed to support a subsequent raid on his Congressional office, "found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers." Serial numbers found on the currency in the freezer matched serial numbers of funds given by the FBI to their informant.

The affidavit used to support these raids included, among other allegations:
The FBI videotaped Jefferson receiving a stock certificate from Mody for a company set up in Nigeria to promote iGate's technology. Jefferson predicted the deal would generate $200 million annually after five years.
Jefferson told Mody that he wanted a similar financial stake in the business in Ghana.
Jefferson sought $10 million in financing from Mody to take over iGate and install "confidants" on the new board. In two payments, Mody wired $89,225 to the ANJ Group LLC, a company controlled by Jefferson's family.

Jefferson lent $4,800 of the money Mody gave him to an unnamed congressional aide. Another $4,900 was given back to the FBI by one of Jefferson's attorneys.
The FBI claims it has uncovered "at least seven other schemes in which Jefferson sought things of value in return for his official acts."

In January 2006, Brett M. Pfeffer, a former aide to Jefferson, implicated him in a corruption scheme involving an Internet company being set up in Nigeria. Pfeffer was president of an investment company in McLean, Virginia. In return for political support for the deal, Jefferson had legal work directed toward his family's operations. It was also said that a daughter of his was put on retainer of the Virginia investment company to the tune of $5,000 a month. Jefferson also is said to have arranged for his family a 5% to 7% ownership stake in the Nigerian Internet company. Pfeffer pled guilty to charges of aiding and abetting bribery of a public official and conspiracy on 11 January 2006 in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.[12] On May 26, he was sentenced to eight years, but was "cooperating in an ongoing probe and may be eligible for a sentence reduction afterward", according to a prosecutor.[13]

On 3 May 2006 Vernon Jackson, 53, CEO of Louisville, Kentucky based iGate Inc., admitted to bribery of a public official and conspiracy to bribe a public official during a plea hearing in U.S. District Court. According to the Associated Press, "court documents make clear that Congressman William Jefferson (Democrat-Louisiana) is the accused congressman, without naming him." Jackson's plea bargain requires his cooperation in the ongoing investigation against the congressman he admits bribing. The total amount of the bribes is between $400,000 and $1 million, according to court documents of the Jackson proceeding.[14] On September 8th, Jackson was sentenced to 7 years & 3 months in jail.

On May 24, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi publicly requested his immediate resignation from the House Ways and Means Committee; he declined to do so.[27] Although Mel Watt, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus declared the strong support of the caucus for Jefferson it has since been reported that two prominent members of the caucus, John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) have played a major role in the campaign to force Jefferson to step down.[28]
On 15 June 2006, House Democrats voted to strip Jefferson of his committee assignment while the federal bribery investigation continues. Members approved the move after Jefferson repeatedly refused to step aside. Despite claims of the Congressional Black Caucus that Jefferson was being treated unfairly, the vote passed 99-58. Some have reported that the vote was passed as a result of Democrats who are determined to make an election-year point about ethics. The full House, which is the only group with the power to actually remove Jefferson, then stripped him of his seat on the committee on June 16th in a voice vote without debate. Jefferson had offered to step aside temporarily if the Democratic caucus established a rule concerning cases like his and if his seat went to Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA). This offer was rejected by House Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi.


Congressman Jefferson Probe Leads to Crisis in Nigerian Government
November 03, 2006 12:56 PM
Brian Ross and Joseph Rhee Report:
Nigerian officials say the bribery investigation of Congressman William Jefferson (D-La.) has uncovered a massive corruption scheme involving several members at the highest levels of the Nigerian government.
Acting on information provided by the FBI, Nigerian fraud investigators have now indicted Vice President Atiku Abubakar on 14 counts of corruption, involving tens of millions of dollars allegedly diverted from government accounts.
According to Nuhu Ribadu, head of a new anti-corruption squad created by Nigeria's president, $23 million of the diverted money is still missing. Ribadu said $6.7 million of the missing funds has been traced to a U.S. company tied to Congressman Jefferson's family.
In August, $90 thousand of marked FBI cash was found in Jefferson's freezer, money that the FBI says was the first installment of a $500,000 bribe to the Nigerian vice president to help further the business deal.

