You Have To Wonder

June 1, 2006 

In 1994 current Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert signed the Contract With 2007, he destroyed it. 

You have to wonder what kind of a person wins the trust of the American electorate by signing a Contract “to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives” and then heads in the opposite direction. 

Pledging “To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves” Hastert promised to “FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress”.  Yeah Mr. Speaker...when pigs learn to sing. 

When fellow Republican and war hero, Duke Cunningham, was caught with his hand in the till, Hastert immediately blathered that “no one is above breaking our nation's laws including, the Members of Congress who make them. It is my hope that Congressman Cunningham will spend his incarceration thinking long and hard about how he broke the trust of the voters that elected him”. 

But, when shakedown artist Democratic Rep. William Jefferson was caught on tape by the FBI soliciting and accepting bribes...Hastert jumped into bed with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and, in the process, sold the Contract and the American public down the drain. 

This was AFTER Jefferson was filmed by the FBI taking $100,000 in alleged bribe money out of an FBI informant's car and a legal FBI search found $90,000 of that same money (marked serial numbers) in the freezer of Jefferson’s DC home. 

After the Saturday night execution of another valid judicially-issued warrant to search Jefferson’s Congressional office, Hastert and Pelosi joined forces to protest that, “The Justice Department was wrong to seize records from Congressman Jefferson's office in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers, the speech or debate clause of the Constitution, and the practice of the last 219 years”.  They failed to mention that the Constitution does not protect members of Congress from criminal activity. 

Additionally, these Congressional leaders demanded that “the Justice Department must halt review of the documents, make certain that those who have reviewed them do not disclose their contents and make a formal request in court to void the original search warrant”.  In an effort to further stimulate Pelosi at the expense of the electorate, Hastert also demanded that “the F.B.I. agents involved in the search should be taken off the case”. 

I guess this proves that there really are two sides of the aisle in Washington D.C...them and the rest of us.   

In its investigation, the Justice Department (Executive Branch) issued subpoenas to Jefferson (private citizen working as a Congressman) over nine months ago.  Jefferson has refused to comply with those subpoenas. 

Based on glaring probable cause (understatement), the Justice Department applied to Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan, of the United States District Court in Washington, DC (Judicial Branch), for a warrant to search Jefferson’s Congressional office (Legislative Branch). 

Judge Hogan issued a warrant that “provided for extraordinary measures to protect Jefferson's rights and his constitutional status as a congressman.” 

If ex-government and ex-history teacher Hastert can’t recognize that the Justice Department requesting a search warrant from the Judiciary to search a Legislative office isn’t a clear reaffirmation of the separation of powers doctrine than he should become a poster boy for the NEA. 

If the members of Congress (including Hastert) who object to this search on Constitutional grounds didn’t already know how obviously full of crap they are...somebody should tell them so. 

Unless the Constitution provides a separate class of citizenry for elected officials, which it obviously does not, no Constitutional violation resulted from this search.  The Constitution does not protect self-impressed elected officials from criminal activities.  There is no exemption for corruption.   

It’s interesting to note that government employees (including Hastert’s staff) have no “expectation of privacy” in the workplace.  In O'CONNOR v. ORTEGA, 480 U.S. 709 (1987), SCOTUS found “that government searches to retrieve work-related materials or to investigate violations of workplace rules - searches of the sort that are regarded as reasonable and normal in the private-employer context - do not violate the Fourth Amendment.”  How do you spell gander? 

Simple fact...Congress has a real fear of having to live the way they legislate that the average American has to live.  As noted author Judge Andrew Napolitano summed it up, “One of the things that is outraging members of Congress here is that the FBI just came right in and took everything. You know what? That's the way the FBI operates. This is the FBI that they have unleashed on everybody is now going after one of their own. Maybe it's about time they do that.” 

In attempting to make Congress a “class of citizenry apart”, Hastert contends that, “they (Justice) did not work with us to figure out a way to do it (search warrant) consistently with the Constitution. But that is behind us now. I am confident that in the next 45 days, the lawyers will figure out how to do it right.”   

So Speaker Hastert...if the FBI has received a search warrant from a Federal Judge to search a Congressional member’s office for a kidnapped and sexually abused 10 year old; are you, Mr. Speaker, insisting that the FBI first “figure out how to do it right” before rescuing said victim?  Do you really believe that you are that privileged?  

In 2005 House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi pontificated that, “Until the rank-and-file Members break with the culture of corruption, they are all complicit and they all enable.  The American people must object”. 

For once, Pelosi was right...The American people must object. 

Or, at the very least, you have to wonder what dirty secrets Congress wants to hide...even from a valid search warrant.


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