Monday, July 10, 2006

FBI Raid of Congressional Office Legal

Stepping away for a minute from the on-going allegations of corruption in Connecticut, a federal judge has ruled that the FBI's raid on Representative William Jefferson's (D-La.) congressional office did not violate the Speech and Debate Clause.

See here (And yes, I have purposefully linked to FOX News for all of you to enjoy).

In the opinion, Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan stated: "Congress' capacity to function effectively is not threatened by permitting congressional offices to be searched pursuant to validly issued search warrants," said Hogan, who had approved the FBI's request to conduct the overnight search of Jefferson's office."

I have not read the complete opinion yet, but I do find this comment troubling because of the potentially sensitive information that a congressman/woman or senator may have in their possession. I'm looking forward to seeing if Judge Hogan's opinion addresses this issue.

Source, FOX News website, Judge Rules FBI Raid on Rep. Jefferson's Office Was Legal, July 10, 2006

12 comments:

ctblogger said...

Welcome to Connecitcut Local Poltics?

The True Gentleman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ctblogger said...

Come on man, take a joke. I see what you're saying...just ribbing you.

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

Well-written opinion by Judge Hogan. Spends most of his analysis on the speech or debate clause. Jefferson's principle argument was that the surprise search did not give him ample opportunity to segregate his privileged material from his non-privileged material. The judge was shall we say, very practical in his explanation about why that sort of approach would not work.

It would have been like delegating to Nixon the authority to decide which tapes to turn over.

TrueGent, I think you're being too subtle in defense of this post. I do think that prospectively, the lesson to Congressmen is to have a secret lair with a safe somewhere outside their office for storing illicitly-gained cash and documentation.

The True Gentleman said...

ctblogger, let me explain to you how this important to Connecticut Local Politics. First, whether the executive branch has the authority to search a legislative office has implications for all citizens (and that includes Connecticut) concerning how our government operates. Second, one of our congressman (John Larson) is linked to Representative Jefferson, and any documents reviewed from Rep. Jefferson's office could have some sort of link to Rep. Larson (I am not suggesting that Rep. Larson has done anything improper). Third, if we are going to endlessly debate the Iraq conflict on this site, why can't we also consider the implications of allowing the executive branch to search the writings of the legislative branch.

The True Gentleman said...

ctblogger, now I'm realizing I'm fired up. I removed my first comment and decided to explain to you why it is important, and now I see you've responded by saying it was a joke. Too much coffee for me today - I'm wired. Sorry.

ctblogger said...

No prob.

Actually, this ruling is VERY scary for obvious reasons.

If this ruling stands, we're living in danergous times indeed.

BRubenstein said...

I hope this stands up..i dont think its a big imposition on the effect of a seperate branch....and if the warrant is valid...crooked congressfolks should comply...why should someone be imune simply by being in congress? To be immune from a valid warrant would set up a situation in which someone could be a permanent crook..knowing that his papers would be able to be gotten too...then..you would really see crime in the capitol's...lmao

CTPatriot said...

Am I reading correctly here that the same judge Hogan who initially approved the FBI's search warrant also got to decide whether his granting of that warrant was legal or not?

Banana Republic what?

The True Gentleman said...

Good catch, CTPatriot. It is the same judge...

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

There's a stay right now anyway pending appeal.

The True Gentleman said...

When did they file the appeal? I just checked the news sites and didn't see that one had been filed yet.