June 5, 2007


Democrats Fear a Wider Black Caucus-Pelosi Rift (Jonathan Weisman, 6/05/07, Washington Post)

Through it all, much of the Congressional Black Caucus has stood by Jefferson and against the Democratic leadership. And yesterday, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), a veteran caucus member, said it would be "as supportive of our colleague as possible, in terms of saying a person in America is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty."

Pelosi would not say what actions she would take, but she called the charges "extremely serious" and, if true, "an egregious and unacceptable abuse of public trust and power."

"Democrats are committed to upholding a high ethical standard and eliminating corruption and unethical behavior from the Congress," she said.

The Democratic steering committee, which sets committee assignments, will convene this week to consider whether to remove Jefferson from his last committee post: a seat on the Small Business Committee, a relative backwater of power. Senior House Democratic leadership aides said he almost certainly would be dropped. Some leadership aides suggested emissaries could be dispatched within days to ask for Jefferson's resignation from the House.

"I can't imagine that based on what's happened and what we've done [on ethics rules changes and lobbying legislation] that at the very least, he'll be asked to step down from committee," said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), who stressed that he was not speaking for the leadership. "We've set down a pretty clear marker about what's going to be expected."

Last year, Republicans faced a predicament as two indicted members, Reps. Tom DeLay (Texas) and Robert W. Ney (Ohio), held on for months against calls for their resignation. Now the tables have turned, with House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) moving as soon as today to seek an ethics committee review of Jefferson's indictment, with instructions to report back within 30 days on whether he should be expelled. The resolution would also force a vote to strip Jefferson of his last committee seat.

Democratic leaders scrambled last night to stay ahead of Boehner, seeking assurances from the ethics panel that an investigation of Jefferson that was authorized last year is well underway. Some Democrats made it clear they did not intend to let Republicans drive the process.

So, do they sell out the brother or sell their souls?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 5, 2007 11:32 AM

He'll be acquitted and re-elected so what's furor about.

Posted by: erp at June 5, 2007 1:42 PM

He'll be acquitted and re-elected so what's furor about.

He'll be convicted, pay a fine, and/or spend some months in jail, and will be re-elected, like Alcee Hastings who was convicted of taking bribes as a judge, impeached, and returned to Congress.

Let's face it, Congress is a cesspool. It's worse than the Mafia who at least has a twisted code of honor. Congress has none.

Posted by: ic at June 5, 2007 2:00 PM

Hastings's conviction was pre-oj. No way Jeff will be convicted in DC or NO.

Posted by: erpHs at June 5, 2007 5:30 PM

erp, The Northern Virginia district is handling Cold Cash's case. They're known for quick guilty judgements.

BTW, yesterday morning I saw USA Today's headline about DOJ providing New Orleans police with prosecutorial assistance. Little did we know that the first criminal caught was Cold Cash.

Posted by: Brad S at June 5, 2007 9:13 PM

The CBC will back Jefferson to the hilt, unless Pelosi cans Alan Mollohan (who was not removed from any committee assignments). If the CBC really wants to start a prairie fire, they should attack Murtha for corruption. He would probably pull a Byrd and start tossing slurs around, and what would Nancy do then.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 6, 2007 12:16 AM

The talk of racial "free passes" and racist disregard of jurors' oaths is most troublng.

If you are a black first and an honest citizen second, you are a very bad man.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 6, 2007 5:48 AM

They have souls?

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 6, 2007 7:27 AM

Thanks Brad, one less thing to worry about.

Posted by: erp at June 6, 2007 6:35 PM