Good Grief

The Blogfaddah linked this ABC story about a Louisiana congressman requisitioning a National Guard truck and several soldiers to check out his house in New Orleans last week:

The water reached to the third step of Jefferson’s house, a military source familiar with the incident told ABC News, and the vehicle pulled up onto Jefferson’s front lawn so he wouldn’t have to walk in the water. Jefferson went into the house alone, the source says, while the soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour.

Finally, according to the source, Jefferson emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck.

Okay bad enough, but at a human level, I guess it’s understandable to be concerned about one’s home, even though grabbing a Guard unit during an emergency for your own use is entirely inappropriate for a congressman. But it gets worse:

The Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News the truck became stuck as it waited for Jefferson to retrieve his belongings.

Two weeks later, the vehicle’s tire tracks were still visible on the lawn.

The soldiers signaled to helicopters in the air for aid. Military sources say a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the signal and flew to Jefferson’s home. The chopper was already carrying four rescued New Orleans residents at the time.

A rescue diver descended from the helicopter, but the congressman decided against going up in the helicopter, sources say. The pilot sent the diver down again, but Jefferson again declined to go up the helicopter.

After spending approximately 45 minutes with Jefferson, the helicopter went on to rescue three additional New Orleans residents before it ran low on fuel and was forced to end its mission.

… “I can’t comment on why the congressman decided not to go in the aircraft,” [Coast Guard Commander] McPherson said. “Did it take a little more time to send the rescue swimmer back a second time? Yes… You’d have to ask the congressman if it was a waste of time or not.”

The Louisiana National Guard then sent a second 5-ton truck to rescue the first truck, and Jefferson and his personal items were returned to the Superdome.

Schneider said he could not comment on whether the excursion was appropriate. “We’re in no position to comment on an order given to a soldier. You’re not going to get a statement from the Louisiana National Guard saying whether it was right or wrong. That was the mission we were assigned.”

But wait–it gets still worse:

In an unrelated matter, [Oh, really? How are you so sure of that? –WC] authorities recently searched Jefferson’s property as part of a federal investigation into the finances of a high-tech firm. Last month FBI officials raided Jefferson’s house as well as his home in Washington, D.C., his car and his accountant’s house.
Jefferson has not commented on that matter, except to say he is cooperating with the investigation. But he has emerged as a major voice in the post-Katrina political debate.

… A senior federal law enforcement source tells ABC News that investigators are interested in learning if Jefferson moved any materials relevant to the investigation. Jefferson says he did not.

And you just took him at his word? I repeat: good grief.

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24 Responses to “Good Grief”

  1. Alex Says:

    This guy is nothing but a thug and race baiter. At least Jesse Jackson can approach eloquence (or used to be able to anyway). Jefferson just bows up on those who challenge his views. It will be interesting to see what happens to that supposedly safe Dem seat in the House after all this plays out. Most of his constituents and “supporters” are gone. The real irony is that the Dem machine had no problem bussing them around from precinct to precinct on election day. It is sweet irony that their inability to do so in time of real peril may cost them their stranglehood on New Orleans politics.

  2. bigwhitehat Says:

    This did come from ABC. Are we all sure it’s true?

  3. richard mcenroe Says:

    Hey, at least it wasn’t Trent Lott’s house, so how bad can it be?

  4. JoeBlow Says:

    Guess this means there is no longer two Americas…..

  5. legion Says:

    Schneider said he could not comment on whether the excursion was appropriate. “We’re in no position to comment on an order given to a soldier. You’re not going to get a statement from the Louisiana National Guard saying whether it was right or wrong. That was the mission we were assigned.”

    WTF!?!?!?!
    I want to have a long long chat with this LtCol Schneider. And his commander. And the JAG. Members of the legislature, either state or federal, are absolutely NOT part of the military chain of command – that rests entirely within the executive branch. There is literally NEVER a time when the military is under the authority of the legislature – they can declare war and control the budget, but unless there’s something about the charter of NG troops that’s completely different from regular Army (and since I believe all the resources have been federalized by now so that wouldn’t make any difference), no legislator can ever give an order to the military.

    While we give every deference and courtesy to political VIPs, and prioritize their requests, I’m deeply curious as to what “order” was given to the NG troops, and who gave it…

  6. Rod Stanton Says:

    Jefferson said when he wrote the Tenth Ammendment “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This crooked politician is just one in a long list of proofs that Tom was right in more ways than one.

