The Jefferson FBI affidavit: some awkward questions

The affidavit is the closest we've come to to a statement of the FBI's case against Jefferson.

The fact that they decided to search his Rayburn Building office, despite having already amassed a wealth of incriminating evidence (including the notorious freezer cash), rather suggests a certain level of anxiety about securing a conviction.

The basic story put forward in the affidavit, indeed, leaves large questions unanswered.

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FBI Reassigns Hundreds of Agents to Combat Public Corruption

After several months of hearing DCCC and DSCC trained candidates talk about "the cost of the culture of corruption," some of us in the progressive blogosphere have no doubt grown tired of the repetition. I know I have. But leaving aside the fact that this talking point is not aimed at us but rather at the elusive "swing voter," every once in a while a piece of news emerges that actually merits a candidate pulling out the line. Today, such a story has emerged courtesy of The Hill's Alex Bolton.

Federal law-enforcement officials say they witnessed a dramatic jump in campaign-finance and other election-related crimes in the 2004 presidential election year and are determined to beef up their policing of candidates running for federal and local office around the country this year.

Illegal fundraising schemes appear to have grown in number and sophistication as candidates have needed to raise more and more money to be competitive. Several members of Congress have recently found themselves caught up in fundraising controversies.

In the past year and a half, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reassigned nearly 200 agents to the problem of public corruption, bringing to 600 the total number of agents working on public-integrity cases. [emphasis added]

Just how bad are things in the political world these days that the FBI needs to increase the number of agents investigating public corruption by about 50 percent? Tonight ABC's Brian Ross reports that even House Speaker Denny Hastert's name is being thrown around within the bureau in regards to the Jack Abramoff investigation, a story ABC is sticking with despite a denial from the Hastert folk.

And the public corruption problem that has festered under Republican Control of Washington is not limited to the likes of Abramoff and Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Eric M. Weiss reports Thursday in The Washington Post that 349 federal judges took as many as 1,158 trips paid for by organizations secretly funded by corporations such as Exxon Mobil, Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. Admitted the Executive Vice President of one of these organizations, Pete Geddes of the Montana-based Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE): "How does it look? It doesn't look good."

It is a sad day for America when corruption is so rampant that the FBI must reassign agents -- perhaps from activities as essential as homeland security and the war on drugs -- to investigate politicians' abuse of office. This is the cost of the culture of corruption. This is what Republican hegemony over Washington breeds. Americans don't want the FBI to resort to tactics normally reserved for gang lords and mafiosos when dealing with members of Congress, yet this is exactly what the Bureau has had to do during this 109th Congress -- a Republican Congress.

Frankly, at this point, I cannot see any possible way for the Republican leadership to win back the trust of the American voter before election day. Now this doesn't mean that voters are going to scamper to the polls in order to vote Democrat this year; likely, many will stay home supporting neither party rather than exert the effort to turn in a ballot. Nevertheless, it's hard for me to imagine the Republicans pulling anything off in the next five months to restore Americans' confidence in their ability to govern in an honest manner.

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Jefferson Raid: why the GOP reaction?

In the cause (an uphill battle!) of trying to get as wised up as possible about the doings of the denizens of the Capitol, I set to pondering why (a thing on the face of it paradoxical) the GOP, House and Senate, should have reacted to the FBI raid on the Jefferson office not with hoots of glee but diatribes against - the FBI!

Four reasons (eventually) come to mind:

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Jefferson: the affidavit URL and Kossack take

The affidavit requesting the search warrant on Jefferson's office in the Rayburn Building is here (PDF).

Got from a long but relatively civilized Kos thread: the consensus seems to be that Pelosi and the CBC should dissociate themselves and the party from Jefferson. (An incipient race war petered out.)

More common sense on a subject from Kossacks than the Dem House party? A worrying development...

(A little Kossack inspiration, thinking ahead to the trial: If the fridge don't fit, you must acquit...)

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Jefferson: GOP and Dems unite to blame real culprit

Whoda thunkit?

The ultra-partisan topic of criminal and ethical misdeeds of politicians should bring together a perfect bipartisan consensus as to the true villain of the piece: the FBI.

The Feds seem rather concerned to hurry along the Jefferson investigation - but the raid on his office in the Rayburn Building (Ah! Rayburn!) has brought squeals of indignation from both sides of the aisle.

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