Jefferson Holds on

Funny how attached to his job Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) seems – now that he’s under investigation.

It’s been hinted since the beginning of the week that the Dem leadership would make a bid to push Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) out of his plum committee position. He’s on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over taxes, trade, Medicare, etc.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made her play yesterday, which prompted a defiant response from Jefferson:

“I will not give up a committee assignment that is so vital to New Orleans at this crucial time for any uncertain, long-term political strategy…. None of the matters reported to be under scrutiny involves issues under jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee,” Jefferson said.

“Therefore, such a request (to step down) would be even more perplexing and unreasonable. If I agreed, it would unfairly punish the people of the 2nd Congressional district and I will not stand for that.”

He said a request to give up the Ways and Means post would be “discriminatory” because no other member under investigation has been required to give up a major committee assignment.

So Jefferson’s not stepping aside so easily.

I can’t help comparing such tenacity with his remark to the FBI informant, Lori Mody, that he’s just sticking around Congress to push through a telecom deal (of which he was getting a fat cut): “I’m gonna get your deal out of the way… and I probably won’t last long after that.”

How times change.