Whiny Politicians

I heard about this the other day on my drive into work about how quite a few politicians are upset that a crooked politician had his office searched.

An unusual FBI raid of a Democratic congressman’s office over the weekend prompted complaints yesterday from leaders in both parties, who said the tactic was unduly aggressive and may have breached the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government.

Boo-fricking-hoo. This has got to be one of the best displays of the imperial arrogance of our politicians. They aren’t like the rest of us…why they are better than us. And whose office were they raiding? Rep. William J. Jefferson (D, LA), who is caught on tape taking bribes, who had $10,000 $90,000 in cash hidden in his freezer, and is probably the new poster boy for corruption and malfeasance.

About 15 FBI agents, wearing suits, entered Jefferson’s office in the Rayburn House Office Building about 7:15 p.m. Saturday and left about 1 p.m. Sunday. Authorities said it was the first time the FBI had raided the office of a sitting congressman.

Of course, if it was one of us plebians the raid would have been with a complete SWAT team, whomever was in the house would have had an assault weapon shoved in their face, thrown on the floor (probably hit a few times for good measure), handcuffed and taken away…even the kids. Oh, and if you have a dog like I do, it would probably be shot. But poor little Rep. Jefferson had his office raided by men in suits who were in all likelihood polite yet firm in requesting that people not do anything that could possibly compromise evidence.

If you think I’m joking, think again.

An unidentified elderly Horn Lake couple were hospitalized today after police burst into their home thinking it housed a methamphetamine laboratory.

The incident occurred Wednesday about 4 a.m., said police Capt. Shannon Beshears.

Beshears said it was the right address but the wrong house.

Beshears said a heavily armed Tactical Apprehension Containment Team stormed the house.

“We had good information from a reliable source that had been backed up by a purchase of narcotics linked to the address. However, when we arrived at the designated address, there were two houses on the lot. We hit the larger of the two houses.

“It was the wrong house,” Beshears said. “The house was totally dark and the TACT members went through to the bedroom looking for the suspects.”

A man and a woman–both in their 80s –were injured as TACT team members secured the house although no drugs were found.


Beshears said the woman received a dislocated shoulder and the man received bruised ribs. Both were taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto, but both asked police not to identify them.

That is not atypical given the number of incidencts that Radley Balko has been collecting. In fact, that is how most warrants are no served. No more coming upto your front door knocking and serving the warrant, nope, now they bust down your door at 4 A.M. physical assault you, then serve the warrant. Who needs terrorists when we have paramilitary police squads?

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), in an e-mail to colleagues with the subject line “on the edge of a constitutional confrontation,” called the Saturday night raid “the most blatant violation of the Constitutional Separation of Powers in my lifetime.” He urged President Bush to discipline or fire “whoever exhibited this extraordinary violation.”

In other words, according to Newt Gingrich, Representatives and Senators should have a free pass when it comes to comitting crimes in terms of what evidence they may hide in their offices. So, if you are a politician and you are corrupt (but I repeat myself) then hide your dirty laundry in your government offices so that you can keep the evidence from the authorities. Say…didn’t they lock up Martha Stewart for interfering with an investigation? But here is Gingrich saying that Representatives and Senators can do just exactly that and not fear any legal fall out.

This kind of arrogance on the part of our politicians is simply contemptible, and given that they show no signs of even comprehending the problem, I think it makes the politicians contemptible as well.

Update: I noted in James’ post below on this, that the amount found in the freezer was $90,000 not $10,000 as I had written earlier. I’ve changed the post to correct the error.



FILED UNDER: Congress, US Constitution, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Just recently, here in Fairfax County, VA, a police SWAT member shot an unarmed man being served an arrest warrant for being a bookie. Guess what, the County prosecutor said it wasn’t the police’s fault. It’s SOP to use SWAT backup for serving warrants.

  2. DC Loser says:

    To add to my previous comment. I meant to say the police KILLED the man in question.

  3. Steve Verdon says:

    DC Loser,

    That would be Sal Culosi, a doctor and a man with no criminal background. IIRC, he was shot by a SWAT/TAC Team sent to arrest him. Nice, eh. Oh, yeah the officer who shot him is not going to face any kind of serious fall out.

  4. DC Loser says:

    I’m just waiting for the family to sue the s*it out of the county for wrongful death. As a taxpayer I’m mad at that prospect, but I blame the police for having pulled the trigger.

  5. Steven Plunk says:

    I sound like broken record here but it all goes back to aggressive training. Go in like a paramilitary unit and you can expect bad things to happen.

    Back to the congresswimps. These guys not only expect special treatment when it comes to criminal investigations but remember many of the laws they pass don’t apply to them. They explicitly exempt congress from the laws they lay on us. They just don’t respect us.

  6. I suspect we will see a poll out of this and the furor will die down quickly as the politicians notice that they aren’t leading a parade.

    Now if you want to spend a little happy speculation time, imagine the dems reading the polls, seeing support from the liberals (because they just see it as another club to beat Bush with) and sticking with the ‘special privilege’ mantra. Tie McKinney, Kennedy and a general ‘we shouldn’t have to live in the same world as the voters’ attitude and I suspect we will see another record set in the number of republicans in Congress. Of course right now, Gingrich is showing that if you put anyone in DC long enough, they will develop a tin ear to privilege.

  7. John says:

    If you think your politicians get a pass for corruption, you should check out Canadian political crooks.

    If they denounce George Bush, they stand an excellent chance of reelection no matter how much they stole.

    If ever they are put on trial, we are not allowed to view the proceedings.

    Although, I believe our police squads are a bit more polite than what you have described. And druggies, for the most part get a pass in Canada anyway.

  8. anjin-san says:

    If they are corrupt, cuff em and lock their asses up. I don’t give a rat’s ass what party they belong to. We need to send some of these arrogant twerps into retirement if they think they are above the law.

    Of course since the head of our govenrment thinks he is above the law its no suprise there are some copycats out there…

  9. Whenever I hear or read about some corrupt CongressCritter invoking “Separation of Powers” in a case where the Executive Branch is investigation the CongressCritter, it gets me to wondering again:

    Doesn’t it also violate “Separation of Powers” for CongressCritters to hold show hearings and demand that Executive Branch personnel testify in investigative hearings?

    Why is it that the media tend to report on this “Separation of Powers” issue when the CongressCritter under investigation is a Democrat, but seem to remain silent when it is a Republican?

  10. Herb says:

    I am thinking of a 8 letter word that starts with B and ends with DS.

    Anyone care to take a guess.

  11. Bradley says:

    Has anyone else taken a moment to appreciate the marble-like layers of irony involved in the naming of the TACT team?

  12. Steve Verdon says:

    Oh yes, ironic indeed.

  13. Roger says: