Should Congressional Offices Be Off Limits to Federal Investigators?

Your tax dollars at work: Congress is drafting legislation to keep federal officials investigating criminal cases from searching their offices. Wait a minute: that sure sounds like special privileges for some.

Yes, the Constitution prohibits members of Congress from being questioned “…for any Speech or Debate in either House.” According to many people in Congress that means they and their offices are off limits, even if they are suspected of criminal activities. This just smells funny.

It all stems from a yearlong corruption investigation of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La. While searching his home in Louisiana, FBI agents claim they caught him hiding documents connecting him to an officer at the company suspected of bribing the congressman. They wanted to see if he had more documents at his Washington, D.C., office and raided it after not being able to gain the congressman’s approval to search it.

Keep watching this. Is this the "culture of corruption" that Howard Dean was talking about?

On the illegal immigration front: In Butler County, Indiana, sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about a fight between illegal Mexican construction workers and American construction workers at a building site in Wayne Township. Deputies arrested the 18 illegal immigrants, questioned them and released them later that day. The sheriff says he feels the detentions were legitimate because he thinks state tax law might have been broken. They have now seized a computer and data storage devices from the construction company. The ACLU says the sheriff went too far and that only federal immigration officials should have been able to investigate.

Also, the Violent Crimes Institute of Atlanta, Georgia, conducted a 12-month study of sex crimes committed by illegal immigrants from 1999 to April 2006. It concluded that there are almost a quarter-million illegal immigrants in the U.S. who are sex offenders. Each sex offender averaged four victims over the 88-month study. In numerous cases the illegal immigrants typically gained access to the young victims after having worked as a day laborer at or near the victim’s homes. The average victim age was 6 years old.

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See you in the morning.

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