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FBI Raid on Lawmaker's Office Is Questionedby Republican Leaders...

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by DarrylS, May 23, 2006.

  1. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Followup to yesterday's thread about the raid on Jefferson's office, Saturday nite, not sure if there is more to the story, however there is some stuff of concern...Republican Leader Frist& Hastert are concerned about how it took place along with the Republican Stalwart Newt Gingrich... apparently there is another firestorm brewing in our Capitol, and looks like it will boil down to the whole separation of powers issue, but what the hell the "Constitution is just a piece of Paper" (GWB 2005).

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/22/AR2006052201080_2.html

    The Saturday raid of Jefferson's quarters in the Rayburn House Office Building posed a new political dilemma for the leaders of both parties, who felt compelled to protest his treatment while condemning any wrongdoing by the lawmaker. The dilemma was complicated by new details contained in an 83-page affidavit unsealed on Sunday, including allegations that the FBI had videotaped Jefferson taking $100,000 in bribe money and then found $90,000 of that cash stuffed inside his apartment freezer.

    Republican leaders, who previously sought to focus attention on the Jefferson case as a counterpoint to their party's own ethical scandals, said they are disturbed by the raid. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said that he is "very concerned" about the incident and that Senate and House counsels will review it....

    House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) expressed alarm at the raid. "The actions of the Justice Department in seeking and executing this warrant raise important Constitutional issues that go well beyond the specifics of this case," he said in a lengthy statement released last night.

    "Insofar as I am aware, 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," he said. "Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there was any necessity to change the precedent established over those 219 years."

    Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), in an e-mail to colleagues with the subject line "on the edge of a constitutional confrontation," called the Saturday night raid "the most blatant violation of the Constitutional Separation of Powers in my lifetime." He urged President Bush to discipline or fire "whoever exhibited this extraordinary violation."

    Many legal experts and defense lawyers agreed with Gingrich. Charles Tiefer, a University of Baltimore law professor who served as solicitor and deputy general counsel of the House for 11 years, called the raid "an intimidating tactic that has never before been used against the legislative branch."
     
  2. PatsFanInEaglesLand

    PatsFanInEaglesLand In the Starting Line-Up

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    #37 Jersey

    These f-ing politicians must actually think they are untouchable. :mad:

    Term limits, NOW!

    Get rid of the congressional pension.

    No more per diem.
     
  3. All_Around_Brown

    All_Around_Brown In the Starting Line-Up

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    Suddenly the slovenly fatbodies are concerned about the constitutionality of raiding bribery schemes? Hello? Where's you voice on the constitutionality of circumventing FISA and data mining millions of citizens?
     
  4. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    Holy crap, PFIEL! I totally agree with you! :eek:
     
  5. Pujo

    Pujo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Indeeed. Speaking of which, how did Congress like it when the courts enforced the seperation of powers against them in the Shiavo case?
     
  6. All_Around_Brown

    All_Around_Brown In the Starting Line-Up

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    Notice how fast that bombshell went down the media memory hole? That would be a great piece of a platform for an independant resurgence (in addition to the opposition of emerging theocracy in general of course).
     
  7. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Politicians are the lowest form of life on this planet, ALL OF THEM, NOT JUST THE NEO CONS. :rocker:
     
  8. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There are two issues:

    (1) Jefferson certainly appears to be completely corrupt and should get whatever is coming to him. I can't imagine he has a good defense.

    (2) The separation of powers is extremely important.
    - Recently, Scalia blasted Congresspeople for proposing legislation to urge the Supreme Court not to consider foreign court rulings. Though Scalia is as against the use of foreign court rulings as anyone, he believes the separation of powers is important and the matter needs to be decided by the court itself.

    - There is a real danger when our Executive Branch, which in the opinion of many, already abuses its power, sends its forces into the halls of Congress. One could easily imagine a corrupt administration, low in the polls, using all sorts of strong-arm tactics to force the hand of Congress.

    The separation of powers is crucial to our system of government. Bush's violation of this principle is just another example of his callous disregard for our Constitution.
     
  9. Pujo

    Pujo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I call BS here. The seperation of powers is pretty clear that conduct on the Congressional floor, or related to official congressional business is privileged. It's not a blanket immunity against criminal activity while in office. As I understand the constitution, the Executive Branch is responsible for enforcing the law and I don't see anything in the constitution barring them from doing that here.
     
  10. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't agree, Pujo. The Executive Branch already has a lot of power that it uses to protect itself and to attack others. Is it any coincidence that in the last couple of days the Executive Branch has gone after a major Democratic law firm and has broken 220 years of precedence in the way they've gone after Jefferson? Surely, the Executive Branch could have either worked with the Republican leadership or found other ways to pursue the case against Jefferson. The balance of power is extremely important; otherwise, there is too much power in the hands of the President...like in Russia.
     
