Patterico's Pontifications

6/10/2007

Jefferson: Freezer Money Was Really the FBI’s

Filed under: Crime,Scum — Patterico @ 1:34 pm

If you’re going to lie, you might as well come up with a doozy:

[Rep. William J.] Jefferson [(D-La.)], who was indicted on charges that he used the power of his office to enrich himself and his family, emerged from U.S. District Court here with rhetorical guns blazing. “I’m going to fight my heart out to clear my name,” he said.

The case against Jefferson became notorious after it was disclosed that the congressman, according to the indictment, accepted $100,000 in marked bills from an investor in a fledgling digital technology firm. The indictment said Jefferson told the investor, who had agreed to cooperate with the FBI, that the money would gain him access to the Nigerian market. The FBI later reported finding $90,000 of the marked bills wrapped in foil and “concealed inside various frozen food containers” in a freezer in Jefferson’s home.

“The $90,000 was the FBI’s money,” Jefferson said Friday in his first public explanation. “The FBI gave it to me as part of its plan — part of their plan — that I would give it to the Nigerian vice president, but I did not do that.

Good enough for me.

And probably good enough for the voters in his district.

55 Responses to “Jefferson: Freezer Money Was Really the FBI’s”

  1. “And probably good enough for the voters in his district.”

    One hopes not.

    Christoph (bad4f9)

  2. Well, as nearly as I can tell, the explanation of the Distinguished Gentleman from the Second District of Louisiana has just said that he stole the money from the FBI!

    He claims that he was given the money to do a job for the FBI — which means that in accepting the money, he accepted the job — and then he not only failed to do the job, but also kept the money!

    So, just what kind of felony charges would stealing $90,000 from the FBI get you? :)

    Dana (556f76)

  3. You’re going to find this very hard to believe, but his usual voters aren’t the ones who put him back into office last election. Two people made it to the runoff – Jefferson, and Karen Carter. (It’s widely believed that Carter is in the “hasn’t yet been caught” category.)

    So we had three groups of voters.
    1. People who really did want Jefferson.
    2. People who suspect Carter is also corrupt, and voted for Jefferson in the hope he goes to jail and we get a decent appointment instead. This is possible because it’s expected that Bobby Jindal will be La’s next governor. They didn’t want to risk Carter becoming entrenched the way incumbents so often do.
    3. People who voted against Carter at the behest of Sheriff Harry Lee. Lee is Sheriff in neighboring Jefferson Parish which is largely white. (My parish, btw.) He’s been Sheriff for decades. Karen Carter appeared in the Spike Lee propaganda piece to accuse Lee’s deputies of all sorts of things, including racism for not letting people on foot cross the Mississippi River bridge after Katrina. Lee basically said “Nuts!” to that and worked hard to get out the white vote to beat Carter.

    There’s plenty of overlap in groups 2 and 3. So basically you have white suburbian voters egged on by a Chinese guy who are largely responsible for Jefferson’s re-election. Politics here since Katrina defy the normal storylines.

    Laura (087c0d)

  4. And I thought the politics around the election of Obama here in Illinois were strange…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  5. Hey, Patterico, this is off topic and I apologize for posting it here, but I’ve never been able to get an email through to you… which is why I hope you put in a “contact” form as I recommended earlier!

    Anyway, this is a great article and I think you should read and post on it.

    It would be an interesting discussion.

    Christoph (bad4f9)

  6. When Cheney was head of Halliburton, he bribed Nigerian government officials (they supply quite a bit of oil to the U.S.) and he’s still in office.

    I can’t see the difference between Cheney’s actions and what Jefferson “might” have done some at time in the future.

    Maybe a legal expert can explain?

    Seems like an imginary case should be much weaker than a real one.

    alphie (015011)

  7. Seems like an imginary case should be much weaker than a real one.

    That’s why Jefferson’s facing an indictment and Cheney’s not — the imaginary case against Cheney is much, much weaker than the real one against Jefferson.

    Rob Crawford (46b1a4)

  8. “…good enough for the voters in his district.”
    Are those the ones in Houston now?
    And, his jury will be from suburban Virginia, not his district.

    Laura: Replacements for Congressmen unable to fill their terms are elected by the voters in Special Elections. Only Senators are appointed by Governors to fill the unexpired term until the next general election.

    I think there is a very good chance that Rep. Jefferson will, like Adam Clayton Powell, represent his constituents while he spends a long vacation in the Fed. lock-up. There is no constitutional requirement to resign upon conviction for this type of crime, the House would have to expell him (don’t hold your breath).

