The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Democratic skeletons: William Jefferson?

Clearly, the GOP will be looking to visit blowback on the Dems for piling on on the Abramoff business. (Though this indicates that the ethics truce is still in operation, according to La Pelosi.)

Rep William Jefferson (LA-2) is a clear candidate. This suggests that his argument against a Federal bribery or gratuity charge (18 USC 201(b) and (c) respectively) may well be that the deal in question was a private affair, and that there was no official act of his that can be linked with the benefits he received (a key element of both offences [1]).

That may do him some good in court; but will surely cut little ice with public opinion [2] which the usual GOP suspects will be playing like a violon as the Abramoff thing hots up (with White House photos threatened, and more, no doubt, to come).

The Swift Boat-ers managed a tidy coup with outright lies against poor old John Kerry; Jefferson looks as if he's a genuine sleazebag, even if he does manage to wriggle off a Federal charge.

There always was a reason for the Dems to cleave to that ethics truce...

  1. The leading case on the point is, I think, the Mike Espy case, Sun-Diamond Growers v US.

  2. I'm pretty sure that salience is damned low at the moment for Congressional ethics scandals in general and Abramoff in particular. Which may explain why the VRWC hasn't yet majored on the Jefferson case.

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