  11. Pujo

    Pujo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I know all about Russia, and I've read a lot about politically motivated prosecution. Let's review the case here, though:
    1. The Executive is the ONLY branch of government authorized to enforce the law. That means if someone is breaking a (federal) law, the only way to bring them to justice is through the Executive branch.
    2. The seperation of powers bars prosecution for official acts committed on the congressional floor, or on the way to the congressional floor. The two houses of congress are expected to discipline their own members and may expell a congressmen by a 2/3 vote.
    3. The acts committed here where not committed while Jefferson was on the congressional floor, or carrying out the official business of the US Congress.
    As such, he's a private citizen for all intents and purposes here.
     
  12. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Pujo, are you an originalist? Do you agree with the way Clarence Thomas interprets the Constitution? No matter how you look at it, our Constitution isn't perfect, but a key reason for its design is to prevent one branch of government from gaining too much power. Some of this protection is embedded into the Constitution, and some of it has evolved over time.
     
  13. Pujo

    Pujo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Huh? I don't think the constitution is too ambiguous here. No official business = no immunity. What else could you be reading? Can you show me some case law explaining the evolution of congressional immunity as it doesn't relate to official business? I understand that the constitution is frequently gray on things, this doesn't seem to be one of them.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2006
  14. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The issue here is precedent, and in the opinion of many it's a good precedent. I'm surprised, given the abuses of this administration, that you're supporting their strong-arm tactics. It's not like Jefferson was keeping a nuclear bomb in his office or giving away top secret data, in which cases extraordinary action might make sense. These types of issues are normally dealt with through consultation and negotiation between the branches of government. This was an act of intimidation directed against the Congress by the Bush administration. That's why you find even people like Frist and Hastert criticizing the action.
     
  15. Pujo

    Pujo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I'm not willing to go after Bush for everything he does - I'll judge each act on its own merits. If Bush was within the law here, I have no problem with his actions.

    I'm not sure what you mean "These types of issues are normally dealt with through consultation and negotiation between the branches of government." Since Jefferson was accused of committing a crime, he doesn't get any safeguards normally given to the United States Congress as an official entity. This isn't an official inquiry regarding documents that needs to be negotiated. This is a crime in progress and needs a search warrant, a polite knock on the door, and then a forceful seizure of evidence. The reason cops use warrants and not subpoenas in cases of serious crime is that evidence can be destroyed.

    I'm also very happy about the precedent this sets - congressmen breaking the law do not enjoy congressional immunity.

    The reason the GOP congressional leadership is pissed about this is because, if they (along with Democratic congressmen) could have their way, congress would be COMPLETELY untouchable.

    By the way, how do you feel about immunity for Congressman DeLay?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2006
  16. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    You beat me to it Pujo,
    Congressmen have no immunity on activities outside of chambers, and if there is a precedent for the DOJ to deal with this more "discretely", then it is still wrong. There has been plenty of official precedent that was proven to be wrong. We all need to be more consistent when one side gets busted and look at it from the other side's perspective (not that there really is another side)
     
  17. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My issue is with an administration that ignores laws, interprets laws in strange ways, lies to the American people, illegallly wiretaps, tortures, illegally collects personal information, manipulates the media, spies on reporters, and tries to intimidate Congress. This administration is power hungry and dangerous. Plus, as in the Delay case, I believe the authorities would have been able to gather evidence (and in fact has evidence) about Jefferson without going directly into Congress. This administration underscores the importance of checks and balances (which are not quite working) and the separation of powers (which is under attack by the Administration and the radical anti-court right). While I understand the righteousness of your position, I believe there's more to it than a simple bribery scandal, and we have to prevent the administration from getting any more power.
     
  18. Pujo

    Pujo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    The administration sucks and is not credible, but I'm not willing to strip them of their mandate to enforce the law simply because nobody else can do it per the constitution. We can't put the administration on trial every time they try to take any action unless there's some evidence that that action is questionable. Personally, I'm very comfortable with the DOJ's actions in this case.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2006
  19. Chevy

    Chevy Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Consultation and negotiation? Please, we might as well be the UN.

    No matter how you want to spin it, this legal search and seizure required two branches to agree. The Executive requested the warrant, and presented evidence showing probable cause. The Judiciary reviewed the request and evidence, and deemed it legal and necessary.

    This is exactly how it is supposed to work. The defence of "it's never been done" is hollow and meaningless. The only members of Congress the need to feel threatened are those like Jefferson.
     
  20. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Jefferson "Froze his assets" he kept his stolen money in his freezer, will Jessie Jackoff and the rest of the "Race Whiner" gang start slobbering over this guy and try to stir up some trouble?
    I doubt it I think Jeffy is to hot to handle even for those Racists, Belafonte and McKinney might have a word or two though?
     

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