So, if you want to look at all that, Ron, and see nothing but circumstantial allegations and consider it suspicion alone, then I would have to surmise that your relatives sat on the OJ jury   I confess I have a hard time understanding how the man was re-elected. I suppose the Louisiana voters had short memories about his actions after katrina.

Ironically, Katrina victims will likely remember a previous Jefferson tour of New Orleans when he commandeered a National Guard escort to check on his own home and save his belongings while residents clung to rooftops awaiting rescue, as first reported by ABC News National Correspondent Jake Tapper. Several days after the storm hit, Jefferson asked the National Guard to take him on a tour of the flooded portions of his congressional district. A five ton military truck and a half dozen military police were dispatched. National Guardsmen later told ABC News that Jefferson asked the truck to take him to his home on Marengo Street in an affluent uptown neighborhood. Water was up to the 3rd step, and the vehicle pulled up onto Jefferson's front lawn so he wouldn't have to walk in the water. Jefferson spent about an hour inside the house while soldiers waited outside.

...but, then, who am I to say? We re-elcted Hastings!!!
Actually, Mike, my question wasn't directed at the American justice system. It wasn't even directed at Bush.   No, it wasn't. I was referring to the postscript innuendo.

Local Rebel........I agree. Any disdain I feel on this subject is for Pelosi alone. I applaud the Democrats for their actions so far in not bowing down to her or allowing her to run amok unchallenged.

Ron
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14 posted 12-12-2006 03:37 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I can also say Wikipedia, CNN and ABC. Let's see what they can say....

They're still just allegations, Mike.

If he's guilty, convict him. Until he's convicted, however, he still has rights, as do the thousands of people who voted for him. I don't, for the life of me, understand how his constituents could vote for him, either. But then I also don't understand how anyone could possibly have voted for Bush. Our combined lack of understanding notwithstanding, both have been legally elected to office.

Suspicion cannot be allowed to become a weapon that can strip an official of power granted to him by the people. That's the role of due process.


Balladeer
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15 posted 12-12-2006 03:53 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

ThenI'mmissing something,Ron.According to all I've read, thevideotapes of him are real, not allegations. The serial numbers of the bills are real, also. These are facts supported by the major news agencies of the country. I doubt they would open themselves up to libel or defamation of character for no reason.

The problem, and even the joke, of this whole thing  is the outrage of Jefferson and his lawyers that his office was searched. THAT is what they are trying to focus on and that's why the case has been delayed for so long. The search for evidence against him, according to them, is the real crime, not the evidence they uncovered. It will all come out, eventually. Until it does - and because of his obvious guilt - it is not wrong not to trust him or put him in positions where he could further usurp his authority. To simply say "He hasn't been convicted yet.." is not reason enough to give him a clean slate.

If the school bus driver of your daughter is charged with child molestation but either gets off on a technicality or simply has the case delayed for whatever reason, would you support allowing him to continue driving her bus? I would find that unlikely..

Seen O.J. in any commercials lately?...and he's INNOCENT! (according to the law)  

Yes, I understand that the difference between my example and your point is that Jefferson is an elected official but no one is trying to strip him of his right to hold office before being found guilty. He can hold office and still not be put in any major positions of power....which would be the right choice.
Ron
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16 posted 12-12-2006 06:20 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
If the school bus driver of your daughter is charged with child molestation but either gets off on a technicality or simply has the case delayed for whatever reason, would you support allowing him to continue driving her bus? I would find that unlikely..

That's a good analogy, Mike. Let's work with it for a minute.

I get to fight for the termination of my bus driver on pretty much any grounds I think are important to me. His character, certainly, would be one such ground. I pay his salary, albeit indirectly, and he answers to me.

On the other hand, should I decide not to fight for his termination, again on pretty much any grounds I think are important, you don't get to drive up here and yank him off the bus. He doesn't answer to you.

quote:
He can hold office and still not be put in any major positions of power....which would be the right choice.

The right choice for whom, Mike? Certainly not for the people he represents. It's always a bit hard to say with those Cajuns, but presumably they sent him to the Capital to actually get something done for them. You're essentially suggesting that those people should not be fully represented because you don't agree with the choice they made.

Even if we all agreed that you were a hundred percent right, Mike, it's still not a precedent we can allow you to set. You don't get to vote, either directly or indirectly, on MY government representatives.

They don't answer to you any more than my bus driver does.

