Equal Oppertunity Corruption
May 21, 2006 8:16 PM   Subscribe

Corruption Filter: Rep. William Jefferson (D. Louisiana) has been caught on tape accepting more than $100,000 in cash bribes. This is the same Rep. Jefferson who commandeered Katrina relief resources to secure his personal home and retrieve a laptop, three briefcases and a large box.

Jefferson was already under federal investigation pre-Katrina and his house had been raided once for evidence. Jefferson's offices were raided again yesterday where the FBI found another 90k in cash in the freezer. Does anyone else think they know what was so important he had to use a National Guard helicopter to secure it?
posted by T.D. Strange (51 comments total)
Just to be clear: the bribes were intended for another official (Nigeria's VP), although he had accepted many in the past and not all of the 100k was found (thus the 90k).

That said... shame, shame! Makes you wonder just how many reps are like this. Or you could just know: just about all of them.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:24 PM on May 21, 2006

I wonder if Stephen Colbert will change his question in his "Better Know A District" segments now.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:27 PM on May 21, 2006

A Louisiana politician, accepting bribes?

Damn. Who'd've thunk it?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:27 PM on May 21, 2006

BlackLeotard- thanks for the clarification. Original post could have been more specific.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:31 PM on May 21, 2006

He should be executed for this. Corruption is the worst of all white-collar crimes, and is it an offense to every citizen of his district and the country itself.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:31 PM on May 21, 2006

OC- Im not sure we'd have a government if we executed everyone who accepted bribes.

Though I sometimes fail to see how that could be a bad thing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:35 PM on May 21, 2006

I am waiting to see how Kos and HuffingtonPost respond to this. If they want to remain ideologically clean in my book they will nail him to the wall for this, but sadly I'm not holding my breath.
posted by sourbrew at 8:40 PM on May 21, 2006

Wow, a corrupt politician that isn't a Republican. Bizarre.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:41 PM on May 21, 2006

Even Democrats are Republicans these days.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 8:44 PM on May 21, 2006

Yup. The count of indicted 2000-era politicians is something like GOP 15, Democrats 1. So now the two parties are completely equivalent, and all corruption is bipartisan.
posted by mdeatherage at 9:01 PM on May 21, 2006

Afroblanco and mdeatherage, you two need to come to Philadelphia. All Democratic, all corrupt.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:22 PM on May 21, 2006

I have to wonder if the freezer that contained the cash was plugged in.

Because, really, what's the point of refrigerating the cash, other than tipping your hat to a cliche?
posted by bugmuncher at 9:22 PM on May 21, 2006

Slithy_Tove - I'm *from* Philly. You think the name Rizzo means nothing to me?

Still, the recent trend has been Republicans. Maybe this is the exception that proves the rule.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:23 PM on May 21, 2006

You mean like these postings on dailykos? I'm sure there won't be any.

I won't expect as much and there will certainly be handwringing that this ruins the "repubs are corrupt" line but they will talk about it...
posted by R343L at 9:27 PM on May 21, 2006

< disheartened>

no < /disheartened> in sight...
posted by Parannoyed at 9:34 PM on May 21, 2006

From the Washington Post writeup:
"All these damn notes we're writing to each other as if we're talking as if the FBI is watching," he told Mody, who was wearing an FBI wire.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:36 PM on May 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

I hope he gets a long stint in the big house. I really hate dirty politicians.
posted by caddis at 9:38 PM on May 21, 2006

...the FBI found another 90k in cash in the freezer.

You have got to be fucking kidding me. Dude, at least exert a modicum of effort and bury the loot next to your family pet's plot. "Rosco, bad dog!"

Look, nail corrupt whatever-silly little-names-they-go-by -- Demoncrat, Rebuttlickin, Liberscarian, Preausescu, Fuckface, Chad -- douchebags to the wall.
posted by cog_nate at 9:41 PM on May 21, 2006

Does anyone else think they know what was so important he had to use a National Guard helicopter to secure it?

I bet it was his money.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:44 PM on May 21, 2006

After entering the house, "Jefferson emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator" full of money!
posted by puke & cry at 9:47 PM on May 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

The AP story from the first ABC News link is an interesting read. I can picture the ridiculousness of the congressman and the informant passing notes across a table in a restaurant, haggling over the congressman's cut of the deal and the two of them laughing about it. But the $100,000 in cash in a leather briefcase? It just seems to amateurish, so Hollywood.
posted by Alexandros at 9:50 PM on May 21, 2006

I liked this bit from the article:

The plan was for the lawmaker to use the cash to bribe a high-ranking Nigerian official the name is blacked out in the court document to ensure the success of a business deal in that country, the affidavit said.
It makes it sound like Jefferson fell for the old exiled Nigerian president 419 scam. Which he didn't, but if he did, that'd be hillarious.
posted by blindcarboncopy at 9:53 PM on May 21, 2006

