Sunday, December 10, 2006

William Jefferson Wins Runoff Election

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Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Congress Must Act Swiftly To Remove Jefferson Once The 110th Congress Begins.

William "Cool Cash" Jefferson, Democrat from Louisiana, defeated challenger Karen Carter in a runoff to retain his Congressional seat. The Congressional Black Caucus, (a group that has lost its integrity) heavily supported William Jefferson in the runoff. Jefferson is under investigation by the FBI in connection with a major bribery scandal, in which Jefferson is on video taking a bribe. Most of the money was later found hidden in a freezer in Jeffersons home. A Grand Jury is also part of the Jefferson investigation. Most believe (including Jefferson himself) that he will be indicted soon.

I have stayed away from the William Jefferson issue over the past few months, hoping the he would go away. But now I have to weigh in. I happen to think Jefferson is a crook, and is probably guilty in this case, but a court will have to settle that. He has been heavily connected to lobbyists (like most of the members of the Black Caucus), which lends even more weight to the allegations.

A grand jury typically does not bring indictments on flimsy evidence. Usually the evidence is strong in these kinds of corruption cases. He should not have been allowed to hold his seat or run for re-election in light of the scandal, knowing that an indictment was likely; although he was technically allowed to do so. Usually members of Congress in such situations will resign, for the sake of their Party. But no, not Jefferson. Jefferson, like the rest of the CBC, is concerned with himself.

The Congress (under Republicans) was hounded earlier this year about the indictment of Republican Leader and gangster Tom "The Hammer" Delay. Democrats raised enough hell to get Republicans to ask Delay to step down. Now, faced with the same scenario for a member of their own Party, Democrats are not saying much of anything.

Considering that Pelosi and the Democrats went into the Mid-Term elections under the banner of cleaning up corruption and "Draining the Swamp", they have no choice but to take action in this situation. This situation makes the Democrats look terrible. It makes them look weak on corruption and makes it easy to paint them as hypocrits. Republicans will waste no time jumping on this situation for whatever political gain they can get....and rightfully so.

When the 110th Congress begins in January, Nancy Pelosi must immediately take the steps necessary to impeach Jefferson; with or without a Grand Jury indictment. Jefferson has not only damaged his own career, but has damaged the image of the CBC. He also has the potential to damage the Democratic Party. A corruption scandal at the start of the new Congress, for which the campaign theme was cleaning up corruption, is the last thing that Democrats need. This is why they must act quickly to deal with this situation.

Yes, the voters of Louisiana (New Orleans area) voted for Jefferson, but I cannot believe that they voted in favor of scandal. I suspect they voted for Jefferson because they did not have enough confidence in the challenger, at a time when Louisiana needs a veteran Congressmember in office who they believe will look out for their interests in the Post-Katrina period. While others have been ignoring them, Jefferson has been someone who has listened and has carried the torch, so to speak, for the people South Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Katrina, particularly people in poorer areas. They need someone who can put pressure on Congress and the White House to keep resources flowing to that region, to keep their promises (which they have already broken) and to not forget them. They felt that Carter was not the right person. However, the good of the nation and the good of the Democratic Party has to outweigh the immediate concerns of these particular voters. Democrats must make sure that they help the people of Louisiana find a worthy replacement for Jefferson. This search must begin right away.

Within the next few days, (if it hasn't already happened) the Democratic leadership in the Congress must talk to Jefferson and give him two choices. Either resign his seat before the 110th Congress begins, or face removal proceedings.


Our friend Skeptical Brotha has been covering this political race for weeks.

He never pulls any punches, whether it is with corrupt Confederate Republicans, or whether it has to do with Black Democrats. See Skeptical Brothas commentary on the Jefferson win.

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