John McCaslin

Embattled Rep. William J. Jefferson, Louisiana Democrat, has been ambushed, literally, during an unscheduled taped interview with Jason Mattera of the Young America's Foundation (YAF).

After applauding Mr. Jefferson's efforts on behalf of New Orleans victims of Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Mattera shocked the congressman by asking: "I was wondering if you could give me some advice? In your opinion what is the best way to stuff $90,000 in a freezer: a Hefty or a Ziploc bag?"

Mr. Jefferson, to say the least, was not amused and is soon seen walking out of the video, which the YAF shot on July 30 in a Capitol Hill hallway and posted Monday on YouTube.

A 16-count federal indictment accuses the congressman of racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice. Among other evidence, authorities say he stowed $90,000 in his home freezer.


The life of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn took an intriguing turn when the outspoken Russian, whose funeral will be held Wednesday in Moscow, moved his family to Cavendish, Vt., where they would spend 18 years before the author was welcomed back home to a former Soviet Union of which he had been so critical.

"I put this story in the epilogue of Rendezvous With Destiny, due out at the end of this year," District public relations mogul and Ronald Reagan chronicler Craig Shirley tells Inside the Beltway, attaching a 2004 clipping from the New York Times.

"Left wing gulags were not only in the Soviet Union but astonishingly in grade schools here in America as well," he points out.

The newspaper article by John Tierney, headlined "A Cold Morning In Vermont," reads in part:

"Ignat Solzhenitsyn understands why so many people have warm thoughts of Ronald Reagan, but one of his earliest memories is on the frigid side. In 1980, Ignat was an 8-year-old transplanted to Vermont by his father, the famous chronicler of Siberia's gulags. As Ignat tells the story, on the morning after the presidential election he got a taste of American political re-education at the progressive private school he and his brothers attended.

"In response to the Reagan victory, the school's flag was lowered to half-staff, and the morning assembly was devoted to what today would be called grief counseling. The headmaster mourned 'what America would become once the dark night of fascism descended under the B-movie actor,' recalled Mr. Solzhenitsyn, who is now the music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. 'At one point he interrupted himself to inquire if anyone present did not share his gloomy view of the Reagan victory.'

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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