It seems like most news outlets make sure to mention that the money was kept in a refrigerator. Jefferson likes his bribes ice cold.
posted by TetrisKid at 10:03 PM on May 21, 2006


TalkingPointsMemo has been all over this story. And nobody on Kos is apologizing for this guy.
posted by effugas at 10:09 PM on May 21, 2006

Its election year strategy people. Corruption gets votes!
posted by skallas at 10:14 PM on May 21, 2006

Nail 'em.
posted by rougy at 10:19 PM on May 21, 2006

Remember when the Jefferson helicopter scandal broke, and Republicans were rushing to condemn him/predicting that the Dems wouldn't call him on it because he's black? HE'S BLACK! YOU HEAR ME? HE'S BLACK! THAT MEANS HE CAN GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING! BLACK PEOPLE HAVE IT SO EASY! Meanwhile, the people of New Orleans were drowning and dying of heat exhaustion. Way to have priorities. Made me sick.

That said, nail the motherfucker to the wall.
posted by brundlefly at 10:53 PM on May 21, 2006

"Because, really, what's the point of refrigerating the cash, other than tipping your hat to a cliche?"

Talk about cold hard cash... I guess he just didn't want anyone else freezing his assets...

looks like he'll be joining his money...on ice...

I've got a million of em, I tells ya.
posted by stenseng at 10:58 PM on May 21, 2006

Man, I spent three hours defrosting my "frost-free" refrigerator today and all I found was some nasty brown shit. I don't even want to know what that was (I'm going to pretend it was chocolate ice cream).

Anyway, I didn't find $90K. I could really use $90K. I'm going to go clean my toilet.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:17 PM on May 21, 2006

Why would you think Democrats would stick up for a corrupt politician? So far as I can tell, most of these bloggers, and the constituencies they represent, would rather throw in the towel on a candidate than flirt with hypocrisy. So yeah, bad boy, how dare you, yada yada. *Yawn* Haven't you seen All the King's Men?

If the last fifteen years are any indication, the Republicans could care less about consistency. Nor do they go in for this stone-age bribery when there's much more lucrative and subtle influence-peddling to be done; it's all been finessed with bullshit ethics rules and euphemisms that wouldn't fool a child: "campaign contributions," "soft money," even the famous Supreme's lullaby "money is speech." I wish they'd just call them "bribes" and "big bribes." Since when does a greenback say anything but "I'm in charge"? It makes me throwup in my mouth, a little.

With Jefferson, politicians of both parties will have their fun decrying his mendacity. I suppose Republicans are going to be feeling better now that they've got some co-indicteees. But they'll really be thinking: "Cash in the fridge? How gauche."
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:22 PM on May 21, 2006

I love how large sums of money are always presented in briefcases. This guy used a leather one, though. I thought it was a rule that money had to be presented in those metal ones (love that company's name, BTW).

You know how it goes: you're both sitting at a desk, you make a proposition, the person you're talking to doesn't agree right away, you place the large metal briefcase on the table, click open the clasps, lift the cover and go "perhaps this will make our proposition a little more to your liking"
posted by redteam at 11:46 PM on May 21, 2006

This is so funny. All it does is prove what rank amateurs Democrats are. The Republicans are so much more professional ...at bribes and other illegal schemes.
posted by Goofyy at 11:53 PM on May 21, 2006

I am waiting to see how Kos and HuffingtonPost respond to this. If they want to remain ideologically clean in my book they will nail him to the wall for this, but sadly I'm not holding my breath.

You're also not bothering to check.

But there's a big difference between one dude getting busted and a network of highly-connected top-ranking people getting busted (like Tom DeLay, Abramhoff, etc)
posted by delmoi at 11:56 PM on May 21, 2006

Culture of Corruption, indeed.

Wow, a corrupt politician that isn't a Republican. Bizarre.

LOL, come visit Chicago some time.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:56 PM on May 21, 2006

LOL, come visit Chicago some time.

LOL, come visit everywhere sometime!
posted by Hat Maui at 12:24 AM on May 22, 2006

Yeah, the corrupt ones in the papers right now in North Carolina are mostly Dems, too. But really, this idiot doesn't even *begin* to compare to the astonishingly well-organized and far-reaching Delay/Abramoff/Reed scam, which involved so many more people and so much more money in high-level Republican circles. Sure, it's pathetic, but not even close to that grand scale.
posted by mediareport at 1:05 AM on May 22, 2006

Hats off to him for nixing the stereotype of all Louisiana pols as incorruptable straight shooters.
posted by rhymer at 1:59 AM on May 22, 2006

Does anyone else think they know what was so important he had to use a National Guard helicopter to secure it?

They finally found a corrupt Democrat. They've gotta make it as theatrical as possible.
posted by Happy Monkey at 4:10 AM on May 22, 2006

Good fucking riddance.
Feed his corrupt ass to the bayou.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:31 AM on May 22, 2006

What an idiot. Put him in the cell with Cunningham and throw away the key.
posted by EarBucket at 4:39 AM on May 22, 2006

Spin : your corruption is more corruption then ours, except when you corrupt us. Yet if we both are corrupted, it is no longer corruption , it's a widespread popular habit ! Who gets the shaft ? You know !
posted by elpapacito at 5:37 AM on May 22, 2006

HL Menken on political corruption...

