The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, June 09, 2006

CBC still stands by Jefferson

Some troubling news from TPM Muckraker. There's plenty of Democratic pressure on Louisiana's William Jefferson to step down from the House Ways and Means committee after being caught with $90,000 in his freezer, a search of his Congressional office, and reports of a videotape in which he jokes about not being caught taking a bribe.

There's 'innocent until proven guilty,' then there's 'who are we trying to kid.' Many Democrats (and certainly the blogs) have been eager to see Jefferson at least resign his committe post, and even to resign from Congress. Unfortunately....

Yesterday afternoon, the Congressional Black Caucus voted -- for the second time in three weeks -- to oppose the "involuntary removal" of Jefferson from the Ways and Means Committee.

And later in the afternoon, the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee met with Jefferson. That committee has the power to forcibly remove him from his seat. Jefferson reiterated his refusal to step down. (. . .)

If the Steering Committee votes to oust Jefferson, "CBC sources have insisted the group will loudly close ranks behind Jefferson if Democrats try to take steps against him before an indictment."

Not a wise use of influence, that. While he hasn't been indicted yet, the case against him is embarrassingly concrete. There's virtually no chance that he'll remain in Congress, so why try to keep in power when he'll only serve as a poster boy for Republicans eager to escape corruption charges? Why further divide the party at a time when we're looking at our best chance to retake Congress in a decade?