Democratic Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana's 2nd District is primed to win reelection to a 10th term in the U.S. House. Due to the destructive hurricane season, the general election was put off until December 6. The Louisiana Second is a heavily leaning Democratic district composed of a majority of African American voters. Jefferson will likely beat Republican lawyer Anh “Joseph” Cao after surviving a crowded Democratic primary on October 4.
So, who cares? Well, Jefferson has been indicted 16 counts of assorted criminal charges and is infamous for the $90,000 Justice Department officials discovered wrapped in foil in his freezer as part of a bribery and corruption investigation. Jefferson is also known for commandeering National Guard troops to bring him to his Hurricane Katrina-damaged house to gather belongings while survivors waited on their sweltering rooftops hoping to be rescued.
According to CQ: "The 61-year-old Jefferson is awaiting trial on federal bribery and corruption charges. Even before his indictment in June 2007, the House Democratic leadership removed him from the prestigious Ways and Means Committee — prompted by the Justice Department investigation into his activities, which included a highly publicized allegation that Jefferson had foil-wrapped $90,000 in bribe money and stored it in a freezer. The 16 counts on which Jefferson stands indicted include soliciting bribes, corruption, money laundering, obstruction of justice, wire fraud and racketeering. The case centers on an accusation that he sought and accepted bribes to be paid to a family member in return for his official assistance in promoting business deals in Africa." Jefferson's brother, sister, and niece have also been indicted in the case.
Even if Jefferson wins reelection, he may not survive the 111th Congress if he is found guilty of any of the charges pending against him. As I said before in the Ted Stevens (R-AK) situation, it's hard to cast votes from a jail cell.