  7. GZ Expat, Part II Says:

    Ohh…it just keeps getting better.

    Vodkapundit links to an article from ABC News that paints a clear picture of the poster boy for corruption in Louisiana; congressman William Jefferson’ commandeering of a National Guard unit to take him to his house to pick up some things:…the vehicl…

  8. Steve T. Says:

    You confused me for a moment, then I realized you meant the OTHER Jefferson. Thomas, the founder and President, not William, the congressman in question. (Whose nickname in some circles in Louisiana is “Dollar Bill.”)

  9. zumkopf Says:

    It’s even worse. On September 12th, i.e., ten days after this misadventure, Jefferson’s press secretary was crying to the Canadian press that the Good Congressman had been unable to see his house. [Link: http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2005/september/12/katrina/&c=1 ]

    Corrupt, and lying.

  10. roux Says:

    When Jefferson’s home was searched they found an unnamed amount of cash in his freezer.

    He was just going to check and see if it had spoiled since the power was out.

  11. GOPness Says:

    Democrat Ethical Lapses Know No Bounds

    Unbelievable is the only word for this.

  12. Dragon Fly Says:

    To bad this wasn’t posted on the AP’s hip new service asap. I guess I will never know what happened.

  13. Jo macDougal Says:

    La. has been well known for crooked “leaders” for 85 years. Nothing changes.

  14. John Needham Says:

    (Whose nickname in some circles in Louisiana is “Dollar Bill.”)

    His nickname ought to be “Three Dollar Bill.”

  15. Baseball Crank Says:

    BLOG: Quick Links 9/16/05

    *The Washington Post: Slightly more than half of American teenagers, ages 15 to 19, have engaged in oral sex, with females and males reporting similar levels of experience, according to the most comprehensive national survey of sexual behaviors ever re…

  16. DL Says:

    He’s lucky Carter isn’t in office -the damned copter would have crashed!

  17. tsmonk Says:

    I believe the “power corrupts” saying is normally attributed to Lord Acton.

  18. bigwhitehat Says:

    Do you think the things he retrieved have anything to do with his legal defense fund? Or how about evidence?

  19. UNCoRRELATED Says:

    A Sense of Entitlement

    Courtesy of Will Collier comes this story of Rep. William Jefferson, D-LA (natch…) who commandeered a National Guard unit to take him to his house in New Orleans where he spent about an hour and came out with a laptop,…

  20. Reaganites Unite! Says:

    The Democratic Cry Baby of the Week!

    It was a hard choice, but the decision was easy after watching the Sunday talker shows…

  21. The Moderate Voice Says:

    Around The Sphere Sept. 18, 2005

    Our occasional link fest from websites of MANY different viewpoints. The posts featured do not necessarily reflect the views of The Moderate Voice.<b…

  22. Joe Gandelman Says:

    I linked to your great post on my blog(I put it in my link roundup). And I’ll say the same thing I said there:
    So what’s the big deal? Isn’t this the way royalty is supposed to be treated?
    The most galling thing about some politicos is when it becomes clear that they feel they not only have perks but are entitled to them. We’ve had a situation here in San Diego with Randy Cunningham (who is not in my district), a well respected conservative Republican Congressman who isn’t going to run for re-election now after being enmeshed in a variety of scandals. His house, his boat he was living on — all tied in some way to a lobbyist. It’s complicated and lot has been published in newspapers and on blogs. If you read the local coverage, though, the shock has been that Cunningham could do it because he was considered one of the people (it’s said he was a model for a key character in Top Gun). You can go throughout history and see examples of people who used the “perks” of office or took advantage of the power an office holds to do things that ordinary citizens can’t. This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s a GENERAL issue and the way voters can combat it, is to vote ANYONE out who indulges in this behavior (no, you don’t see it with everyone, even though that’d be a nice flippant statement to make).

  23. Pat Says:

    Wonder why Jefferson thought he needed armed bodyguards? Just asking.

  24. Iowa Voice Says:

    Democratic Lawmaker Diverted National Guard For His Own Use-CONFIRMED!

    As I mentioned here, there was a report making the rounds when I got up today saying that Congressman William Jefferson used military/Guard resources to go to his home in New Orleans and get some of his belongings. I wondered at first if this was true, s

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