The coming Storm - Rep. William Jefferson - VIII

While the nuking of Zarkawi has taken the news for a few days, we return now to the never tiring saga of Rep. "Dollar Bill" Jefferson.

"WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, on Friday protested the move by the House Democratic leadership to begin proceedings to force him off his seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

The Democratic Steering and Policy Committee approved a resolution Thursday night after a closed-door vote, urging Jefferson — who is under federal investigation for bribery — to temporarily step aside. The 50-member panel intended to immediately move the issue to a full Democratic Caucus vote but was halted by the Congressional Black Caucus.

Black Caucus Chairman Mel Watt raised a point of order that five business days must pass before the Democratic Caucus can take up the matter, putting the Jefferson issue before the full group Thursday.

As he has in a letter to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Jefferson said Friday that stripping him of his committee assignment will hurt the constituents in his hurricane-ravaged district.

“I think it’s unprecedented and discriminatory, and it’s a disrespect to the district I represent,” Jefferson said.

The leadership vote followed two weeks of jousting between Pelosi and Jefferson. Pelosi asked Jefferson on May 24 to step down from the committee in the name of “high ethical standard.”

Jefferson refused, noting that other Democratic members facing ethics issues have not been asked to give up their assignments."

Oh you didn't say "other democrats facing ethics issues" mean like these?

Anyway this comes on the heals of the release of yet more documents to the press reference to the scandal, showing Jefferson to be one greedy crook. As per Jeff Crouere of commenting on the newly released documents:

"Jefferson was working on behalf of iGate, Inc., a Kentucky technology company, to develop high speed Internet service in Nigeria. In return, the documents show that the Congressman was quite greedy, wanting not only shares of iGate, Inc. and cash payments, but also shares of a company owned by investor Lori Moody. The list of demands did not stop there. In addition, Jefferson wanted his daughter, attorney Jamila Jefferson, taken care of as well. Court records show that Congressman Jefferson insisted that Jamila’s law firm handle the incorporation of Mody’s Nigerian company and that Jamila’s law firm was paid “thousands of dollars for legal work.”

According to former Jefferson aide Brett Pfeffer, Jefferson was also acting on behalf of Enterprise Information Management, Inc. (EIM), an information technology company based out of Virginia. In a wiretapped conversation with investor and cooperating witness Lori Mody on March 31, 2005, Pfeffer alleged that Jefferson was in the Middle East helping EIM. Congressional records show that at the time, Jefferson was traveling in Egypt and Qatar. Pfeffer clearly outlined what Jefferson would need, stating, “He would want a piece of EIM if something happens. You know, he ain’t going over there to be nice to me and Bruce.” (Bruce Lyman is president of EIM).

What would Jefferson want? According to Pfeffer, “You´d probably have to put his brother-in-law on the payroll, or something. I don´t know. I mean, who knows. You know, Bruce says we´ll take care of him any way we have to take care of him.” What brother-in-law was Pfeffer referring to? Could that have been a reference to former Judge and now convict Alan Green, who is serving a jail sentence for mail fraud?

See Jefferson is just the epitome of a family man, taking care of his daughter, brother-in-law and of course his wife. The FBI states that Jefferson wanted shares of stock and cash payments funneled to companies controlled by his wife and five daughters. In total, the Justice Department alleges that Jefferson was paid over $400,000, millions of shares of iGate, Inc. and 1.5 million shares of Mody’s Nigerian company, W2IBBS Ltd, a 30% piece of the company in exchange for Jefferson’s services.

The extent of Jefferson’s greed is shocking, even for a Louisiana politician. While the Congressman was traveling throughout Africa and the Middle East and helping companies in Virginia and Kentucky, his district was languishing. While Jefferson was obsessed with Internet and high tech connections in Africa, thousands of constituents in his district had no such service and lived in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. If only Jefferson showed as much concern for his constituents as he showed toward foreigners and business owners in other states?

Of course, Jefferson’s interest carried a rather hefty price not only for himself, but for his entire family. If anyone thought that the federal government had a weak case against the Congressman before, these newly released documents should satisfy all skeptics and end all the debate."

Little wonder why Democrats who demonized President Bush and Republicans as "hating blacks" in Katrina's aftermath, want Jefferson to just go away. Here is a long time black congressman enriching and gorging himself on literally the blood of his constituency.

One thing is for sure, his kicking and screaming and refusal to go quietly is sure to keep this story front and center throughout the summer.