Sunday April 20, 2014
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Many times over the years I have read comments from people who were frustrated by what they felt sure was corruption at the local, state, or federal level. It's a horrible, frustrating feeling; you know there's something going on, but don't know what to do about it. Well, there's someone in Washington who has both the desire and the ability to do something about corrupt government officials.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Here for you is a classic example of our FBI in action.
Who is more safe from prosecution than someone in a powerful position in Washington? No one. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation knows its job, and if doing that job means taking on someone who wields power all it means is that it may more time and effort for that job to be done--but done it will be.
Look back to 2005, the year the FBI received an allegation from someone that a sitting member of the U.S. Congress was using his official position to solicit bribes from American companies interested in doing business in Africa.
An investigation was opened into the affairs of then-Congressman William J. Jefferson, D-LA. It was not easy to build a case against Jefferson, but the FBI pulled out all the stops, using sophisticated techniques like cooperating witnesses, consensual monitoring, court-authorized electronic surveillance, video surveillance, and analysis of financial records.
Jefferson's power is demonstrated by the fact that even after the FBI raided his Congressional offices in May 2006, he was re-elected that year. However, when on June 4, 2007, a federal grand jury indicted Jefferson on sixteen felony charges related to corruption and he ran again for office, he was defeated by Republican Joseph Cao on December 6, 2008.
FBI case agent Tim Thibault of the Washington Field Office deserves credit for stressing the importance of a cooperating witness in the Jefferson case. A Virginia businesswoman, he says, "Came to us saying that Congressman Jefferson offered to use his congressional office to assist her company in an international business deal in exchange for a percentage ownership of her company." Fitted with a body recorder, the brave woman provided the FBI with solid information regarding her interactions with the congressman and other co-conspirators.
Jefferson, the most senior Democrat to lose election in 2008, was tried and convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 13 years in federal prison. Despite his appeals, and the fact that he spent $5 million legal fees over the next 4 years, Jefferson surrendered to the Bureau of Prisons in Beaumont, Texas, last May to begin serving the longest sentence ever handed down to a Congressman.
Only the best can bring down the high and mighty, and in the Federal Bureau of Investigation we have the best.
By the way, just as an aside, from inside prison Jefferson has applied for bankruptcy.
That says something. I'm just not quite sure what it means.
Why is it I sense a bit of doubt out there? Somebody got a natural distrust of anything federal?
Yes, I believe that there is a widespread, genuine mistrust of all federal government. The case you mention is a good example of graft and mismanagement of federal money. It also illustrates the way that power is abused by federal officers. Kudos to the FBI...!
It's good that we have at least one agency that we can trust. The FBI, as you can see if you go to the string starting with 229, says that government corruption is their Number One priority. I won't try to explain why. They explain it on that string, and they do a lot better job of it than I ever could.
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