    Another Drew (4d2fc0)

  9. Christoph,

    Check the email address on the sidebar. It’s gmail. It works.

    I like the article. But I’m confused by this passage:

    “We just don’t have enough data to say anything,” said Justin Wolfers, an economist at the Wharton School of Business who last year co-authored a sweeping critique of several studies, and said they were “flimsy” and appeared in “second-tier journals.”

    “This isn’t left vs. right. This is a nerdy statistician saying it’s too hard to tell,” Wolfers said. “Within the advocacy community and legal scholars who are not as statistically adept, they will tell you it’s still an open question. Among the small number of economists at leading universities whose bread and butter is statistical analysis, the argument is finished.”

    It sounds like x in the first paragraph, and “not x” in the second. What am I missing?

    Patterico (eeb415)

  10. Rob,

    The $180,000,000 in bribes Halliburton paid to Nigerian officials is a very real case:

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/13ff267a-264e-11db-afa1-0000779e2340.html

    If Jefferson still had the money, how could he have baid the bribes?

    alphie (015011)

  11. I got an email the other day about an opportunity in Nigeria that sounded almost exactly like this. I think I deleted it. What a fool I was.

    Stephen Macklin (68591a)

  12. First off, I like your attempt to raise the amount Alphie. The article say 170m, not 180…

    Second, it’s a subsidiary of Hal, not Cheney.

    How do you get by in life making these kinda leaps?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  13. Oh, okay, thanks, I had tried the Patterico.com one before and could never get through. Will use the gmail one in the future.

    As far as your question goes, I admit I’m confused.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was imprecise writing by the AP reporter or maybe a quote taken out of context. Or perhaps even Wolfers hasn’t made up his mind.

    What he seems to be saying in the second para. at least is that serious scientists in statistical analysis believe capital punishment serves as a deterrent.

    But, yes, the para. before that indicates uncertainty.

    At any rate, the article seems interesting enough to be thrown out there for discussion. What do you think?

    Christoph (bad4f9)

  14. Laura: Replacements for Congressmen unable to fill their terms are elected by the voters in Special Elections. Only Senators are appointed by Governors to fill the unexpired term until the next general election.

    My mistake, although a common one around here. Most folks assume he’ll be replaced. Even if he’s not, groups 2 and 3 would still call that an improvement over Carter. Except for the hard-core types who insist that the levees were blown, she ticked off a LOT of people with her comments in the film.

    Laura (087c0d)

  15. Scott,

    89 million pounds on the day the story was written was worth $170 million.

    Today it is worth $180 million.

    Almost to the penny.

    And do you really think a subsidiary of Halliburton could dole out $180 million in bribes without checking with the head office?

    alphie (015011)

  16. Actually, if you read between the lines, Jefferson is putting forth the essence of what his defense is going to be — entrapment.

    He’s claiming that the FBI set up the entire episode, with the intent to persuade him to do something he wouldn’t do — extend the bribe to a Nigerian official. The fact that the money was still in his freezer is evidence of his unwillingness to go along with what he understood to be a criminal conspiracy. He didn’t know the FBI was behind it until it became public, he’s simply going to claim that he refused to further the conspiracy once he realized they wanted him to forward a bribe.

    Now, at this point in the proceedings, Mr. Jefferson has not yet heard/seen all the evidence against him. I suspect there are lots of recorded conversations that will betray his words on the courthouse steps. It should be fun to watch.

    WLS (077d0d)

  17. Bribes…
    Well, you would have to budget for it somewhere…probably as an operating contingency (sort of like completing any type of project in an East-Coast city in the US). BTW, what was the total value of the contract that this $170M bribe was to secure?

    Another Drew (4d2fc0)

  18. What a novel defense! “I didn’t take a bribe. I only stole the FBI’s money.”

    DRJ (2d5e62)

  19. And do you really think a subsidiary of Halliburton could dole out $180 million in bribes without checking with the head office?

    It doesn’t say a subsidiary of Halliburton paid a bribe. It says a consortium is being investigated for paying a bribe. One member of the consortium was MW Kellogg, a British joint venture in which Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary has a 55 per cent stake. Rather more disconnected from Cheney than you made it sound if in fact the allegation is true.

    Why exactly is the allegation against Jefferson not real?

    Gerald A (6b39c1)

  20. “Why exactly is the allegation against Jefferson not real?”

    That Jefferson borrowed some money from the FBI and missed a payment, so was arrested?

