Not All Congress Critters Have Issues With Jefferson Search

The following story was actually entitled something else earlier in the day, but now it is about “Hastert lashes out at the Justice Dept.” Either way:

The confrontational approach by Hastert and the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, did not sit well with some colleagues.

“Criticizing the executive and judicial branches of our government for fully investigating a member of Congress suspected of criminal wrongdoing sends the wrong message and reflects poorly upon all of Congress,” Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo., said in a statement. “They should not expect their congressional offices to be treated as a safe haven.” (emphasis mine)

A GOP colleague, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, said the public “will come to one conclusion: that congressional leaders are trying to protect their own from valid investigations.”

While some lawmakers contended the executive branch overstepped its authority, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada has declined to condemn the search.

“I’m not going to beat up on the FBI,” said Reid, a frequent critic of the White House’s use of executive power.

Their voices were in the minority on Capitol Hill in the wake of the 15-hour search during which agents collected evidence against Jefferson, an eight-term Democrat.

I do believe Rep. Cubin has it right. Congress critters are not above the law, and to portray themselves as such is a political death sentence.

I’m impressed that Reid kept his mouth shut. Perhaps he does have some redeeming qualities.

The House Judiciary Committee chairman, GOP Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, announced a hearing next week, “Reckless Justice: Did the Saturday Night Raid of Congress Trample the Constitution?”

But Vitter released a letter to his own GOP Senate leaders asking them to stop saying that the FBI raid violated the Constitution.

“For congressional leaders to make these self-serving arguments in the midst of serious scandals in Congress only further erodes the faith and confidence of the American people,” Vitter wrote.

You tell ’em, Vitter!


Well, this is disappointing:

WASHINGTON – President Bush stepped into a confrontation between the Justice Department and Congress on Thursday, ordering that documents seized in an FBI raid on a lawmaker’s office be sealed for 45 days.

In an effort to defuse an intensifying, election-year dispute between the Republican-led Congress and his administration, Bush, facing growing complaints from lawmakers in both parties that he has abused presidential powers, called for a cooling-off period.

“Our government has not faced such a dilemma in more than two centuries,” he said in a statement. “Yet after days of discussions, it is clear these differences will require more time to be worked out.”

Bush granted one of Hastert’s demands, directing the FBI to surrender documents and computerized records taken last weekend from the office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La. He ordered Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has a separate office in the Justice Department, to take custody of them.

There is a time to play peacemaker, but this isn’t it. All this does is let the situation cool down a bit, and allow Jefferson to try to counteract whatever evidence that the FBI siezed, which they will not have access to for a minimum of 45 days, if ever.

President Bush should have just let justice take its course.

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2 Responses to “Not All Congress Critters Have Issues With Jefferson Search”

  1. You know, I’m glad you’ve been blogging about this. Frankly, the more I consider this whole thing, the more I am swayed toward your point of view on the topic. I must say though – I wonder why so many of the RepubliCONS (not Republicans, mind you – two different critters…) are so worried about Congressional offices being investigated by the FEDS. The more I think about this, the more I think it’s time to start seeing many more search warrants being issued on Capitol Hill. I’m not about to leave the DemoCRAPS out of it either; it’s time to take our country back from these crooked bastards (can I say “bastards” on this blog?)…

    Blog onnnnnnnnn, Sir, and again; thanks for your coverage of this incident. Appreche…

  2. William Teach says:

    Probably more of the GOP critters are involved and have something to hide at the moment. If the Democrats win back either the House or Senate, or both, then you can bet that their would be more worrying about this. Nature of the game.

    This was an extraordinary circumstance, but I like it because it serves notice that they are not immune.

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