Rep. William Jefferson’s D-LA office was raided by FBI agents in relation to a bribery scandal sting where he was videotaped receiving over $100,000 in cash. On the heels of the raid was some rather peculiar voicing of consternation from both sides of the aisle in both the House and the Senate.
Now, part of what makes this interesting is that Jefferson is accused of sending cash money to officials in Nigeria, which as it turns out is a haven for Al Qaeda (not to say that he was aiding them, but just to illustrate that if you or I had sent cash to Nigeria, we’d be worrying a lot more about ending up in Guantanamo Bay than having our offices raided).
Here’s where we need to have some perspective on the whole issue. I figured that most of the Republican and Democrats who are suddenly all in favor of constitutional limitations are… to be blunt: full of shit. It didn’t surprise me that the same elected people who don’t want government into their private lives were more than willing to vote for continued egregious intrusions into yours barely three months ago (aka the PATRIOT Act renewal).
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert :
“Insofar as I am aware, since the founding of our Republic 219 years ago, the Justice Department has never found it necessary to do what it did Saturday night, crossing this separation of powers line, in order to successfully prosecute corruption by Members of Congress.”
He added: “Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there was any necessity to change the precedent established over those 219 years.”
Hastert on(perhaps he’s the one who should start reading the Constitution):
“Ensuring our homeland security is one of House Republicans’ top priorities, and the PATRIOT Act keeps that commitment. This legislation guarantees that our law enforcement can keep the tools they already have in place to root out and prosecute terrorists, and it renews important information sharing provisions among government agencies.
— Dennis Hastert on March 8th, 2006
Update: Here’s a little more schadenfruede for Congress: “you have nothing to worry about if you have nothing to hide.” Wait… that only applies to us?