    I personally think he has a hell of a lawsuit. It seems his rights as a consumer were violated. Is there any proof that the FBI even served him with notice he was in default?

    Christoph (bad4f9)

  21. If the FBI gives me $100,000, like Representative Jefferson, I too will valiantly resist giving this money to the Nigerian Vice President.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  22. According to the article, Jefferson took $100,000 of the FBI’s money. If the $90,000 found in his freezer was put there for, uh, safekeeping, what became of the other ten? Does anyone know the congressman’s explanation for that?

    (I haven’t followed this story, so my question is expository.)

    Paul (501161)

  23. Maybe he repaid the other $10,000 earlier?

    All I can say is the FBI has a lot of nerve for charging a successful congressman for being a bit late on a loan repayment.

    Since the leant him the money, they should have shown a bit more patience in collecting it. Why didn’t they just write him a letter instead of barging into his home and raiding his fridge?

    That’s just rude. Not even Capital One does that.

    Christoph (bad4f9)

  24. Gerald,

    Because bribing a Nigerian official doesn’t actually seem to be a crime for an American.

    I mean, the U.S. government has paid Halliburton over $30,000,000,000 in war pork over the past 4 years.

    If they really wanted Halliburton to cooperate with their “investigation” of the bribe alligations…they had the biggest leverage in the history of government investigations…and didn’t bother to use it.

    alphie (015011)

  25. oh Christoph… You’ve redeemed yourself… That’s just all too damn funny…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  26. $30B? That’s a sweet business.

    That’s lots of pork… for example, dinners (including pork) for our soldiers and fuel for their combat vehicles.

    Thank God for Halliburton.

    Christoph (bad4f9)

  27. Maybe he can claim that he was keeping the money because he liked the pictures of dead white presidents.

    huey (76a6ac)

  28. “If they really wanted Halliburton to cooperate with their “investigation” of the bribe alligations…they had the biggest leverage in the history of government investigations…and didn’t bother to use it.”

    Alphie, do you even have a clue to how much would never get done in this world without Halliburton?

    There are few companys in the world that can accomplish what Halliburton has in the last fifty years, but don’t let that get in the way of your ad hominem-solipsism.

    Cheney=bad, Boosh=bad, Corporations=bad

    Liberal meantality at it’s finest……

    Rovin (7f64b8)

  29. It’s more than a stretch to tie Nigerian corruption to Mr. Cheney regardless of what one might think about him or his tenure as the VP. To allege that Mr. Cheney “bribed Nigerian government officials” is pure “hyperbolic” poppycock.

    It’s fair to criticize Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney for the conduct of the war in Iraq. I suppose it’s also somewhat fair, though counterproductive, to dislike them. However, to allege that Mr. Cheney “bribed Nigerian government officials” is plainly and simply slanderous. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    From the Financial Times. Here’s what the article claims is under investigation.

    What the SFO is investigating

    ■ The SFO investigation comes after the launch of investigations by a French magistrate, the US Department of Justice and Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

    ■ Investigators are looking into allegations that TSKJ, the plant’s main construction consortium for the past decade, agreed between 1994 and 2003 to pay more than $170m in bribes to win billions of dollars of building work.

    ■ One of the consortium members is MW Kellogg, a British joint venture in which Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary has a 55 per cent stake. The other companies involved are JGC of Japan, Technip of France and Italy’s Snamprogetti

    ■ The payments in question were made by the consortium to an offshore company controlled by Jeffrey Tesler, a London-based lawyer, who has declined to comment. His lawyer has denied the money was used for bribes.

    ■ The contracts are for services such as promoting the consortium, advising on contractors and helping to maintain good relations with the client, government authorities and business representatives. They include a no-bribery clause

    ■ Halliburton has severed ties with two former employees including Jack Stanley, a former KBR chairman, for allegedly receiving ‘improper personal benefit’

    ■ Halliburton has said minutes of internal meetings show the consortium had ‘considered payments to Nigerian officials.

    Wikipedia provides a balanced treatment of KBR.

    Halliburton essentially sold KBR in April of this year because of its lack of profitability. Much has been made of the supposed Cheney-Halliburton connection and associated alleged corruption, all of which is demonstrably false.

    What we have here is yet another example of criminalizing politics.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  30. And Alphie, did you know that a company named CC Myers (employee owned) completed a section of hiway that colapsed in a record 17 days and recieved 5 million in bonuses? linkhttp://rovinsworld.blogspot.com/2007/06/now-this-is-how-you-get-it-done.html

    Maybe Cheney worked for them too? Ya think?

