House Democrats voted 99-58 to strip William Jefferson of his committee seat. Josh Marshall points out Pelosi has done this once before, when Ethics Committee co-chair Allan Mollohan attracted negative publicity for connections between earmarks and real estate investments.
For the sake of precedent I would have preferred that Pelosi wait for the indictment rather than just remove Reps who attract politically-inconvenient publicity. If indictment is too low a bar there has to be some sort of automatic trigger that the party can set so that these decisions don’t get made on a case-by-case basis. Say, a reprimand by the Ethics Committee automatically bumps you down the committee-chair pecking order or something along those lines.
But any way you cut it Nancy Pelosi’s itchy trigger finger looks like a vast improvement over the Republican standard of rallying behind any Rep, no matter how dirty, until he or she is literally indicted out of Congress:
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay urged colleagues Wednesday to “stand on principle” and ignore the media in a farewell speech to fellow House Republicans at their weekly private meeting.
DeLay, facing trial in Texas on campaign money laundering charges, is leaving Congress Friday. He plans one more speech before ending a 21-year career in the House.
Several rounds of applause and cheers could be heard from behind the closed doors. When they were opened to let a congresswoman in, members could be seen on their feet, cheering and applauding.
The modern GOP in a nutshell. Speaking as somebody who has put in more volunteer hours for Republican candidates than many rightwingers, stories like this make it easy for me on election day.
Following the Democrats’ lead, the full House strips Rep. Jefferson of his committee seat.
Tom DeLay stepped down willingly as House Majority Leader.
William Jefferson had to be forced out.
Quite a difference, Tim F?
Of course, there is a tape of Tom DeLay accepting a bribe and the money was found in Tom Delay’s freezer. Right Tim?
Paul L., Tim is quite capable of making his own points. He doesn’t need to have you repeat them for him.
I understand the value of setting a precedent and sticking to it, but as Pelosi said, “I told all my colleagues — anybody with $90,000 in the freezer, you have a problem at that point.” This situation has uniquely compelling facts that demand action.
Paul L., as usual, is just being stupid. Gee, like none of us will remember the spectacle of the Republican caucus casting a secret ballot to let DeLay keep his leadership position if he got indicted – and then afterwards, all of them piously claiming that gosh, of course they voted no on the secret ballot, but the darn thing passed anyway.
Nope, DeLay is a hero for stepping down eight months after being indicted, while Jefferson’s situation is far worse, somehow, because he was forced out by his party before even being indicted. Awesome logic!
Tom DeLay steeped down because most of his top aides are cooperating with the police. And unlike Jefferson, Tom DeLay has already been indicted. And unlike Jefferson, Tom DeLay’s party gave him a thunderous standing ovation as a going-away gift.
Really, Paul. Even you are better than that.
This does make me curious. Since you’re semi-anonymous, no doubt there’s a lot you won’t want to say, but your politics seem very unique. I think you’ve also mentioned volunteering for a Green candidate once. Are we talking about a constant set of beliefs that switched allegiances as the makeup and practices of the various parties changed — “I didn’t leave the party, the party left me,” that sort of thing? Or have your beliefs about policy and stuff changed over time? Or is it just a very mixed, nontraditional set of beliefs that isn’t very well represented by either major party? Or has your work been based on the individual candidate rather than positions?
So the cases against Delay and Jefferson are the same? Delay’s is local and Jefferson’s is federal.
What is the evidence that Tom Delay is gulity?
Ronnie Earle Missing Evidence
Can you answer this?
Give it up Paul. They are both scum and crooks. Neither one willingly gave up anything. The difference is not between Jefferson and DeLay, it’s between the parties.
One party repeatedly made efforts to retain a corrupt crook who was leading their culture of corruption and one party saw fit to toss a corrupt individual acting on his own.
On second thought, go ahead and keep trying to make your point. It isn’t helping who you think it is.
On that note, I will admit that if it weren’t an election year where anti-corruption and ethics reform weren’t going to be major planks in the Dem platform, I’m not so sure Pelosi’s finger would be quite so itchy.
I think it would be benificial to come up with some “automatic triggers” as you mentioned, if for no other reason than to shut up Jefferson and the fools in the CBC.
Yes, Diebold is sneaky, indeed! :)
Let’s see how you like it. Racist.
BTW, nice of you to present evidence of Tom Delay’s guilt.
Tom Delay didn’t step down as majority leader willingly.
