Rich Galen

  • Congressional complaints about the "raid" by the FBI make it sound as if this was a black bag job. To the contrary, it appears that:
  • The Feds alerted the Capitol Police by perhaps as much as an hour prior to showing up on their doorstep.

  • The cops called House Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood, who called the Speakers' legal counsel, Ted VanDerMeid.

  • The FBI showed up with badges, paperwork and whatever they would have needed to open the locked office door at 2113 Rayburn.

  • (Someone in the House hierarchy had a spare key so there was, unfortunately, no need for a repeat of the Battering-Ram-Against-The-Church-Door scene from the Hunchback of Notre Dame.)

  • VanDerMeid called the Speaker's chief of staff Scott Palmer who, by midnight, was on the phone to the Executive Branch representing the concerns of the Legislative Branch.

  • As of this writing, it is not clear when Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi became aware of all the activity.

  • Fifteen hours after it began, the search was done.
  • According to the Associated Press, in the early 1990s the FBI got a warrant to search the chambers of a Federal judge also from Louisiana, also on a bribery charge.

  • There is no record of any Member of Congress protesting that action.

  • Nancy Pelosi - desperately trying to get traction on Republican "culture of corruption" as a campaign issue - asked Jefferson to voluntarily step down from his post on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

  • Jefferson said, in effect: "Nah."

  • Crying bayou-crocodile tears over the search of Jefferson's office puts Dennis Hastert and Nancy Pelosi in the uncomfortable position of appearing to defend a perfectly despicable Member of Congress.

  • On a the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to CNN's coverage of the Jefferson case, and to the Cornell University Law page; the first in a new series of Mullfotos, and an excellent Catchy Caption of the Day.

  • Rich Galen

    Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at