"What is needed, is a system (a) that does not depend for its execution upon the good-will of fellow jobholders, and (b) that provides swift, certain and unpedantic punishments, each fitted neatly to its crime."

Mencken's proposed remedy

provides that any [citizen]...having looked into the acts of a jobholder and found him delinquent, may punish him instantly and on the spot, and in any manner that seems appropriate and convenient – and that, in case this punishment involves physical damage to the jobholder, the ensuing inquiry by the grand jury or coroner shall confine itself strictly to the question whether the jobholder deserved what he got. In other words, I propose that it shall no longer be malum in se for a citizen to pummel, cowhide, kick, gouge, cut, wound, bruise, maim, burn, club, bastinado, flay, or even lynch a jobholder, and that it shall be malum prohibitum only to the extent that the punishment exceeds the jobholder's desserts. The amount of this excess, if any, may be determined very conveniently by a petit jury, as other questions of guilt are now determined.... If it decides that the jobholder deserves the punishment inflicted upon him, the citizen who inflicted it is acquitted with honor. If, on the contrary, it decides that the punishment was excessive, then the citizen is adjudged guilty of assault, mayhem, murder, or whatever it is, in a degree apportioned to the difference between what the jobholder deserved and what he got, and punishment for that excess follows in the usual course....

The advantages of this plan, I believe, are too patent to need argument. At one stroke it removes all the legal impediments which now make the punishment of a recreant jobholder so hopeless a process.... Say a citizen today becomes convinced that a certain judge is a jack-ass – that his legal learning is defective, his sense of justice atrophied, and his conduct of cases before him tyrannical and against decency. As things stand, it is impossible to do anything about it.... Nor is anything to be gained by denouncing him publicly and urging all good citizens to vote against him when he comes up for re-election, for his term may run for ten or fifteen years, and even if it expires tomorrow and he is defeated the chances are good that his successor will be quite as bad, and maybe even worse.

But now imagine any citizen free to approach him in open court and pull his nose. Or even, in aggravated cases, to cut off his ears, throw him out of the window, or knock him in the head with an ax. How vastly more attentive he would be to his duties! How diligently he would apply himself to the study of the law! How careful he would be about the rights of litigants before him!

I like this approach.
posted by sfts2 at 6:24 AM on May 22, 2006

I have no idea what party lines have to do with it when it has to do with politicians in Louisiana. The graft is so widespread that it's expected, but historically I think it's how things have been done. I don't forsee anyone creating a miniature empire like Huey Long, but you never know.
posted by mikeh at 7:34 AM on May 22, 2006

He lives in New Orleans... things operate differently down there. Seriously. You can get anything you want with some cash/goods/services.

Even as a lowly college student working in a bike shop on Tulane Avenue I knew this. Get pulled over or otherwise stopped by the po-lice? All you have to do is notice that the Iridium is wearing off of their Oakley sunglasses (they used to love those sunglasses) then mention that you work in a bikeshop and if they come in you can get those sunglasses "warrnteed". They would let you go with a warning and them come in on Monday with a budd or two and you would hook them up. Seriously this sort of thing happens all the time, at every level. I'm not saying it is right or good, just that there really is an open and accepted "culture of corruption" in NO. New Orleans is one part Paris and two parts Port Au Prince, Haiti.
posted by hatchetjack at 10:05 AM on May 22, 2006

He is my Congressman and I am a Democrat and I say nail him to the wall!
posted by govtdrone at 11:48 AM on May 22, 2006

Oh, this should be fun. He is going to make a statement this afternoon at 3:30 CST. I can't wait--maybe he will resign.
posted by govtdrone at 12:45 PM on May 22, 2006

There is something of a silver lining here. That is if the dems get airtime calling for his resignation and such. All they have to do is to attack him even more than the repubs and ignore their attacks at the party.

Now this is truely naive, but just maybe the repubs would start to go after their own a bit more in order not to be shown up by the dems. And someow this evolves into a culture of responsibility and honesty at the highest levels of government.
posted by batou_ at 3:25 PM on May 22, 2006

Unleash the Jack Bauer.
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:45 PM on May 22, 2006

Some in the GOP in a tizzy about warrant served on Jefferson's Congressional office

Hey look, assholes, this is what it feels like to be a regular citizen. Sucks, doesn't it? I thought you all wanted increased law enforcement powers, no? Fuck them.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:55 AM on May 24, 2006

Aha! Now we know why Hastert was so upset about searches of Congressional offices: ABC reports House Speaker Dennis Hastert under investigation for accepting contributions from Abramoff client. Hastert and Justice Department deny the story. Hmmm.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 1:23 AM on May 25, 2006

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