    Rovin (7f64b8)

  31. How come he didn’t say that it wasn’t his freezer? (Follow the link, too.)

    nk (c66fe9)

  32. NK,

    That was a funny link but I guess Cong. Jefferson never saw it or he surely would have claimed the money wasn’t his, it was Sumdood’s.

    DRJ (2d5e62)

  33. Investigators are looking into allegations that TSKJ, the plant’s main construction consortium for the past decade, agreed between 1994 and 2003 to pay more than $170m in bribes to win billions of dollars of building work.

    ■ One of the consortium members is MW Kellogg, a British joint venture in which Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary has a 55 per cent stake.

    Anyone notice that it wasn’t KBR that paid $170 million as alleged? KBR owns a majority share of Kellog (a joint venture), one of the consortium members. The consortium is alleged to have paid $170 million. From this cited article it would appear that KBR may not have paid a bribe at all, let alone Halliburton and certainly not Mr. Cheney.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  34. Harry, Haliburton was mentioned, therefore they are guilty.

    And everyone, please not it was a FRENCH investigation that started this mess… The same country who we locked out of contracts in Iraq (Haliburton’s main global compitition is a french company), and who benifited from a LOT of illegal oil sales during the sanctions after the first Gulf War…

    No reason for them to try and stick it to the Big H… No reason at all…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  35. Much as I appreciate the display of right-wing moral relativism being offered up in defense of Halliburton here, I was just asking if bribing a Nigerian official is really a crime.

    If it is, why hasn’t the U.S. government witheld payments to Halliburton until they cough the documents?

    alphie (015011)

  36. i have an email from nigeria promising me 26 million dollars. i would be willing to assign all rights in this position in exchange for $100,000 in fbi money.

    assistant devil's advocate (e52844)

  37. Alphie, a couple of points:

    1) Bribing Nigerian officials is a crime in the USA, under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It’s a stupid and destructive law, but it is the law. If Halliburton, or Dick Cheney personally, were to bribe Nigerian officials, that would be a crime prosecutable in USAn courts. But for a UK company to bribe Nigerian officials isn’t a crime in the USA, and I don’t know that it’s a crime in the UK either; it’s not clear from the FT article what exactly is being investigated. So if Halliburton’s UK subsidiary were to have bribed Nigerian officials, with Cheney’s full knowledge and consent, there’d still be nothing wrong with it, at least as far as USA law is concerned, and quite possibly as far as UK law is concerned as well. But were William Jefferson to bribe Nigerian officials he’d be in breach of the FCPA.

    2. In any case, all of the above is irrelevant. You seem, for some reason, to be under the impression that Jefferson is being charged with bribing the Nigerians, or planning to do so, and so you bring in the KBR story. But he isn’t. He’s charged with accepting a bribe. The charge is that that money was to go into his own pocket, in return for him fixing things with the Nigerians, in his capacity as a Congressman. If he can legally do that sort of thing, he’s supposed to do it for free; he’s not allowed to enrich himself by taking bribes to do his job. And if he can’t legally do that sort of thing, then he’s certainly not allowed to take money in return for doing it illegally.

    3. Now he seems to be claiming that this wasn’t a bribe to him, it was a bribe that he was supposed to pass on to the Nigerians, but he kept it instead. So his defense on the charge of accepting bribes is that instead he’s a thief! I’m not quite sure why he thinks that’s an improvement.

    The bottom line is that your Halliburton story, even if it were 100% true, would have nothing to do with this case. It’s a red herring to even mention it.

    Milhouse (ef8775)

  38. Milhouse,

    I’m not a law talkin’ guy, but I can’t see the difference between an American company, through a U.K. subsidiary, bribing Nigerian official and a U.S. Congressman bribing Nigerian offcials.

    Using your reasoning, couldn’t Jefferson just say he was gonna pass the money to the Nigerian official via a friend in the U.K. and be as clean as Cheney?

    alphie (015011)

  39. Much as I appreciate the display of right-wing moral relativism being offered up in defense of Halliburton here, I was just asking if bribing a Nigerian official is really a crime.

    No, you appreciate creating a strawman with a red herring in his pocket, by which you’ve libeled Mr. Cheney. There is no “right-wing moral relativism” here. You made a ridiculous assertion not supported by any facts you’ve presented and we corrected you.

    Now that Milhouse has answered your rhetorical question regarding your “moral equivalence” argument, you’re still either unwilling or incapable of following the facts, as opposed to your preconceived notion that Cong. Jefferson’s activities were really no different than those of Mr. Cheney in his duties at Halliburton.

