The Editorials of E. Desiderius

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Twisted Logic: The Jefferson Probe

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Of all the things that the bi-partisan Congress has gotten riled about in the past six years, the Jefferson investigation and subsequent raid on his congressional office should not be one of them. To review, Mr. Jefferson was video taped by federal agents taking one hundred thousand dollars in a sting, most of which was later found in his freezer. The agents had warrants to search his office (signed off by an impartial judge), and did so at night to avoid disruption of business at the Capital office buildings.

To imply that the Bush administration is harassing Jefferson and the Legislative branch violating separation of powers and that Congressman have complete immunity from the normal tactics criminal investigations, in the manner of something akin to diplomatic immunity is ludicrous, especially given Congress’ current propensity to allow the Bush administration to get away with just about anything in the name of national security.

Mr. Jefferson himself is tarnishing his party, his state and his own reputation with his defiant stance on his position on Ways and Means and by keeping his seat and letting the investigation play out. His own little ethics problems will kick genuine Republican scandals like Abramoff and Delay even further out of the news cycles and will diminish the clout and ability of the Democratic party to position themselves as agents for genuine change, come November.

It would have been a genuine display of heartening bi-partisan unity if Speaker Hastert and Ms. Pelosi had gotten indignant about faulty pre-war intelligence, a crocked energy committee, or the several illegal wiretapping programs underway on just about every single American. However, they are crying foul during what appears to be a reasonable search conducted within the bounds and the spirit of the law. And while Hastert, Frist and Pelosi’s sudden concern for the Constitution is truly touching, to apply the speech and debate clause here (which says that members of Congress cannot be arrested in the course of going about political debate, to prevent the executive from harassment of legislators) is a real stretch, given that Mr. Bush and the Administration was only marginally involved in the investigation through the Justice Department and that the probe was conducted as a genuine investigation into the crimes of a crooked lawmaker.

-E. Desiderius

MSNBC – A Defiant Stance in the Jefferson Probe
Reuters – Attorney General Prepared to Quit Over Jefferson Probe; NYT
USA Today – Jefferson Case May Hurt His Party
NY Times- FBI Raid Divides GOP Lawmakers and White House
NY Times Editorial – One Man’s Constitutional Crisis….
Wikipedia – Speech and Debate Clause

Posted by George Gordon | Saturday, May 27, 2006 | E-mail this post

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