Jefferson Off Ways and Means Committee?

It looks like the Democrats are ready to toss William Jefferson off the Ways and Means Committee:

The Ways and Means Committee seat of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) officially remained in limbo Wednesday night, but after the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee met early Wednesday evening, it seemed more likely that Jefferson’s colleagues would move to expel him from the exclusive panel — a move that could set up a clash between Democratic leaders and Jefferson’s allies in the Congressional Black Caucus.

This is one of those rare occasions when the right thing and political expediency intersect and I applaud the Democratic leadership for doing this.

via Paul Kiel via Josh Marshall

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. madmatt says:

    So when are rethugs going to start holding their members to ethical standards!!! Seeing as they run all 3 branches of govt and have appointed most of the judges and prosecutors, it must be hard to claim liberal bias…so why no ethics?

  2. James Joyner says:

    matt: Duke Cunningham is in jail. Tom DeLay was forced to step aside from the Leadership and ultimately resigned outright. Jerry Lewis is under investigation (see next post).

    I agree–and have written–that the GOP should have been quicker to distance themselves from DeLay. Otherwise, though, I’m not sure there’s a case to be made here.

  3. I think the question for the CBC was why Morrison and Jeffords are being treated differently. You could make a case that the facts are different (the Jeffords case seems to have more conclusive evidence, but both men are presumed innocent at this time). Then you have the Reid free thousands in boxing tickets. What do you do with him?

    The problem is that taking away privileges (like a seat on a powerful committee) before conviction raises the question as to what level of accusation is needed before you do this.

    To me the answer is simple. Let a party leader (Minority leader, whip, etc) or a significant number of fellow congressmen (5% – 10% ought to be about right) raise the question. Then have a secret ballot. Essentially, you are having the congressmen acting as jurors based on the limited evidence. Let there be a closed door session where the accused guy can defend themselves. That’s how you should differentiate in these hard cases.

    Then you have the republican system where chairs and party leaders lose their position on an indictment (even one as lame as Earle’s). This keeps the high profile positions automatically out with a bright line and allows for the lesser positions to be weighed by their piers as to what is the right/politically expedient thing.