The House ethics rules required that he step down once invited. And though he and his supportors (read most of the GOP Reps) tried to modify those rules to allow him to stay on but wisely rethought that when the public in general said “What the Fuck?”.
“So the cases against Delay and Jefferson are the same? Delay’s is local and Jefferson’s is federal.
What is the evidence that Tom Delay is gulity?”
In theory, either one could be acquitted, or have charges dropped, and return to the House. In theory.
Let’s recap although it feels like piling on at this point.
In 1993, the Republicans passed a caucus rule that said you have to resign your leadership position if you get indicted. Now, maybe this was principled, or maybe it was a political ploy to expose the corruption of Democrats like Dan Rostenkowski, but either way the public was unhappy with Democratic corruption, and the Republicans took over the House.
In 2004, with Tom DeLay facing a likely indictment, the Republicans met in secret and said, you know, maybe that rule about resigning if you get indicted isn’t such a good idea after all. We’ve gotten all the political mileage we can out of leaving the rule in place and pretending that it makes us more ethical than the Dems, but now that there’s a chance the rule might actually get enforced, we need to get rid of it before our hero Tom has to step down.
And now the sycophants like Paul L. are chiming in to say it means nothing to get indicted, all that should matter is proof of guilt! As if the Republicans didn’t have a rule for over a decade that said getting indicted matters a lot.
By the way, a clue for folks who seem to know nothing about the law – the idea that the DeLay indictment is legally defective was a great talking point back about six months ago, but since the case is still going forward, you might want to give that one up. If there was a legal defect in what remains of the indictment it would have been dismissed by the judge long ago.
Ah, shut the fuck up. For all you know I’m black.
I’m not racist, you dick. And nothing I said upthread is either.
The CBC is not foolish because they are black, they are foolish because they are going to the mat for a guy who is obviously crooked, just because HE is black. It would be one thing if they wanted to offer some support for Jefferson as colleagues and caucusmates, but they are giving others in their party all kinds of grief and insinuating that the reason any of this happened is simply because Jefferson is black. That’s bullshit. As I said above, Jefferson is more a victim of circumstance that the PArty plans to run against corruption than the fact that he’s not white.
That and the fact that he’s a greedy crook, got caught on tape, and was dumb enough to stash marked cash in his freezer.
Fuck you, Paul.
Oh, and fuck you for that too. I didn’t actually present any evidence against Jefferson either. I’m not a prosecutor. and the trials haven’t happened yet, so I am not aware of any “evidence”. Even the dirt on Jefferson hasn’t been “presented” anywhere.
I merely pointed out that both guys are in hot water, and in my opinion, should be banished. You are the one trying to defend one of them.
Clearly I have a pretty low threshold for corruption (zero) and have high standards for public servants. Clearly the Republicans have neither. the Democrats are trying to convince people they have some.
Given that, anyone who thinks like me can draw a distinction and the choice is fairly clear.
Democrats? Condemn the actions of the dirty palyer and work to remove him from influence in anticipation of indictment.
Republicans? Claim everything is a partisan witchhunt, deny, deny, deny. Pledge undying support for the accused. Retaliate against member of thier own party on the Ethcics Committee who rebuke DeLay. Change the rules in his favor to protect him. Months after the indictment, when DeLay decides to step aside so he can use his campaign war chest for his defense, they throw a goddamn party for him on the House floor.
It’s not about who’s guily and evidence. Once a guy is convicted, it’s easy to decide what to do. It’s what happens beforehand.
Yikes! Apologies for the typos above. There’s a sentence-worth of dropped letters up there. That’s what happens typing in haste and anger.
That apology does not apply to you, Paul. Again, fuck you.
Clarification: Jefferson ha been stripped of his position on Ways and Means.
Paul L., I have 8,375,365,051,008.48 reasons you’re a tool.
Instead of supplying a specious strawmen in place of the CBCs arguement, you should probably address their arguement.
Since neither Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-LA) or Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) has been indicted, Jeffersons seat on the House Ways and Means Committee should be treated by the Democratic Caucus in the same manner as Mollohans seat on the House Appropriations Committee. Their arguement is that the black guy IS being treated by a different standard than the white guy. There is strong evidence against Jefferson. There is strong evidence against Mollohan. Neither has been indicted. The only legal difference imo between the two is in the court of public opinion, which has been driven by the intensity and lack of intensity of reporting. I’ll leave it to someone with access to Lexis-Nexus to give us a breakdown on number of stories over periods of time.
