Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Cold, Hard Cash

As a public service to those of you who may not have had time to peruse the FBI's application for a warrant to search the Congressional office of Rep. Bill Jefferson, I have digested the application thoroughly and provide you with the following summary:

Dude, they totally have the goods on this guy. Unless the Bureau has engineered a frame-up more elaborate than the LAPD pulled on O.J., Jefferson has been a very naughty fellow.

What I find more amusing are the protestations that this search somehow violated the Constitutional separation of powers. Let us play a round of Armchair Constitutional Scholar, shall we? Below, I will list some instances in which separation-of-powers challenges have been raised. Your task is to identify the challenge that is full of shit:

A) President attempts to seize and federalize nation's steel mills. Mill owners protest that President may not do so without congressional authorization.

B) President refuses to spend money that Congress has appropriated for particular federal programs. Program beneficiaries protest that such refusal violates separation between Congress's power to make laws (including appropriations) and president's duty to "take care that the Laws are faithfully executed."

C) Immigration statute gives single house of Congress power to "veto" executive actions. Administration protests that separation of powers permits Congress to act only via bills approved by both houses and presented for the President's signature.

D) Congressional leadership protests that FBI search of Congressman's office violates separation of powers under the following circumstances: After Congressman resists grand jury subpoena for eight months, FBI obtains search warrant for his office based on 100+ page affidavit indicating the following: Informant wearing wire records Congressman promise to make official visits to Nigeria and Ghana to facilitate approval of telecommunications projects. In exchange for these official acts, Congressman accepts part-interest in the business, registered in his children's names. Meanwhile, businessman pleads guilty to having paid Congressman $400,000+ in bribes for prior, similar deal. Back at the ranch, Congressman tells informant he needs $100,000 to bribe Vice President of Nigeria. Informant later gives Congressman suitcase containing $100,000 in cash. Over dinner, Congressman tells informant he has given money to Nigerian V.P., then passes series of notes to informant demanding greater share of the venture. Jokes "'All these damn notes we're writing . . . as if the FBI is watching." Subsequent search of Congressman's house reveals that he has lied to informant; money has not actually gone to Nigerian V.P. but is instead in Congressman's freezer, neatly wrapped in $10,000 aluminum-foil bundles.

Did you choose D?

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