Sunday, May 28, 2006

Searching Congress

Rich Galen has some useful observations on the recent search of a Democrat Congressman's office as part of an ongoing corruption investigation:

Republicans and Democrats in the House have their Congressional knickers in a Constitutional twist over the notion that the doctrine of "separation of powers" was fused by the FBI when they searched Congressman William Jefferson's (D-La) House office Saturday night.

The FBI had previously videotaped Jefferson taking $100,000 in cash from an informant then got a warrant to search his house where they found 90 grand of it hidden in a freezer.

Two of Jefferson's former aides have already pleaded guilty to bribery - of Congressman Jefferson.


In their "separation of powers" claim, the House leaders are making it sound as if this was done solely on the say-so of the Justice Department. In fact, the FBI (Executive Branch) had a warrant to search a Congressman's office (Legislative Branch) which was signed by a Federal judge (Judicial Branch).

Two out of three. That's a hard number to stand up against. Critics have tried to portray the search as one branch against another, but it just is not true.

Mr. Galen goes on to detail the FBI's process of arrival, notification, and search. He also addresses the Constitutional claim, pointing out that taking a bribe is neither "speech" nor "debate." Reading the original column is recommended.

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