I have a completely unfounded theory, which, although there is not a shred of evidence that it is correct, I like, so I am going to share it with you.
It has to do with Nancy Pelosi - who is quickly becoming as radioactive as the now-infamous polonium-210. We'll call her: Pelosium-2007.
Last summer Democratic Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana was caught by the FBI with $90,000 in cash in his home freezer. The Feds then raided his Congressional office which set off a fight between the Justice Department (Executive Branch) and the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert (Legislative Branch).
Although the guy who is assumed to have bribed Jefferson has pleaded guilty, Jefferson has not been charged with a crime. Only in Washington can you have a briber but not a bribee.
William Jefferson is Black. This is only important because Nancy Pelosium booted Jefferson off the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
It was widely expected that the Congressional Black Caucus, not known as being a group of bashful, reticent Members would howl mightily over Jefferson's being defrocked without benefit of charge or trial.
Nope. According to Josephine Hearn writing in the Hill newspaper:
"Outraged that one of its members was being picked on even though he has not been charged with a crime, the Congressional Black Caucus had intended to issue a defiant statement against their leader but agreed after [a] meeting [with Pelosi] to pause, at least briefly, for reflection."
Really? Hmmm. Why do you suppose that was?
I suppose it was because Ms. Pelosium promised the Black Caucus that if (A) they backed off and (B) the Dems took control of the House she would appoint one of their own, Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings, to head the House Intelligence Committee.
They did and they did and Ms. Pelosium quickly announced that the senior Democrat on the Committee, fellow Californian Jane Harman, would most assuredly not become the next chair of the Intelligence Committee and, in fact, Rep. Hastings would get the job.
Smallish problem: It seems that Rep. Hastings used to be Judge Hastings. Federal Judge Hastings. Hastings was indicted but later acquitted on charges of bribery. Nevertheless, in 1988, a group of other Federal Judges forwarded evidence to the US House of Representatives urging that Hastings be impeached.
The House - at the time under Democratic control - voted to impeach Hastings on not one, not two, but SEVENTEEN counts which included the original bribery charges and a couple of added perjury raps for style points. Nancy Pelosi, by the way, voted with the overwhelming majority (413-3) to impeach him.
Hastings was acquitted because his alleged co-conspirator refused to testify and went to the slam for it. The same guy refused to testify at Hastings' Senate trial and was jailed again.
Another reason I love Washington: The guy, William Bordon, was pardoned by Bill Clinton on the last day of his Presidency.
In 1992, Hastings ran for, and was elected to, the very same Democratically controlled House of Representatives which had impeached him.
Pelosium had already caused some hard feelings among her Democratic colleagues by backing the ethically challenged Jack Murtha (D-PA) for Majority Leader. Columnist Ruth Marcus, writing in the Washington Post called Murtha a "a one-man earmarking factory whose beneficiaries have included a lobbying firm that employed his brother and another founded by a former top aide."
After being squashed on her Murtha ploy, Pelosium was staring down the barrel of having to pay off the political debt she owed to the Black Caucus over the Jefferson matter by appointing an impeached and removed former Federal Judge to head the Intelligence Committee.
The other day Pelosium called Hastings into her office and told him that he was not going to be the Chairman of House Intel because … well … you know.
The word on the Hill is she is leaning toward Texas Democrat Rep. Sylvester Reyes to head the Committee. Reyes is Hispanic.
Follow the bouncing ion: Pelosium dumps a woman, then a member of the Black Caucus in favor of a Hispanic male to head the Intelligence Committee.
This being in the majority business isn't as easy as it looks, huh?
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Hill newspaper's account of the Jefferson messiness and the Wikipedia entry on Hastings' impeachment. Plus a perfectly wonderful Mullfoto and a Catchy Caption of the Day.