The Congressional Black Caucus is in open revolt over House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s attempt to discipline Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., after he was caught red handed with $90,000 in alleged bribe money.
And at least one CBC staffer is warning that any move against Jefferson could jeopardize Democrat chances to retake the House this fall.
According to Roll Call, Pelosi checked with key members of the CBC before she told Jefferson on Tuesday that he should resign his post on the House Ways and Means Committee “in the interest of upholding the high ethical standard of the House Democratic Caucus.”
Rather than complying, Jefferson defied the top Democrat—and instead accused her of discrimination, arguing that other ethically challenged Democrats faced no such discipline.
Things got uglier on Wednesday when some of the same CBC members who had OK’d the Pelosi putsch changed their minds.
By late Wednesday, top CBC members, including Charlie Rangel, John Conyers and John Lewis, had informed Pelosi that the entire Black Caucus would publicly oppose any attempt to discipline Jefferson—a move that could severely undermine African American support in this year’s mid term election.
“I think she’s taking us down to the point where on Nov. 8 she’ll still be the Minority Leader,” an aide to a CBC member told Roll Call, in a none too thinly veiled threat.
The FBI is focusing on at least eight different suspected bribery schemes as part of its corruption probe of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), according to a federal affidavit and sources familiar with the investigation.
A key part of the FBI probe has centered around Jefferson’s dealings with a Louisville high-tech company, iGate Inc., that was marketing broadband technology for the Internet and cable television in Africa.
But an affidavit used in last weekend’s controversial search of Jefferson’s Capitol Hill office stated that authorities are looking at “at least seven other” bribery schemes in which Jefferson “sought things of value in return for his performance of official acts.”