Skip to comments.Congress Isn't Above the Law. And bribery isn't "speech or debate."
Posted on 05/27/2006 9:10:24 PM PDT by FairOpinion
How strong is the case against Louisiana's Rep. William Jefferson?
According to numerous press accounts, after videotaping Mr. Jefferson receiving a $100,000 bribe from an FBI informant, the government executed a search warrant of his home and found $90,000 of that money hidden in his freezer. In another case, a Kentucky businessman pleaded guilty to paying Mr. Jefferson $400,000 in bribes for official favors.
Based upon such compelling evidence and Mr. Jefferson's refusal to comply with a subpoena to surrender key documents for eight months, a federal judge issued the search warrant that was executed in the congressman's Capitol Hill office last weekend. The FBI took exceptional measures to ensure that no privileged documents would be surrendered to investigators, with any close calls being made by a federal judge.
The "Speech or Debate" clause is contained in Article I, Section 6, which provides that members of Congress "shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses... etc."
But as the Supreme Court observed in the 1972 case of U.S. v. Brewster, the clause was never intended to immunize corrupt legislators who violate felony bribery statutes--laws that have expressly applied to members of Congress for more than 150 years. In Brewster, the court noted the clause was not written "to make Members of Congress super-citizens, immune from criminal responsibility," adding: "Taking a bribe is, obviously, no part of the legislative process or function; it is not a legislative act. It is not, by any conceivable interpretation, an act performed as a part of or even incidental to the role of a legislator."
Such behavior is therefore not protected by the Constitution.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...
Speaker Hastert call your office!!!
If they didn't learn that from Dan Rostenkowski, then they are stupid and/or corrupt, in either case of which they need votin' out of office.
I think the ones protesting so loudly fear that they may be next.
First I have heard of this.
One would think. Unlike DeLay, who was stripped of his Majority Leader status, and forced into retirement, over some phoney baloney allegations from a DEMOCRAT lawyer.
Yeah it is unheard of for the legislative and executive branches to get into turf wars. Hell they must be hiding something.
"....they are telling the American people, that Congress is above the law...."
you can also bet that HUNDREDS of them are cleaning incriminating documents from their offices
Funny thing that.
Nearly every article I've read fails to mention that particularly salient little fact. The good Congresscritter defied a subpeona for 8 months.
If you or I tried that we'd be sitting in some Judges jail till we decided to comply with the Courts order.
You apparently have more faith in politicians than I do.
You can almost take that to the bank. They screw us and profit by it.
No I have faith in my ability to keep from throwing tantrums when a politician doesn't meet all of my expectations. You are yours should learn that lesson. It makes for a much happier existence.
What you said. I think a lot of our Congresscritters have a tear running down their leg right about now. The FBI guys are closing in.
"One would think that Congress would be glad that a corrupt member has been caught red handed and is unmasked"
Why? Legislative bodies everywhere historically are notorious for corrupt behavior, and I see no reason why the 2006 congress should be any exception. If anything, this action probably makes a lot of congressmen a little more nervous.
Yep, makes me wonder what these congresscritters are hiding in their offices.
My commie congresscriiter was poor as a mutt with only biscuit to his name when he started feeding at the federal pig trough. Now he's a multi-zillionaire.
I'm for hanging most congresscritters just because.
Commentators have fail to point out that a judge signed the warrant. It's two branches of government acting against a member of the third.
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