Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Seems both Jefferson’s loot and Hastert’s brain require thawing
Angry lawmakers demand FBI return seized documents
Search of congressman's office unconstitutional, they say

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert demanded Wednesday that the FBI surrender documents and other items agents seized on Capitol Hill in what lawmakers said was an unconstitutional raid.

"I think those materials ought to be returned," said Hastert, adding that the FBI agents involved "ought to be frozen out of that (case) for the sake of the Constitution."

The Saturday night search of Rep. William Jefferson's office on Capitol Hill brought Democrats and Republicans together in rare election-year accord, with both parties protesting agency conduct they said violated the Constitution's separation of powers doctrine.

"Not anyone here is above the law," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Tuesday. But, she added, "I think you've seen abuse of power of the executive branch over this weekend."…

FBI agents searched Jefferson's office in pursuit of evidence in a bribery investigation. The search warrant, signed by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan, was based on an affidavit that said agents found $90,000 in cash wrapped and stashed in the freezer of Jefferson's home…
Hastert and the ever-braying Pelosi might want to actually read the constitution
Article I, Section 6.

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.
They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Guess what, Mr. Speaker, bribery is a felony!

The FindLaw website also provides an annotated analysis citing case law concerning this section, for those in congress who don’t want to showcase their ignorance:
Privilege From Arrest

This clause is practically obsolete. It applies only to arrests in civil suits, which were still common in this country at the time the Constitution was adopted. 376 It does not apply to service of process in either civil 377 or criminal cases. 378 Nor does it apply to arrest in any criminal case. The phrase ''treason, felony or breach of the peace'' is interpreted to withdraw all criminal offenses from the operation of the privilege. 379


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