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A Whole New Meaning for Cold, Hard Cash?


This is a great example of why prosecutors and investigators always have plenty to do.  Because people, even elected official-type people, do stupid crap and then get caught.

Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) had his house in DC raided by investigators, who allegedly found $90,000 in cash in his freezer.  And the bills in Rep. Jefferson’s freezer allegedly had the same serial numbers as those bills that he was given in a sting operation — allegedly caught on videotape — wherein Rep. Jefferson takes money from someone purporting to offer the cash in exchange for the Congressman using his influence to help a specified company, according to CNN

And all this comes from the 95-page affadavit filed in the case last week along with paperwork requesting a warrant to search the Congressman’s office.  (95 pages — my lord, that’s one solid piece of investigation and supporting information.  Although, as always, the Congressman is innocent until proven guilty but…ooooooh-weeee, 95 pages!)  According to CNN, the warrant affadavit connects Rep. Jefferson to at least seven other instances where he "sought things of value in return for his performance of official acts."  Allegedly.

…which makes me wonder if that was connected in any way as to why this same Rep. Jefferson commandeered some National Guard vehicles in the wake of hurricane Katrina — during a time when people were still being rescued from their homes and rooftops around the city of New Orleans.  Maybe he had to check his freezer at his New Orleans home that day, too?

Democrats who do (alleged) stupid crap like this deserve the same level of scorn that Republicans get.  So here it is:  if these allegations are true, William Jefferson should step down, it is beyond pathetic.  And it’s no wonder Nancy Pelosi gave the House Ethics Committee her blessing to look into this mess, along with Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) — and the mess that is turning out to be connected to Duke Cunningham and the "Fornigate" scandal.  (Too bad they decided it was too late to look into Tom DeLay — but who knows what the connected Bob Ney/Abramoff look see will yield?  And it’s not like the Feds are done with him or anything…as far as we know.  How about it, Alice?)

Government office should not be a means to line your own pockets and those of your cronies.  Sure, it’s understandable that you’d want to help out a friend or a supporter — but, come on — cash in your freezer?!?  Okay sure, it’s not as flashy as hookers in a limo, hired by a defense contractor, who loses at a high stakes poker game in the exact amount of money that you need to pay off a credit card debt or anything…but it’s still pretty damn stupid. 

And this, my friends, is why prosecutors always have work.

UPDATEThe NYTimes has more on the story.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com