William “The Freezer” Jefferson to Keep Committee Seat

William Jefferson will keep his seat on the Homeland Security committee despite the FBI finding his freezer full of bribe money, Jennifer Yachnin reports for Roll Call.

House Democratic leaders are not expected to pressure embattled Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) to forfeit his lone remaining committee assignment, even as two Republican lawmakers who similarly face intense FBI scrutiny have relinquished their posts in recent days.

Democratic sources indicated that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is unlikely to ask the Louisiana lawmaker, who is under federal investigation, to give up his seat on the Small Business Committee. “Congressman Jefferson was removed from the powerful Ways and Means Committee and that action speaks for itself,” said spokesman Nadeam Elshami.


The Louisiana lawmaker has not been indicted in the investigation, but the FBI has asserted it videotaped Jefferson allegedly accepting $100,000 in marked bills from an informant, and a related raid of his home reportedly found $90,000 in cash in his freezer. The FBI also raided Jefferson’s Congressional office in May 2006, an action that drew criticism of the agency from both Republican and Democratic leaders. In addition, a former Jefferson aide and a Kentucky businessman have both pleaded guilty in connection with the case, receiving lengthy prison terms.

In recent days Republican Reps. Rick Renzi (Ariz.) and John Doolittle (Calif.) both have forfeited their respective committee assignments, following an April 19 raid at an Arizona insurance office with ties to Renzi’s family and a separate April 13 raid on Doolittle’s Virginia home.

This is an interesting contrast, although not really “news.” No new evidence has become public since Pelosi assigned Jefferson to the committee, so a sudden change of mind would be rather odd.

via Republican congressional communications staff

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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. legion says:

    Seriously, why is this worthy of an article _now_? I mean, yeah, the guy’s a scumbag and _ought_ to resign for the dignity of the office, but until he’s at least indicted, it’s hard for Pelosi to pressure him to do much of anything. What new thing happened to trigger this? The fact that it’s pointed out by the “Republican congressional communications staff” means the GOP is going to use it to hammer at Pelosi, but why this issue at this time?

  2. Billy says:

    It’s called prestidigitation. Republicans can feel the sewage of their six years in power rising, and are desperate to change the subject, or at least to find someone else to drag down with them.

    Seriously, I didn’t think this site was a venue for Republican Party talking points. I lost a lot of respect with those two posts…

  3. carpeicthus says:

    It’s a ploy to make their charges of corruption make them look like the good guys. I know the CBC has reasons to be touchy, but damn them for supporting his position. I hope Jefferson gets tried soon.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Seriously, I didn’t think this site was a venue for Republican Party talking points. I lost a lot of respect with those two posts…

    Both stories were sourced to major, highly respected press outlets, Roll Call and WSJ.

    I’m merely being transparent that these stories are being circulated as email press releases via the GOP commo apparatus as an additional bit of insight to the reader. It’s noteworthy that they’re touting the stories. It doesn’t otherwise effect my analysis; indeed, I often lampoon stories that I get through this method. Generally, though, I trash them as uninteresting.