A U.S. Democratic congressman facing a bribery probe after police found $90,000 in his freezer denied wrongdoing on Monday and said he would not step down from his congressional seat.
Rep. William Jefferson (D.—La.) is the same Congressman who had a special detail of emergency workers take him to his home and wait while he spent an hour inside, immediately after Hurricane Katrina.
Two associates who say they participated in up to $400,000 in bribe exchanges have already pled guilty. Jefferson should step down and, if acquitted, run again. This is not the time and New Orleans isn’t the place for someone to slow political decision-making with a protracted criminal trial. Based on the $90,000 found in his freezer, Jefferson has little hope of returning to Congress in the fall. So, do the right thing, Rep. Jefferson, and resign.
It would also show that Democrats enforce the rules against corruption if Jefferson’s colleagues can convince him to go now.
BIZARRE UPDATE: Now, it turns out, the raid by the Department of Justice on Jefferson’s office was unprecedented, even according to Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert, who told the Washington Post: “Insofar as I am aware, since the founding of our Republic 219 years ago, the Justice Department has never found it necessary to do what it did Saturday night, crossing this Separation of Powers line, in order to successfully prosecute corruption by Members of Congress. Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there was any necessity to change the precedent established over those 219 years.”
If the Representative isn’t squeaky clean, and he gives every impression of him not being, it is still time for him to step down until his name is cleared. The Democrats must set a higher example.