    Not very intellectually rigorous or honest of you, “law talkin’ guy” or not.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  40. I think Jefferson should use the Richard Pryor caught-in-the-act defense:

    “Honey, who are you going to believe… me, or your lyin’ eyes?”

    Works just as well as “it’s the FBI’s money.”

    If he really wanted to avoid conviction at the hands of a D.C. jury, all he needs to do is allege it’s a Rovian setup to smear Valerie Plame in her heroic efforts to stop Bush’s War on Terror. That should be enough to avoid conviction…

    Al Maviva (89d0b6)

  41. I mean, the U.S. government has paid Halliburton over $30,000,000,000 in war pork over the past 4 years.

    The financial statements for HAL only show $39B for the last 4 years. Effectively, 80% of revenue from single customer – not very plausible.

    joe kosanda (8b9bf7)

  42. Joe,

    Halliburton uses the equity method of accounting to report revenue from its subsidiaries. The percentage it owns of a subsidiary is also applied to any revenue that subsidiary reports. There’s a lot of wiggle room in this kind of accounting. Revenue and profit can be…adjusted quite easily (see Enron).

    Here’s an article talking about Halliburton’s contracts from 2003 which shows a potential for $16 billion for Iraq alone (no Afghanistan, Djibouti, Kuwait, etc.):

    http://tinyurl.com/3ca8gy

    alphie (015011)

  43. You’d have rather those contracts go to the french then, Alphie?

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  44. Scott,

    I gotta laugh when I see Republican nationalistic patriotism defending corporate welfare.

    Funny that same Republican patriotism never defends jobs held by American workers.

    “It’s your patriotic duty to give up your job to a Chinese workers.”

    “Take one for the team, Mr. & Mrs. Middle Class American!”

    Halliburton is now a Kuwaiti company, btw:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/17565990

    alphie (015011)

  45. You have to have a heart first before you can fight for it…

    hebegeebee (b34465)

  46. Alphie – What was your screen name before the last time you were banned on this site?

    What kind of deal have you worked out with Patrick this time?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  47. Sounds like it’s time to bring back the “Drink ‘Till Nagin Makes Sense” T-shirts.

    PCachu (e072b7)

  48. All 17 citizens resident in Jefferson’s district voted for him as did a majority of tombstones, illegal aliens, cartoon characters and other Democrats.

    Ken Hahn (8d1f53)

  49. If being a complete dumbfuck paid an hourly wage alphie would be a wealthy man. His persistence is exceeded only by his ignorence. Try again, idiot, Halliburton is changing HQ to Dubai, not Kuwait. If you can’t get this right why should we believe anything else you spew?

    MikeD (0cf735)

  50. I gotta laugh when I see Republican nationalistic patriotism defending corporate welfare.

    another strawman. You’ve changed the subject from your libel of Mr. Cheney.

    Funny that same Republican patriotism never defends jobs held by American workers.

    “Never”?

    “It’s your patriotic duty to give up your job to a Chinese workers.”

    Why, yes, I posted this exact comment on several different threads just today. Another strawman, so that we can focus on something other than the libelous accusations against Mr. Cheney.

    Halliburton is now a Kuwaiti company … btw:

    Unless I missed something Halliburton is still owned by its stockholders, wherever they reside. Presumably most are still Americans, though I honestly don’t know. I don’t recall its sale to Kuwait, though the citation does indicate a move of corporate headquarters to Dubai. Their primary business is oil and gas exploration after all.

    Further, Halliburton has divested itself of KBR, after 44 years of ownership, because KBR’s financial performance wasn’t up to par. This even with the contracts in Iraq.

    Just to set the record straight I do support American business and capitalism. Who do you think provides the work that allows us to provide for our families? Perhaps if you’re so concerned with low paying jobs in the US you might take a peek at the low cost labor streaming accross the southern border.

    Harry Arthur (707941)

  51. Mr Arthur wrote:

    Perhaps if you’re so concerned with low paying jobs in the US you might take a peek at the low cost labor streaming accross the southern border.

    Mr Arthur, don’t even boter trying to explain anything having to do with economics to a liberal; if liberals really understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals.

    Dana (556f76)

  52. Yes, and to quote a certain radio personality:
    “Truth to a Liberal, is like Kryptonite to Superman”.

    Another Drew (33c3dc)

  53. […] Jefferson: freezer money was really the FBI’s. […]

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