JesusChristPose
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17 posted 12-12-2006 06:32 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

Ron must be a postmodernist thinker.

... but then how can I be sure that it is really Ron who is replying?

"Melvin, the best thing you got going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself."

serenity blaze
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18 posted 12-12-2006 06:44 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I am probably the only one in this thread who had the right to vote in that election, and um, nope, I did not.

I would have voted for Karen Carter, because I believe all people named Karen are superior. (That is about as much logic as I can muster here in "swamp problem" land.)

Truthfully, I wouldn't have made a difference--and I knew that once Sheriff Harry Lee tipped the scales in favor of Jefferson. And it would have been a "hold my nose" vote anyhow--as I couldn't decide whether to vote for someone facing allegations or someone making them.

As I said to a pipfriend earlier, I know the rest of the nation doesn't understand, and I can only speak for myself.

My priorties have become pinpoint circumferenced to a very selfish and pragmatic circle of survival.

Besides, I had no ride to even go to the vote--and the street that crosses the shortest point between here and there was cordoned off with police tape as they investigated yet another murder. (And yep, Ali--I heard those shots too.)

So I reserve the right to shake my head--in silence--but nevertheless, I shake my head.

Swamp problems...yeah, we got 'em. I'm sure nobody wants to hear about 'em tho--and I'm just as sure that the New Orleans board of tourism doesn't want me to talk about 'em.

I no longer give a damn about either party--and I won't until I see some evidence that one of 'em gives a damn about me.

Now if you'll excuse me--it's getting dark, and I like to know where my kids are...you guys have fun. While you can.

Balladeer
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19 posted 12-12-2006 08:25 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Interesting response, Ron. I COULD simply say that putting the criminal in an important position in the Congress does indeed affect me, since Congress passes and enforces laws for ALL Americans. That puts my daughter on the bus right next to yours......but I won't because that was not the original intent of the thread.

The intent of the thread, which is in my opening statements, is bringing Pelosi to bear responsibility for her pre-election comments. She referred to Bush as a criminal. She called congress a "swamp of corruption" and she swore to clean it up and make congress "the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history."

So we have Jefferson, a man with his 90k in frozen assets and videotapes of his criminal activities earmarked for the Ways and Means Committee - Hastings, one of only six judges in history to be  removed from the bench by Congress for criminal activities sidelined from a major position only because Democrats made Pelosi back down, and who else?
Well,  we have Mollohan headed to chair a sub-committee that oversees the FBI's budget....an interesting scenario since he is under FBI investigations and, in fact, would be budgeting the money the FBI uses to investigate HIM!  


West Virginia Democrat is Scrutinized
Mollohan Has Close Ties to Groups Handling His District's Appropriations

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 15, 2006; Page A01

Starting in the 1990s, Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.) chose an unusual way to funnel federal funds into his poverty-ridden district. He set up a network of nonprofit organizations to administer the millions of dollars he directed to such public endeavors as high-tech research and historic preservation.

Over the same period, Mollohan's personal fortunes soared. From 2000 to 2004, his assets grew from no more than $565,000 to at least $6.3 million. The partners in his rapidly expanding real estate empire included the head of one of these nonprofit groups and the owner of a local company for which he arranged substantial federal aid.

Mollohan used his seat on the House Appropriations Committee to secure more than $150 million for five nonprofit groups. One of the groups is headed by a former aide with whom Mollohan bought $2 million worth of property on Bald Head Island, N.C.


It gets better and better. How about Reyes, set to be the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee?  Qualified? You be the judge.


Al-Qaeda confuses US Congressman
By Adam Brookes
BBC News, Washington


A US Congressman tasked with overseeing intelligence has shown himself apparently unable to distinguish between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

In an interview with Congressional Quarterly magazine, Silvestre Reyes, a Texas Democrat, said al-Qaeda was a predominantly Shia organisation.
The opposite is the truth - al-Qaeda professes a form of Sunni extremism. Mr Reyes is a long-time member of the House Intelligence Committee and is set to become its new chairman in January.
The Committee is regularly briefed on intelligence matters and is responsible for the budgets, organisation and overall direction of US spy agencies. Hence you would expect Mr Reyes to be pretty well informed. But when an interviewer tested him on basic knowledge of US enemies, he seemed anything but.

