House Punishes Rep. Jefferson
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
WASHINGTON – House Democrats, determined to make an election year point about ethics, voted 99-58 yesterday night to strip Rep. William Jefferson of his committee assignment while a federal bribery investigation runs its course.
The rank and file acted despite a last-minute plea by the embattled Louisiana lawmaker and persistent complaints from the Congressional Black Caucus that there was neither rule nor precedent for the action.
Mr. Jefferson has not been indicted and maintains his innocence. In remarks to reporters, he conceded that “serious allegations” swirl around him.
After weeks of defiance, he also left open the possibility that he might at last surrender the seat voluntarily before the issue reaches the House floor for final action. “I don’t want to speculate,” he said.