Leave the Documents, Take the Cannolis

Posted June 5, 2007 at 6:45pm



Correction Appended

Monday’s indictment of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) carries with it a cautionary tale for those other Members out there (you know who you are) who might be indicted in the near future — don’t hide stuff from the FBI.

Or rather, if you’re going to hide stuff, be smart about it. [IMGCAP(1)]

Buried among the various counts of bribery-this and racketeering-that in Monday’s indictment of Jefferson lies count No. 15: obstruction of justice.

Now, everyone remembers the FBI’s controversial raid of Jefferson’s Rayburn Building office in 2006 and surely you all know investigators found $90,000 in the freezer of Jefferson’s Washington, D.C., home. But this obstruction charge actually takes us back to a third raid — the Aug. 3, 2005, one on Jefferson’s house in New Orleans.

At that raid, the indictment states, “Defendant JEFFERSON, among other things, attempted to conceal from law enforcement agents … [a] facsimile with attached documents addressed to Defendant JEFFERSON, seeking his input prior to the purchase of telecommunication parts from Korean suppliers for use in telecommunications ventures in Nigeria, Ghana and elsewhere.”

What did Jefferson do with that dastardly facsimile? As press reports last year noted, he pulled the old “hide it in the bag in the living room while the FBI is in the kitchen” trick.

According to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent after the 2005 search, Jefferson stuck the documents under his elbow on the kitchen table, then took them into the living room and stuck them in a bag that already had been searched.

“After several minutes, I approached Congressman Jefferson and told him that I needed to look at the documents that he had placed into the bag,” the FBI agent said. “Congressman Jefferson told me the documents were subpoenas.”

Whoops. So eventually the agent got to see those documents, and of course, they weren’t subpoenas. Now, because of that little ruse, Jefferson faces the possibility of an extra few years in prison on top of his other potential hard time.

Clearly, Jefferson has not watched enough movies. HOH would have preferred if the Congressman, a Harvard graduate, had tried to eat the documents or perhaps — a la “Goodfellas” — flushed them down the toilet. Better luck next time.

It Takes a Hallway. With her presidential campaign picking up steam, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) team apparently has hit upon an ingenious new strategy for picking up support from the offices of the electorally important Ohio Congressional delegation — infiltrate them, then marry into them.

Clinton’s first agent provocateur is Mike Kanick, who used to work for the New York Senator, then toiled on the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) before ending up on the staff of Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), whose office, conveniently enough, is across the hall from Clinton’s on the fourth floor of the Russell Senate Office Building.

Enter conspirator No. 2 — Liz Kelley. She is Clinton’s administrative director, and, in the great tradition of legendary across-the-hall romances, she and Kanick got engaged on New Year’s Eve.

The two lovebirds will be tying the knot in December in Centerport, N.Y., though for strategic purposes HOH would have preferred that they get married in, say, Des Moines or Portsmouth, N.H.

Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines praised the pending union of the two cross-hallway empires.

“We couldn’t be happier with the close proximity of our offices,” he said. “These two were made for each other, and we hope this is the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.

“Plus, it’s great for Liz and Mike, too …”

Diet Week. As avid HOH readers know, last month at least four House Members took up a unique challenge — to eat for a week on the same amount of money that food stamp recipients in their states receive.

Now add to that list D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who kicked off her “Food Stamp Challenge” on Tuesday and will have just $21 to spend on food and drinks through next Monday.

According to a release from her office, Norton will attend a press conference at the Capital Hilton on Thursday morning “to give her progress [update] and test her willpower by not eating at a luncheon she will attend at the hotel following her news conference.”

HOH has been to some official luncheons, and he suspects it won’t be THAT hard for Norton to leave her plate untouched. But he applauds her effort anyway and looks forward to hearing what she spends her daily $3 on. The Members’ Dining Room will probably be a no-go.


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Correction: June 6, 2007

Wednesday’s Heard on the Hill misspelled the name of Liz Kelley, an aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).