Wednesday, June 06, 2007

House Approves Speedy Jefferson Probe

From the AP via the Huffington Post courtesy of AlterNet:

Expelling a House member before a conviction would be unprecedented, according to the Congressional Research Service. But it was not clear that would happen in Jefferson's case, because the ethics committee could refuse to rule on whether the nine-term congressman should be thrown out of the House, according to a Democratic leadership aide.

Still, Republicans and a few Democrats said publicly or privately that Jefferson should step down.

Several House members said preparing a legal defense would take time Jefferson otherwise might spend representing his hurricane-ravaged New Orleans district.

"I would encourage Mr. Jefferson to take this under advisement and encourage him to step down," said Rep. Christopher Carney, R-Pa.

"My position is similar to the gentleman from Pennsylvania," said Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo. "I would suggest that (Jefferson) do justice to himself, prepare his defense, and that his district have someone else."

Click here for the rest.

In all the time that the Tom DeLay investigation was moving forward, in the numerous posts I made about it and how much I hate the now disgraced former GOP Congressional leader, I don't think I ever called for Congress to throw him out. Sure, I was all in favor of stripping him of his leadership position and committee assignments based on the indictment, and I was, and still am, all in favor of finding him guilty in court, but removing him from Congress before there's a verdict strikes me as a bad idea because, you know, it's always possible he could be found not guilty.

Fortunately, the Lizard King spared his party the awkward position he put them in.

Jefferson, whose defense attorney aggressively asserts is totally innocent, ought to do the same thing for his party. I mean, it's possible that the bags of money the FBI found in his freezer were somehow planted there--it certainly wouldn't be the first time the Bureau framed an African-American man. At the moment, however, the prima facie case against him appears to be airtight, and this kind of kickback corruption is not at all uncommon here in Louisiana. (Indeed, such petty corruption now threatens to drive the film industry, whose existence is what's allowing me to move to New Orleans this August, out of the state forever, so I take this shit very seriously.) And the Congressmen who point out that Jefferson won't be able to advocate for his Katrina-ravaged city while he's dealing with these charges are absolutely correct.

For the good of pretty much everybody, Jefferson needs to resign, guilty or not.