Saturday, September 09, 2006

Government corruption knows no bounds

Well...I guess this sad commentary about corporate government, reminds us that the scope of corruption knows no bounds. Here is congressman William Jefferson, Democrat-La, using his position to promote the business of his friend, and accepting large amounts of money to do so. We must keep in mind that there are also some Democrats that must be replaced in the upcoming elections. While it is important to gain a Democratic majority in congress and the senate, "We The People" must be informed about our local leaders, and replace corrupted office holders with honest and legitimate government.

Vernon L. Jackson, left, pleaded guilty to bribing U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, who had $90,000 in cash in a freezer at his D.C. home.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- A Kentucky businessman who admitted paying more than $400,000 in bribes to a Louisiana congressman was sentenced Friday to more than seven years in prison.

Vernon Jackson, 54, of Louisville, is a key figure in the federal investigation of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La. The chief executive of the telecommunications firm iGate Inc. said he paid the bribes to gain the congressman's help in obtaining business deals in Africa.

The bribes paid by Jackson, including stocks and cash paid to a company controlled by Jefferson's family, had a value of $400,000 to $1 million, according to court records.

The congressman has not been charged but court records allege the FBI caught Jefferson on videotape taking a $100,000 cash bribe from an FBI informant who agreed to have her conversations with the congressman taped. Most of that money later turned up in a freezer in Jefferson's home.

The bribes paid by Jackson are separate from the $100,000 found in the freezer.

Jackson did not speak during the hearing and declined to comment afterward. He has previously expressed remorse for his conduct.

The seven-year, three-month sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III was at the low end of federal sentencing guidelines. Prosecutor Mark Lytle said Jackson was continuing to cooperate in the investigation, and his sentence could later be reduced. He will not begin serving his sentence until January.

Jefferson was never mentioned by name in Friday's hearing, but prosecutors have made it clear in court papers that he is the congressman to whom Jackson paid bribes.

Jefferson has denied any wrongdoing. His lawyer, Robert Trout, suggested Jackson is lying to garner leniency from prosecutors.

''Congressman Jefferson knows well the pressure that the Department of Justice can apply once it targets someone for criminal prosecution. As Jackson's plea bargain makes clear, the government has offered powerful inducements to cause Jackson to plead guilty. He has every reason to expect that his sentence will be substantially reduced depending on his testimony against the congressman,'' Trout said.

The government's investigation of Jefferson has been delayed by the furor that resulted from the Justice Department's decision to raid Jefferson's congressional office earlier this year.

Jefferson claims that his status as a congressman grants him immunity from executive branch search warrants. The Justice Department has not yet reviewed the documents it seized from the office while the issue is being litigated.

A former congressional aide of Jefferson was sentenced to eight years in prison after admitting that he helped broker some of the bribes paid to Jefferson


Behind the cash in the freezer

Scandal follows a Louisville businessman's dealings with a Louisiana congressman

By Sharon Walsh Posted on Sun, Aug. 20,


Va. Woman Wore a Wire In Rep. Jefferson Inquiry

By Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 9, 2006; Page A03

A wary Northern Virginia investor agreed to cooperate with the FBI in a public corruption investigation of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) and wear a "wire while engaged in face-to-face meetings with the Congressman," according to a court document filed yesterday.

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