When asked whether al-Qaeda was a Sunni or a Shia group, Mr Reyes answered that it was predominantly Shia.
When Mr Reyes was asked whether Hezbollah was Sunni or Shia, he appeared unable to answer. Hezbollah is, of course, a Shia organisation.

The office of Mr Reyes, when asked for comment, said only that he was acutely aware of al-Qaeda's desire to harm Americans and the House Intelligence Committee would keep its eye on the ball. But as Democrats ready themselves to take control of Congress following their election victory in November, Mr Reyes' display of ignorance will not help them in their quest to persuade Americans that they are competent on matters of national security.


You are absolutely right, Ron. It doesn't matter at all what I think about these people. My only major point in this thread is to point out that Pelosi is an incredible hypocrite, labeling the Republican congressmen as criminals and then nominating documented criminals-to-be and people of more than questionable behavior  to take their places.


JesusChristPose
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20 posted 12-12-2006 09:56 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

Come on, Mike. In these crazy-topsy-turvy postmodern times, who is to say what is right and what is wrong? Who is to say that it can only be alleged when money is actually found in a politician's freezer?

Yes, in these postmodern times, one can easily say that Bush is a criminal while others who sleep in the same bed are not. Even though, in this case, it appears George got the "top bunk."

"Melvin, the best thing you got going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself."

Local Rebel
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21 posted 12-12-2006 10:41 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

The problem, and even the joke, of this whole thing  is the outrage of Jefferson and his lawyers that his office was searched. THAT is what they are trying to focus on and that's why the case has been delayed for so long. The search for evidence against him, according to them, is the real crime, not the evidence they uncovered. It will all come out, eventually. Until it does - and because of his obvious guilt - it is not wrong not to trust him or put him in positions where he could further usurp his authority. To simply say "He hasn't been convicted yet.." is not reason enough to give him a clean slate.



The Constitutional issue of separation of powers comes into play here Mike.  It's a sticky situation when the FBI goes prancing into a Congressional office.

For the most part -- the Constitution exempts Congress from such -- especially while in session -- to prevent the Executive Branch from interfering with the process.

Members are afforded pretty much the same status of diplomats.  If, and it's an if, the search of Jefferson's office/home was unconstitutional -- then, that is a much bigger deal than a Congressman taking a bribe.

Why?

Because what if someone ACCUSED a bunch of membersof taking bribes and the FBI started the same process again... and what if they all turned out to be members of the Executive's opposition party?  What if it was done at a time when a critical vote was coming up?  It subverts the process.

The Constitution affords such matters to be dealt with by the Congress itself -- and if it doesn't -- then it affords us to deal with the Congress.
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If, and it's an if, the search of Jefferson's office/home was unconstitutional -- then, that is a much bigger deal than a Congressman taking a bribe.

Afraid I can't buy that, reb. Yes, you paint an interesting scenario where the power could be used for nefarious activities against one political party by another but I don't think it's that simple. How easy do you think it was to get a search warrant for his office? Do you really think the FBI could just go to a judge and say that some so-and-so's claim Senator Stickyfingers engaged in criminal activities and the judge would just turn one over? I find that highly unlikely. I know a little about how hard it is to get a search warrant for common police cases and I'm sure it is a thousand times more difficult to get one involving the properties of members of the Senate. I cannot imagine a judge issuing one without an extremely high belief that the warrant is justified. The FBI doesn't just go "prancing" into a Senator's office and I'm sure you know that.

No, Senator's houses or offices are not like embassies or diplomatic domiciles. An embassy is considered to be the home territory of the country which occupies it. A senator's house would be considered the same - part of the United States and subject to US laws. Do we let congressmen know that they can commit any crime they want and, as long as they keep the evidence in their office, it is untouchable? A free spot?

The Constitution affords such matters to be dealt with by the Congress itself -- and if it doesn't -- then it affords us to deal with the Congress.

How is that? Does the congress have the right to search his office? Or do you mean they censure him? How do we deal with the Congress? By voting them out of office? So what? What about the man being responsible for and paying for his crimes? Should he escape prison because he is a senator or should he have to pay?

You claim that if the search was unconstitutional, it is worse than the crime. Who would be the criminal then? Would it be the FBI instead of the fellow who actually committed it?

