Re­fresher course on Democrats’ cold cash scan­dal

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

Re­mem­ber William “Cold Cash” Jef­fer­son? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Clean-Up Crew hope you’ve for­got­ten. Mr. Jef­fer­son is the for­mer Louisiana con­gress­man caught with gobs of money in his freezer nearly four years ago in an FBI sting. He fi­nally went on trial last week on a mul­ti­tude of fed­eral bribery and rack­e­teer­ing charges.

Re­fresher: FBI agents con­fronted Mr. Jef­fer­son with video show­ing him ac­cept­ing $100,000 in marked bills from a gov­ern­ment in­for­mant. Pros­e­cu­tors say he took the money to bribe a Nige­rian of­fi­cial in a busi­ness deal. “We got to mo­ti­vate him real good,” Mr. Jef­fer­son told the in­for­mant, ac­cord­ing to a Jus­tice Depart­ment tran­script. “He’s got a lot of peo­ple to pay off.”

Pros­e­cu­tors also al­lege that Mr. Jef­fer­son de­manded or ac­cepted many other pay­ments to his fam­ily-owned firms in ex­change for his aid in winning reg­u­la­tory ap­proval for projects in sev­eral West African coun­tries. All but $10,000 of the marked cash was found foil­wrapped in the freezer of Mr. Jef­fer­son’s Capi­tol Hill res­i­dence. On tape, Mr. Jef­fer­son “ques­tioned how his rep­u­ta­tion could sur­vive” and won­dered aloud to the feds whether the search war­rant af­fi­davit could be per­ma­nently sealed to keep the in­for­ma­tion from be­ing made pub­lic.

Mr. Jef­fer­son’s de­fense team is mak­ing an au­da­cious claim that his ac­tions were all “pri­vate” and had noth­ing to do with his of­fi­cial ca­pac­i­ties as a law­maker. Mr. Jef­fer­son prom­ises to de­liver an “honor­able ex­pla­na­tion” for deep-freez­ing the money (arts and crafts project? sci­ence ex­per­i­ment?). No word on whether he’ll ex­plain why he plot­ted to leave the tax-pay­ing pub­lic in the dark.

Also no word on how his fam­ily mem­bers could have pos­si­bly cashed in on his name, in­flu­ence and pres­tige if Mr. Jef­fer­son were just an­other ci­ti­zen act­ing “pri­vately.” The New Orleans Times-Picayune’s Stephanie Grace re­ported last week that “the tight-knit clan with the dam­aged name in­cludes sev­eral sib­lings who also ben­e­fited from Mr. Jef­fer­son’s power and promi­nence — and who stand ac­cused in a newly re­vamped fed­eral in­dict­ment of form­ing a crim­i­nal en­ter­prise to steer an ap­palling amount of fed­eral, state and city money into their own pock­ets.

“Last year, Jef­fer­son’s po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tive brother Mose and his as­ses­sor sis­ter Betty, along with Betty’s daugh­ter, were charged with sys­tem­at­i­cally bilk­ing gov­ern­ment-funded so­cial ser­vice pro­grams. An­other sis­ter is co­op­er­at­ing with the feds.”

So, where is the con­gres­sional clean-up crew? proud that some of the best minds in our Cau­cus will be lead­ing the Demo­cratic ef­fort to clean up the cor­rupt Repub­li­can Congress. Th­ese great leaders will work to re­store truth and trust to the Peo­ple’s House.”

The Jef­fer­son case has all the Belt­way busi­ness-as-usual in­gre­di­ents that Pelosi vowed to elim­i­nate when she took power: nepo­tism, abuse of power, cor­po­rate crony­ism and gross vi­ola- Rep. Char­lie Ran­gel, un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for nu­mer­ous eth­i­cal im­pro­pri­eties in his per­sonal fi­nances and fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties; con­gres­sional sis­ters Loretta and Linda Sanchez, un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the House ethics com­mit­tee for a pay­roll mess; and crony of color Rep. Max­ine Wa­ters, who had a per­sonal and fi­nan­cial stake in Bos­ton-based OneUnited, a mi­nor­ity bank that re­ceived $12 mil­lion in fed­eral TARP bailout money.

Putting the Demo­cratic cul­ture of cor­rup­tion front and cen­ter is not a headache Mrs. Pelosi needs — es­pe­cially as a new Ras­mussen poll shows her party now los­ing to Repub­li­cans on the core is­sue of gov­ern­men­tal in­tegrity. The Ras­mussen Re­port re­veals:

“Repub­li­cans also now hold a six-point lead on the is­sue of gov­ern­ment ethics and cor­rup­tion, the sec­ond most im­por­tant is­sue to all vot­ers and the top is­sue among un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers. That shows a large shift from May, when Democrats held an 11-point lead on the is­sue.”

It’s a sharp and timely re­minder that while death, taxes and “tem­po­rary” bailouts are for­ever, po­lit­i­cal for­tunes in Wash­ing­ton are never im­mutable.

Michelle Malkin is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.