"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

No one is above the law
Not even Dennis "the Menace" Hastert. Apparently the Speaker of the House of Representatives has his panties in a twist over the FBI searching the congressional offices of Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson. He and Newt Gingrich and house majority leader John Boehnert are calling it an "invasion of the legislative branch" for some reason.

This is the first time in U.S. history the feds have searched a lawmakers office, but as far as I know there is no legal grounds for preventing them from doing so. A lawmaker's office should be no different from any other premises when it comes to the police having the right to search it. If a judge grants a warrant on the grounds of probable cause - and I think videotape of the congressman accepting a $100,000 bribe is sufficient cause to think a crime may have been committed - there is no reason I can think of for the FBI not to search the man's office.

The Republicans often defend the president's illegal wiretapping program by saying that Americans who are not dealing with terrorists have nothing to fear from the intrusion into their privacy and violation of their civil liberties, because if they are innocent, then they have nothing to hide, right? Well, that sort of logic cuts both ways --- what do Hastert and Boehnert have to hide?

I understand how there would be reluctance to give the executive branch carte blanche to use law enforcement agencies to investigate political opponents, which is a fine old American tradition dating back to Tammany Hall and carried on by such luminaries as Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover, but I don't think this is a case of the White House going after Jefferson for political reasons -- from what we have seen of the case so far, the guy has some major explaining to do. ("No really, I keep $90,000 in my freezer because I like to pay all my bills in "cold, hard cash" get it?)

In some countries, elected officials are immune from prosecution while in office. The reason given is to prevent them from being locked up on trumped up charges by their political opponents or an autocratic national leader. Has it really come to that in Amerika?

1 comment:

Luke said...

well said!

I think the squeaky wheel here is only squeaky though because they are hiding something they do not want publicized. Something fishy about the whole Republican standing up for a Democrat
about being crooked thing.