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