Jefferson: CBC decide on a minstrel show, it seems
by skeptic06, Thu Jun 07, 2007 at 08:02:45 AM EDT
To judge from the delay in the corporate response, perhaps the CBC needed some persuasion to get their folks in line.
But was there ever any doubt as to the result?
From the CBC site:
Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) released the following statement on the indictment of Congressman William Jefferson.
"The charges against Congressman William Jefferson are serious and warrant thorough deliberation. The law of the land entitles every citizen to presumed innocence until the court of law deems otherwise. We trust the merits of the case against Congressman Jefferson will be examined in a court of law and not the chambers of public opinion."
A Hillpiece expands points out that
Of the six Democratic lawmakers opposed to the Democratic resolution, two were CBC members:
Reps. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) and John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.).
Two out of forty-odd - that sounds pretty good. Only - Conyers is a rather senior dissenter. And Clay a voluble one:
The ethics committee has no credibility. We have had since 2005 to decide what to do, why now? It's shenanigans.
How many CBC-ers does he speak for, I wonder?
The reps investigating Jefferson [two out of four - see Raw Story piece below] will be drawn from an ethics pool. Some members of the pool have already given to Jefferson's legal fund.
An appearance of bias? No, no, no!
One of the contributors, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), said, "If I thought I could not be fair and impartial, I'd recuse myself."
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who also contributed money to Jefferson, would answer that question if she is selected from the ethics pool, said Nathan Britton, Lee's spokesman.
And - according to the piece, the GOP have prepared their ground:
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who donated money to former Majority Leader Tom DeLay's (R-Texas) legal defense fund, recused himself from an ethics committee investigation in 2005.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) also recused himself from the panel in 2005 because he contributed money to DeLay.
Of course, there's still time for sanity to prevail. For the thought of Jefferson being the gift that keeps on giving for the GOP during the 08 campaign to penetrate.
One difficulty may be that few CBC-ers are at any risk of losing in 08. Not from GOP opponents, certainly. And the threat posed by goo-goo Dem primary challengers? Well, Jefferson himself fought off Karen Carter, even with the Feds having found his stash of dead presidents.
The concern is not with the antics of the CBC, but the effect said antics will have on the authority of the Lioness and the momentum of the Dem legislative campaign in the House.
Already, according to Raw Story, Pelosi is playing defense on the ethics pool:
"The Speaker is confident that in making a selection, the Chair of the full Ethics Committee [Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones] will choose a member where there is no conflict of interest," said Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Rep. Pelosi, in a statement to RAW STORY.
And Tubbs-Jones is a member of - oh dear, oh dear!
Not that there aren't good bipartisan reasons to turn a Nelson's eye to ethics violations - it wasn't through absent-mindedness that the House Ethics Truce lasted ten years!. And some reps are talking about a return to ethics warfare (shades of the House banking scandal, etc, etc).
The same piece has Bennie Thompson saying that
he believed the House should operate under an innocent-until-proven-guilty policy when it considers stripping committee assignments and other punitive measures for colleagues under investigation.
Of course, the GOP are worse. Trouble is, they didn't make a hoo-ha about the culture of corruption and draining the swamp in the face of consistent polling suggesting that most voters are resigned to corruption in the Capitol.
Tags: Barbara Lee, Bennie Thompson, Carolyn Kilpatrick, CBC, Congressional Black Caucus, conyers, Gregory Meeks, House Ethics Committee, Jefferson Indictment, Lacy Clay, Pelosi, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, William Jefferson (all tags)