Why the GOP agrees with William Jefferson (D., LA)
The Hill notes the GOP's misgivings of the weekend search:
Republicans should have been elated in the days after the FBI raided the Capitol Hill office of Democratic Rep. William Jefferson (La.), but instead some were bristling, suggesting that the first-time-ever search of a sitting congressman’s office may violate the constitutional separation of powers.In the extreme execution of executive power -- beyond the scope of the Constitution, I can think of few rivals to George W. Bush.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) told a wire service yesterday that he was “very concerned” about the constitutionality of the search and had queried the Senate legal counsel to look into it.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) sent an e-mail to Capitol Hill Republicans on Sunday night decrying the FBI’s actions.
“What happened Saturday night ... is the most blatant violation of the Constitutional Separation of Powers in my lifetime,” Gingrich fumed, after having seen news of the search on CNN. “The President should respond accordingly and should discipline (probably fire) whoever exhibited this extraordinary violation. ... As a former Speaker of the House, I am shaken by this abuse of power.”
The comments showed that congressional Republicans were more concerned about possible infringement on the authority of the legislative branch than on fueling the flames now circulating around Jefferson.
The raid of Jefferson’s office in the Rayburn House Office Building is the latest in a string of FBI searches conducted in the Jefferson investigation. The FBI executed search warrants on Jefferson’s homes in Washington and Louisiana and his car at the Capitol in August of last year. It also raided the New Orleans office of his campaign treasurer.