Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bribing A Congressman

...seems to be a favorite pasttime these days. UPDATED
A congressman under investigation for bribery was caught on videotape accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from an FBI informant whose conversations with the lawmaker also were recorded, according to a court document released Sunday. Agents later found the cash hidden in his freezer.

At one audiotaped meeting, Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., chuckles about writing in code to keep secret what the government contends was his corrupt role in getting his children a cut of a communications company's deal for work in Africa. As Jefferson and the informant passed notes about what percentage the lawmaker's family might receive, the congressman "began laughing and said, 'All these damn notes we're writing to each other as if we're talking, as if the FBI is watching,"' according to the affidavit.
There's a lot of information in the story, and most of it seems to be clear-cut, which really makes me wonder about this sentence:
Jefferson, who represents New Orleans, has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing.
Um, why not? They have affidavits, videotape, a witness, and audio, and they don't have enough to charge him with anything? They found $90,000 in his freezer in large bills, of the correct serial numbers, and they don't have enough? You've got to be kidding me.

UPDATE via Instapundit:
Some readers may recall that Jefferson also used the National Guard to secure his home in New Orleans during the Katrina aftermath. Another triumph for Louisiana politics! However, the bribery story puts a new spin on this bit from the story about Jefferson's urgent visit to his home amid the flood: "Finally, according to the source, Jefferson emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck." Hmm.