On motivation, the CBC is quite angry with Pelosi over what they consider mistreatment in the pulling the majority of the CBCs co-sponsership of the renewal of the enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act. That has pissed off the CBC at Pelosi and imho they will take any opportunity from this point forward to knock her.
On the merits of the small amount of facts I have on Jefferson & Mollohan, my opinion is both should have relinquished their seats on these powerful committees some time ago. Mollohan did leave the Ethics committee, which is largely a do-nothing assignment at this time.
From what I’ve heard, the allegations against Mollohan sound pretty bad, but you really can’t beat the visceral impact of $90,000 in a freezer. Mollohan’s crap, if it’s true he should be out of a job, but I can only dream of the day when all the other Congressmen who do the exact same thing are nailed as well. Whereas Jefferson’s out-and-out bribetaking, even in the corrupt world of Washington I like to think it doesn’t happen every day.
It’s just really, really hard for me to see how race affected this decision. If anything, I’d imagine Pelosi was more reluctant to take action against Jefferson because she knew this kind of pushback would result. But come on, the guy had $90,000 in his freezer!
If the feds released videotape of Mollohan acting as guilty as Jefferson then Pelosi would have acted just as aggressively. There is simply no denying the political impact of the right sound bite.
and 58 people voted to keep him in.
Mollohan gave up his committee seat. What’s your point?
People know the Jefferson story, not because “a black Congressman is a crook” or anything else, it’s because he was caught on tape, had the money in his freezer, and guys who bribed him have already confessed. It’s a clear and easy story to get your head around—straight-up bribery—and it’s why Pelosi needed to act more definitively, and why Jefferson should have acquiesced. I don’t even remember what Mollohan did off the top of my head, because it more esoteric, inside baseball campaign finance type stuff…
So? I have $90k in my freezer. It’s the only place my wife won’t look for it.
That doesn’t make me a criminal.
Where do you keep the bon-bons, Al?
Maybe not, but it almost certainly makes you a suspect.
I believe Mollohan gave up his Ethics Committee chairmanship, but not his membership on the Appropriations Committee.
If I kept the cash in a shoebox under the bed, would that be better?
I’m just asking.
At least I don’t like some guys, and keep my wife in the freezer, and the cash in the car, or something like that.
Seriously, between cash in the freezer and wife in the freezer, I think I’m doing the right thing here.
Help me understand this.
You know I jokingly emailed a conservative friend and said “I guess you think this will just prove the Democrats are the real racists” and then I checked the discussion here:
I do believe he was serious. That’s either really funny or really scarey. Wow.
I’m pretty sure the law is clear about this. Wife in the freezer, cash in a coffee can buried under the dog house.
Tim’s update link has a lot of good into in it. Check it out. It reveals why there was dissenting votes on the Dem caucus meeting, and what the conditions were in Jefferson’s offer to Pelosi. It also clarifies the position of the CBC, which I have been harsh on. They have a point.
Suffice to say, no one really looks good on this. But Jefferson still looks the worst (excepting Republicans of course)
The Other Steve
The Democrats should have fought this!
They should have called the charges ridiculous! Politically motivated! They should have accused the Prosecutors and Investigators of being political shills!
Then they should have met secretely and voted to revoke the law that prevented an indicted member from being in a leadership position. You know, just in case the investigation resulted in an indictment.
Wait a minute, that would have made them just like the Republicans.
Let me get this straight: he got caught for trying to help a Nigerian man with a shady business deal? This is one step removed from the e-mail scam. Suddenly, keeping the money in his freezer looks like a stroke of genius for this guy.
The blatant nature of Jefferson’s crimes — the oft-repeated $90,000 in the freezer — is no doubt part of why Pelosi is harder on him than on Mollohan. But I think another reason is the fact that Jefferson’s crimes are higher-profile. Maybe I’m just advertising my ignorance, but I don’t think I had heard of Mollohan before reading this thread. Jefferson was the example some right-wingers seized on to treat Congressional corruption as a bipartisan problem. It’s too early to say for sure, but that was probably a big mistake. “Okay, they are equivalent — oh, look, ours doesn’t have his committee any more. Are you giving yours a standing ovation?”
