Black Caucus Opposes Jefferson Treatment

Despite numerous possible meanings to the headline above, AP reports the Congressional Black Causus opposes the treatment that Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) is receiving

A drive by the Democratic leadership to strip embattled Rep. William Jefferson of his committee post triggered a backlash Thursday as the Congressional Black Caucus opposed the move and said the Louisiana lawmaker deserves a “presumption of innocence.”

The caucus chairman, Rep. Melvin Watt of North Carolina, told reporters that some black voters might ask why action was sought against “a black member of Congress” when there was neither precedent nor rule for it.

Jefferson has not been indicted and has denied all wrongdoing in connection with a federal bribery investigation that has netted two convictions. He has rebuffed repeated calls from Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and others to step aside until any involvement is clarified.

Um, there wasn’t precedent to censure McCarthy and Barney Frank, nor to impeach Nixon.

I think the honorable thing for Rep Jefferson to do given the reports we’ve seen is to ask for a leave of absence from his committee responsibilities until this is over. But that opens another slippery slope as in Tom DeLay, where a partisan local prosecutor went into the attack mode. Then again, guilty until proven innocent, oops, innocent until proven guilty.

Unfortunately, Congress has turned into a bunch of 7th graders bickering on the playground. And our court system has turned into a multiyear fiasco of delays and disclosure, so that the concept of a “fair and speedy trial” does not exist (except in the military under the UCMJ) for those having the means to pay a lawyer. You can be caught red-handed and still wait 5 years. Or you can be accused on trumpted-up charges and wait 5 years. In the meantime, limbo.

Hopefully this case will make both parties reassess their standards. It isn’t clear cut.

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Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. Donkey Cons says:

    Democratic leaders have decided to force Rep. William Jefferson off the Ways and Means Committee. The Congressional Black Caucus is accusing Pelosi & Co. of a racially-motivated double standard because Al Mollohan is still on the Appropriations committee. Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) warns that this is “about to blow up in their face”!

  2. floyd says:

    the congressional black caucus is a racist organization without credibility