Just in case you haven’t been following the story, Congressmen William Jefferson has recently been indicted for 16 counts of bribery and, if convicted, can be sentenced to up to 235 years in prison. Just yesterday, as the House Ethics committee moved to continue in Jefferson's investigation, a Virginia judge also froze Jefferson's assets.
Some black folks are angered by this whole story; largely because the case involves (1) a black man (2) a Democrat (we all know how much black folks love them some Democrats, and (3) He’s a congressmen from the deep south. But I assure you: corruption is not exclusive to white politicians.
Let me just point out the simple facts of the case. Essentially, the feds did a sting operation catching Jefferson using $90,000; set aside for that sting (the bills were tracked using serial numbers). Jefferson (who was concealing the cash at home in his freezer; making the story about the judge freezing his assets pretty even funnier to me), was recorded discussing the bribe (which he planned to use as an earmark) with a Nigerian politician. All this, and Jefferson still pleads innocent. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
Before you start feeling sorry for this guy or start arousing conspiracy stories about how he's been set up (besides, that’s my job), let me remind you that this is the same guy who blantantly and selfishly used public resources for personal reasons during one of America’s most devastating tragedies. During Hurricane Katrina (you remember that right? Most of the country seems to have forgotten about it), Jefferson had the audacity to take over a National Guard truck so that he could retrieve personal items from his home in an affluent part of New Orleans. After the truck got stuck in mud (while waiting for Jefferson to get his crap), he demanded helicopter support; helicopters that were being used to evacuate people to safety. After spending close to an hour waiting around for Jefferson, the helicopter crew had to cut their efforts short as they ran out of fuel.
It was later revealed that Jefferson delayed things because he declined several times to climb into the basket used by the helicopter to secure evacuees. Source
As the Jefferson scandal has been unfolding, one of my classmates asked me if I felt any remorse for him. Before I answer your question, let me stir up some images of his legacy: using his race to woo voters; choosing to devote scarce resources in his own selfish pursuits while his constituents drowned; and betraying them and his colleagues by getting caught up in some boneheaded scandal.
Now ask me that question again.