It may be interesting to see who deems it to be constitutional or not. Certainly "not searching Senators' offices" is not in the original constitution so it will now become interpretation. Undoubtedly different people will interpret it in their own ways. The FBI didn't prance in. They had hard evidence, including the videotape. They presented it to a judge. They got permission and they conducted the search. If you want to claim that that could be worse than the man taking the bribes just because a board may decide the action goes against the constitution by their own interpretation, I'm afraid you'll get little agreement. The crime will have been committed, regardless of how many pebbles are tossed into the pond.

I understand your scenario. I just don't consider it realistic, outside of a John Grisham novel.

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quote:

Congressional office raid
The May 20 raid of Jefferson's office in Room 2113 of the Rayburn House Office Building set off a series of political events. Jefferson immediately challenged the action in federal court, and members of the House generally reacted strongly against the raid. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued "a rare joint statement demanding that the FBI return the documents and saying that Jefferson then should cooperate more fully with the investigation."[16] "Many Republicans and Democrats contend that the unprecedented raid on a congressional office was unduly aggressive and may have breached the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government that are meant to shelter lawmakers from administrative intimidation."[17] Tensions escalated to the point where, according to AP, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, his deputy, Paul McNulty, and possibly FBI Director Robert Mueller "were said to be ready to quit if the Justice Department was asked to return the Jefferson documents...[while the] House was threatening to go after the Justice Department's budget."[18]

On May 25, President Bush stepped in, taking the extraordinary step of "directing the Department of Justice to seal all the materials recovered from Congressman William Jefferson's (Democrat-Louisiana) office for the next 45 days and not to allow access to anyone involved in the investigation."[19]

While members of the Senate seemed to take a more measured view of the raid,[20] on 30 May 2006, Representative James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee began to hold hearings, called "Reckless Justice: Did the Saturday Night Raid of Congress Trample the Constitution?", on the "profoundly disturbing" questions that he said the Justice Department's actions have raised.

The FBI, in answering Jefferson's complaint of the raid, attached an FBI agent's affidavit claiming that the raid was necessary because while the FBI was searching his home in August, Jefferson tried to "surreptitiously remove" documents.[21]

An ABC News poll released 1 June 2006 found 86% of Americans supported the FBI's right to search congressional offices when they obtain a warrant.[22]

On July 10, 2006, Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled the FBI raid on Jefferson's office was legal,[23] rejecting his and the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the Unites States House of Representatives claim that the search violated the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause, separation of powers principle and Fourth Amendment. Chief Judge Hogan, in a 28-page ruling, acknowledged that the "facts and questions of law presented here are indeed unprecedented," but wrote that it is "well-established" that a Congressman is "generally bound to the operation of the criminal laws as are ordinary persons," and the Speech or Debate Clause does not "make Members of Congress super-citizens, immune from criminal responsibility.'"[24] Hogan, in his conclusion, wrote:

"The existing broad protections of the Speech or Debate Clause absolute immunity from prosecution or suit for legislative acts and freedom from being 'questioned' about those acts (including privilege from the testimonial act of producing documents in response to a subpoena) satisfy the fundamental purpose of the Clause to protect the independence of the legislature. The Court declines to extend those protections further, holding that the Speech or Debate Clause does not shield Members of Congress from the execution of valid search warrants. Congressman Jefferson's interpretation of the Speech or Debate privilege would have the effect of converting every congressional office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime. Such a result is not supported by the Constitution or judicial precedent and will not be adopted here. See Williamson v. United States, 28 S. Ct. at 167 ('[T]he laws of this country allow no place or employment as a sanctuary for crime.') (quotation omitted).[25]
However, later that same month, a three-judge appellate panel unanimously overruled Hogan's decision and affirmed that the Department of Justice could not review Rep. Jefferson's files until he had seen what files were taken and which of those pertained to his work as a legislator. The appellate court directed that Hogan, the judge who originally authorized the controversial search and seizure, should determine if Jefferson's claims of legislative privilege extend to specific seized files that the lawmaker may cite. Jefferson was not charged with any crime at the close of July of 2006.[26]


[edit] Stripped of committee membership
On May 24, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi publicly requested his immediate resignation from the House Ways and Means Committee; he declined to do so.[27] Although Mel Watt, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus declared the strong support of the caucus for Jefferson it has since been reported that two prominent members of the caucus, John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) have played a major role in the campaign to force Jefferson to step down.[28]