I agree with Mr. Furious that this is partially if not entirely an election-year stunt. Let me get right out there and say… I don’t really care, as long as Pelosi actually does what she’s talking about. If a politician takes a hardnosed anti-corruption stance because he or she is personally a saint or if a politician takes a hardnosed anti-corruption stance because he or she has decided it’s good for the image, the result is the same.
Exactly. Reform is good, and cleaning house and getting rid of crooks is good. It would be nice if the gesture was genuine and natural, but I won’t quibble. With all that in mind, Democrats shouldn’t pat themselves too hard on the back, and unlike the post-1994 Republicans, they should remember these stances once (if) they actually take control…
DeLay aside, let’s keep in mind that the GOP hasn’t yet done anything to Robert Ney comparable to what the Dems did to Jefferson — and the evidence of Ney’s guilt is as overwhelming at this point as Jefferson’s.
Come on guys, you can’t convince me that Nancy Pelosi and her crew are as pure as the driven snow. All Congressmen are crooks at heart, Republicans or Democrats. Give it a rest, folks.
Come on guys, you can’t convince me that Nancy Pelosi and her crew are as pure as the driven snow.
Who ever said they were? All politicians act in what they perceive to be their best political interest. But given the choice between politicians who throw out their obviously corrupt brethren and politicians who defend, bend laws, and “creatively reinterpret” ethics standards to protect them, you’d have to be a masochist to choose the latter.
Nyrev, name one Republican in the House as clearly guilty as Jefferson who hasn’t been stripped of his position.
And if you say Tom DeLay, I’ll reach through the broadband and punch you. Ronnie Earle could indict you or me as easily as he did DeLay.
Yeah yeah, you, me, a ham sandwich, and anything else that’s been breaking campaign finance laws.
Name one country north of the U.S. – and if you say Canada I will dive through your monitor and kick you in the nuts!
Do you mean directly north or just a higher latitude, Tim? ;)
I think that you get my point. Look up Bob Ney and Jerry Lewis, and try not to live in such a state of denial about your pal DeLay.
Did anyone find 90 Gs in the freezer in the office of any of those guys, Tim? I guarantee that if and when someone does (and I’m not ruling it out with Lewis and Ney, who are out and out crooks in my opinion, but haven’t been proven to be so yet), Hassert will force them out the same way Pelosi did with Jefferson.
Your faith in Hastert is touching. You don’t suppose that he will do exactly the same thing that he did with DeLay. Why not?
And you know well enough that there are more ways to be obviously guilty than to have cash in the freezer. Please argue better.
Tim F says:
And you know well enough that there are more ways to be obviously guilty than to have cash in the freezer.
Yes, stained blue dresses, for example.
But seriously, what proof do you have that DeLay is guilty? Earle has a long history of indicting for political reasons and then losing his case with a jury.
And then, almost 18 hours later, we have:
Did MikeLucca somehow get the idea that we think Pelosi is as pure as the driven snow? And two hours after that comment:
There were two comments between his and mine. One of them was basically agreeing with mine, and here’s the other:
Blithering idiot or troll? I report, you decide.
Mike here has made a dozen assertions that, though I don’t have the links on the tip of my tongue, I’m certain I’ve seen refuted elsewhere. Earle is a partisan hack? DeLay is an innocent man? Not to mention some equally baseless assertions in the thread after the later comment. I could look for those links, but before I go through the effort of exhaustively debunking all the nonsense this Mike person believes, I’ll want to see some evidence he even reads comments he disagrees with in the first place.
Cyrus, my point is this: you simply cannot convince me that Ney or DeLay is as obviously, or as spectacularly, guilty as Jefferson is. If they’re convicted, or if new damning evidence comes to light, then I fully expect they will be stripped of their committee assignments (except that DeLay has already resigned, of course).
I was being hyperbolic when I spoke of commenters claiming that Pelosi was as pure as the driven snow. I realize you guys are a little more cynical than that. What’s the word you like to use, reality-based? You’re reality-based enough to admit it was an election year stunt but not enough to admit that Hastert would do the same in the same situation.
Delay was indicted for a law that didn’t exist when he did what he did. The definition of money laundering is using legal means to hide the origin of money gained illegally. What Tom did was not money laundering. Rather, he used money that was legally donated in a way that was legal, and other money that was legally donated in a way that was also legal. Aha! the horrible conspiracy to obey the law!
Jefferson was found with 90,000 dollars in marked bills in his refridgerator.
It is silly to suggest the two are comparable. You know better John.