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Speaker Pelosi's America: Where Rep. William Jefferson Is Seated ... on the Homeland Security Committee
You just can't make this stuff up. How does she take a guy who is in the center of a major bribery scandal — i.e., who could not get a security clearance if he were trying to get a job in the executive branch — and put him on the committee that gets access to all kinds of sensitive intelligence because it is primarily responsible for oversight of the Department Homeland Security?
Here's Pete King's take, via Insight Magazine:
It sends a terrible message.... They couldn't trust him to write tax policy, so why should he be given access to our nation's top secrets or making policy for national defense? ... Members of the committee have access to intelligence secrets, plots here in the country, overseas, and people under suspicion. This shows how unimportant the Democrats think homeland security is.
ME: It's fair to start asking: What on earth is the Justice Department doing with this case? It presents an egregious enough set of facts that DOJ — with court permission — engaged (quite properly but controversially) in a search of a congressional office. Jefferson is not only purported to be on tape, nearly two years ago, taking a $100K bribe, and was not only found to be in possession, nearly two years ago, of $90K in bribe money (stashed in the freezer). The government represented to a court that he obstructed the separate search of his home — which, if true, is a separate felony offense all by itself. And two people, beginning over a year ago, have already pled guilty to paying Jefferson hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. (See here.)
Yes, Pelosi has a screw loose to put this character anywhere near homeland security — trustworthiness, not whether you've been indicted, is the standard for whether people should get access to classified information or be involved in judgments where lives are at stake. But, that said, why has Justice failed to move this case? Regrettably, after Sandy Berger, it's a question that has to be asked.