On 15 June 2006, House Democrats voted to strip Jefferson of his committee assignment while the federal bribery investigation continues. Members approved the move after Jefferson repeatedly refused to step aside. Despite claims of the Congressional Black Caucus that Jefferson was being treated unfairly, the vote passed 99-58. Some have reported that the vote was passed as a result of Democrats who are determined to make an election-year point about ethics. The full House, which is the only group with the power to actually remove Jefferson, then stripped him of his seat on the committee on June 16th in a voice vote without debate. Jefferson had offered to step aside temporarily if the Democratic caucus established a rule concerning cases like his and if his seat went to Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA). This offer was rejected by House Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi.[29]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Jefferson

It's not a matter of the FBI being criminal and Jefferson not being criminal -- it's a matter of BOTH acting criminally Mike.  You're seeing a false choice there.

Just because the police frame someone for murder doesn't mean that he's not guilty -- but it does mean the police are guilty.

It's the broader Constitutional question that becomes important when the Executive Branch can subvert the Congress.  When that happens we don't have representatives.  It's bigger than an acute case of corruption.

That's why Republicans and Democrats alike were up in arms Mike.
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It's not a matter of the FBI being criminal and Jefferson not being criminal -- it's a matter of BOTH acting criminally Mike.

Reb, I see nothing in the information you give which indicates the FBI acted criminally.

Just because the police frame someone for murder doesn't mean that he's not guilty -- but it does mean the police are guilty.

Nor do I see anything there which claims the FBI tried to frame Jefferson. I fail to understand this comparison.

t's the broader Constitutional question that becomes important when the Executive Branch can subvert the Congress.

What do you refer to as subversion?

That's why Republicans and Democrats alike were up in arms Mike.

I disagree. They were up in arms because a Congressional office was searched....and they are all Congressmen. They do not want this precedent set. It's a simple case of the club banding together. Representative James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee began to hold hearings, called "Reckless Justice: Did the Saturday Night Raid of Congress Trample the Constitution?" He didn't say the Saturday night raid of a member of congress accused of criminal activity. He said "The Saturday Night Raid of CONGRESS". The boys - the band of brothers. I remember years ago when there was a move to kill  pork in Congress, one Senator was getting a large amount of money appropriated to his state for something that didn't even exist any longer. It was too long for me to remember the details but I think it had something to do with honeybees and producing honey durirng World War II. At any rate, it was an obvious case of money going to a non-existant program and one that should clearly be eliminated. What did the Congressman do to justify it? This part I DO remember. He simply stood at the podium and said something like "The subject here is not my program. The subject is cutting congressional funds for a senator's state and if it happens to me today it can happen to you tomorrow".  What happened? They allowed the continued dispersal of funds for the non-existant program. The congressmen banded together here because it was an action against a congressman....pure and simple.

Many Republicans and Democrats contend that the unprecedented raid on a congressional office was unduly aggressive and may have breached the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government that are meant to shelter lawmakers from administrative intimidation.

Unprecedented being a key word here.  How does one define "unduly aggressive"? Should one become duly aggressive to make it ok? "May have breached"? Did it or not? How is a search "administrative intimidation"? This is all doublespeak here with little or no real meaning.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, his deputy, Paul McNulty, and possibly FBI Director Robert Mueller "were said to be ready to quit if the Justice Department was asked to return the Jefferson documents...[while the] House was threatening to go after the Justice Department's budget."

I don't blame them. I'd quit, too. This was an ongoing investigation with evidence already compiled. The FBI did a good job and their search was warranted. They found evidence proving their case. They should have been commended. It's one thing not to get a pat on the back for doing a good job. It's another to get kicked in the butt for doing a good job because high-powered feathers were ruffled. So then the House resorts to blackmail to get them to back off. "We control your budget, boys. Turn over the documents or say hello to minumum wage." Despicable....

Chief Judge Hogan, in a 28-page ruling, acknowledged that the "facts and questions of law presented here are indeed unprecedented," but wrote that it is "well-established" that a Congressman is "generally bound to the operation of the criminal laws as are ordinary persons," and the Speech or Debate Clause does not "make Members of Congress super-citizens, immune from criminal responsibility.'"

Right on, your honor.

An ABC News poll released 1 June 2006 found 86% of Americans supported the FBI's right to search congressional offices when they obtain a warrant

Yes.

.
 
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