Friday, January 05, 2007

House Democrats Still Breaking the Law

Roll Call reports that due to 'tremendous, tremendous staff error,' Congressman Bill Jefferson accidentally sent out a fundraising request to his colleagues on Congressional letterhead:

You might think that a guy who’s still the subject of a federal bribery investigation would be more careful than to use taxpayer resources to raise campaign money. But nope, not Jefferson. And heck, he still hasn’t provided us with that “honorable explanation” he promised for the bizarro (and alleged) $90,000 in cash federal agents confiscated from a freezer in his Capitol Hill home.

Last week, House Democrats were shocked to receive a letter from Jefferson — on his official Congressional stationery, no less — asking colleagues to donate money to help him retire his campaign debt.

“As you know,” the letter, dated Dec. 29, 2006, began, “I recently won a grueling race for re-election.” (And won resoundingly in a runoff, despite the ongoing federal probe in which two people have already pleaded guilty.) “In order to get our message out and otherwise compete, we incurred over $200,000 in debt.

“Therefore, I would deeply appreciate it if you would assist me in retiring my debt by contributing $1,000 (or whatever amount you can afford) to my campaign,” Jefferson wrote.

It would really take a 'tremendous' error for something like this to happen innocently. It would mean that the campaign somehow got its hands on official letterhead, or someone in the Congressional office was 'accidentally' doing campaign work on taxpayer time. Typically, Congressional staffers are pretty clear on the fact that neither one of those is allowed to happen.

One would have thought that given John Conyers' recent agreement with the ethics committee, the topic would have been fresh on the mind of the Jefferson staff.

Hat Tip: TPMMuckraker

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