View Full Version : FBI Raid on U.S. House Office

05-23-2006, 08:58 AM
Congressional Leaders Challenge FBI Raid on U.S. House Office

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- House and Senate leaders challenged the constitutionality of an FBI raid on a lawmaker's office, saying it broke a 219-year precedent and raised concerns about the separation of power between the administration and Congress.

``The actions of the Justice Department in seeking and executing this warrant raise important constitutional issues,'' House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, said in a statement last night. ``I expect to seek a means to restore the delicate balance of power among the branches of government that the founders intended.''

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, also expressed concern about the constitutional implications of the Saturday night raid of Louisiana Democratic Representative William Jefferson's office in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

Jefferson's office was searched as part of a federal bribery investigation in which Jefferson was also videotaped accepting a leather briefcase containing $100,000 in cash from a government witness, according to an FBI affidavit.

A former aide to Jefferson, Brett Pfeffer, 37, pleaded guilty Jan. 11 to bribery and conspiracy charges for helping in a kickback scheme involving a Nigerian telecommunications company. Jefferson hasn't been charged with a crime.

Yesterday, the lawmaker reasserted his innocence and said he doesn't plan to leave Congress.

`Two Sides'

``There are two sides to every story,'' Jefferson, 59, told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference. He said he intends to ``carry on with my responsibilities and represent the people who have sent me here.'' He refused to discuss the specifics of the case or allegations by the government.

He also denounced the Federal Bureau of Investigation for searching his office, calling it ``outrageous'' and ``unprecedented.''

Hastert said in his statement that every congressional office contains documents protected by the constitutional principle of the separation of powers. Those protections, and the independence of the legislative branch, ``must be respected in order to prevent overreaching and abuse of power by the executive branch,'' he said.

The speaker said it ``would appear'' that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was aware the Justice Department had entered ``constitutionally suspect grounds'' in conducting the raid because the FBI suggested in seeking a warrant that it would create special procedures to step around the constitutional issues.

`Constitutional Problems'

``It is not at all clear to me that it would even be possible to create special procedures that would overcome the constitutional problems that the execution of this warrant has created,'' Hastert said.

He said that ``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.'' Hastert said the materials sought in the search of Jefferson's office had already been subpoenaed and that ``all the documents that have been subpoenaed were being preserved.''

Legal Counsel

Frist told reporters that he asked the Senate legal counsel for advice on the raid's constitutional implications and the ``proper course of action'' for the Senate.

Pelosi also issued a statement raising concerns about whether the search undermined the separation of powers.

The Jefferson case is one of several continuing criminal probes of lawmakers.

Former Representative Randy Cunningham, a California Republican, is in prison after admitting accepting $2.4 million in bribes. Representative Robert Ney, an Ohio Republican, has relinquished a committee chairmanship because of a federal investigation into his dealings with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, will leave office next month after being indicted in a state fund-raising case. DeLay and Ney have denied wrongdoing. <font color="blue"> Why no raids on this mob??? /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif</font color>
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Oh boy! Is there gonna be a hangin?
/ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Naw! /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif


05-23-2006, 11:43 AM
If it's legal to obtain a warrent, and raid the Law Offices of an Attorney, who's suspected of criminal activity....I don't see why a Congressman's office should be considered sacrosanct.

05-23-2006, 09:14 PM
Its just another grab for power.

Bush has taught tomorrow's leaders that, if there are no consequences for ignoring legal constraints on power and if no one stops you from conducting the nation's business in secret, you don't have to be accountable. He is ruling through the tautological doctrine of Richard Nixon, who told interviewer David Frost that as long as the president's doing it "that means it is not illegal.'' <hr /></blockquote>

good article (http://www.sptimes.com/2006/05/21/Columns/President_grabs_power.shtml)


05-23-2006, 10:31 PM
Scary though....

05-24-2006, 03:36 AM
In the UK, they dont have a Constitution,ie a Bill of Rights. What Rights they have are based on Laws that have evolved over hundreds of years.
The guys who wrote the Constitution not only laid down Rights for ALL, but had the foresight to lay down a system of Govt that had 'checks and balances', to ensure that the USA would never become a dictatorship. They had the benefit of all that was wrong with European history. They had the chance to start from scratch.
What GW is now doing is exactly the sort of circumstance that the Constitution is suppossed to protect against! But the corrupt GOP[ and the non-existant opposition] ignore these attacks on the the Con. and let it all happen!

The President is NOT allowed to make his own Laws! Its that simple.

When Clinton was Pres, the media focussed on the BJ affair for a year.
With GW, its now 3 scandals a week, so its difficult for the media to focus on which is the bigger story, a war against a country [ which 75% of Americans cant even identify on a map] , or trumped up evidence of WMDs or attacks on the Constitution, Or Palmegate, or torture, renditition, the NON dirty bomber, the mad 20th highjacker, where is OBL, Iran, Abramoff, DeLay, NSA wire tapping, total internet survailence, arrest without charge, etc

If there is no accountability, there is no democracy.