I blogged yesterday about the new revelations concerning Democratic Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) being caught on tape accepting bribe money from a FBI investigator and included it in with news about New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s re-election victory this weekend – but the story on Jefferson deserves a post all its own so here it is. Via the NYT:
WASHINGTON, May 21 — The F.B.I. accused Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, on Sunday of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Kentucky businessman and stashing $90,000 from the scheme in his home freezer in Washington.
The accusations appeared in court documents that were made public only hours after a team of 15 agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation completed an all-night search of Mr. Jefferson’s Congressional offices. F.B.I. officials said the raid, which began about 7:15 p.m. Saturday and ended early Sunday afternoon, was the first the agency had ever conducted at a lawmaker’s office on Capitol Hill.
The search warrant and other documents, which were unsealed in Federal District Court in Washington, accused Mr. Jefferson, an eight-term lawmaker, of accepting bribes to help a small technology company win contracts with federal agencies and with businesses and governments in West Africa. Mr. Jefferson, who has denied wrongdoing, is one of several members of Congress who are under scrutiny by the Justice Department on corruption charges.
While the outline of the case against Mr. Jefferson has been known for months, the court papers released Sunday were the first in which he was linked by name to the bribery charges and to iGate Inc., the Louisville company that sought his help in winning contracts for its high-tech products.
The documents revealed that many of Mr. Jefferson’s contacts with people involved in the bribery scheme were secretly taped, including a meeting last July at which the lawmaker received a briefcase containing $100,000 in $100 bills.
The F.B.I. said that $90,000 of that money was found in a raid on Mr. Jefferson’s Washington home last August, divided into $10,000 increments and placed in “various frozen food containers and wrapped in aluminum foil.” The court documents said the money was intended to pay a middleman — his name is blacked out in the court papers — who might help Mr. Jefferson secure contracts in Nigeria, an oil-rich nation plagued by government corruption.
I’ve heard the term “cold hard cash’ used before, but this puts it in a whole different light
Update: ST reader Severian makes a good point in my prior thread on this:
Wasn’t Jefferson the one who diverted National Guard troops and vehicles in the aftermath of Katrina to take him to his house so he could recover boxes of records and other stuff? Now we know why he was so anxious to get to his flooded house and retrieve those boxes.
Yep. Here’s the Sept. 13, 2005 ABC News’ report on that story.
Update II: As expected, the Congressman has implied that these charges are racially motivated. Webloggin’ has the details.
Others blogging about this: Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Joe Gandelman, Rick Moran, Will Collier at VodkaPundit, Liberty and Justice, Sandbox (love the title to that post!), AJ Strata, Stop The ACLU, Macsmind, Blog For All, Political Pit Bull, Ankle Biting Pundits, Mary Katherine Ham