Rep. William Jefferson, as Ricky Ricardo would say, “has some ‘splainin’ ta do”… mostly to members of Congress whose nerves he’s rattled like maracas on a trampoline.
First the Louisiana Democrat was videotaped accepting a $100,000Ã‚Â bribe from an FBI informant,Ã‚Â his home was raided,Ã‚Â $90,000 was found inÃ‚Â his freezer, then his congressional office was raided. Until we reached the latter, everything was business-as-usual with how Congress viewed all this.
For the first time in history, a lawmaker’s office was raided. Yes, the first time in history. This has to be causing some members of Congress to have a serious case of the runs. Think of all the scumbags, crooks, liars and cheats that have been in Congress throughout the course of history, and none of them have had their offices subjected to a raid? As a result of this unprecedented enforcement of the law on the heretoforeÃ‚Â untouchable and pristine self-perceivedÃ‚Â Monarchs, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are circling the wagons – or at least crashing them into police cruisers while trying to circle them.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman, RepublicanÃ‚Â James Sensenbrenner, is conducting a probe into whether or not the raid on Jefferson’s office was justified.
This alone is a telling example of how separated Congress is from the laws that the rest of us must live under. A congressman’s office is way off limits to search and seizure, but what if you were taped accepting a bribe and cops found $90,000 in your freezer? Not only would your office would be raided whileÃ‚Â investigators ate the fish sticks they found next to the money,Ã‚Â butÃ‚Â they’d raid theÃ‚Â office next to yours, your boat, your car, your body cavities, and thenÃ‚Â you’dÃ‚Â be thrownÃ‚Â in jail to await your trial ten months from now.
Congress is on thin ice with this one, and is bound to lay a good smackdown on Jefferson if it is found that the raid on his office was completely legal and justified. In the world you and I live in, this would be a no-brainer, but in Congressional la-la-land, this is an unprecedented invasion of privacy. The odds that a Congressional investigationÃ‚Â finds that the raid and seizure of material from Jefferson’s office was justified are about the same as Anna Nicole Smith’s baby growing up well adjusted.
Complicating mattersÃ‚Â were top officials at Justice and the FBI whoÃ‚Â threatened to resign if President Bush ordered them to return material taken from Jefferson’s office during the raid. Bush never gave such an order, and now the congressional squirming continues.
Congress is ticked at Jefferson, not becauseÃ‚Â he took a bribe, but because he may have helped set a precedent that could endanger the glass house in which all members of Congress live, and Bush isn’t doing anything about it. There are those who want to impeach Bush for all sorts of things related to the war, wiretapping, etc., but when he refuses to protect the augustÃ‚Â body that is the U.S. Congress, he may have signed his own impeachment warrant.
James Sensenbrenner is the proper “go to” guy as far as Congress is concerned when it comes to an investigation of the investigators, since he has a proven track record of trying toÃ‚Â see toÃ‚Â the survival of Congress. Remember the Sensenbrenner-sponsored “Continuity in Representation Act“? This ensures that, in the event of almost any disaster, Congress will be one of the two things that will certainly survive – then they’ll debate exactly how to go about taxing cockroaches.Ã‚Â
The Act, known as the “Sensenbrenner Bill”,Ã‚Â ensures the survival of Congress even in the event ofÃ‚Â terror attacks, nuclear attacks andÃ‚Â natural disasters – everything except police raids on their offices. If the latterÃ‚Â is allowed to continue, before you know it, Congress could be almost like ::gulp::Ã‚Â regular people.
If William Jefferson is let to slide by Congress, it will be a visible symptom of “there but for the grace of God” syndrome.
Watch this debate carefully. TheÃ‚Â members of CongressÃ‚Â sweating the most over the raiding ofÃ‚Â Jefferson’s office are probably the ones who have recently “defrosted” their own freezers.
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