Add to My Yahoo!

Republicans in Congress assail FBI, Admin over raid of Dem's office

Published: Tuesday May 23, 2006

Print This | Email This

The Republican Speaker of the House has lashed out the Justice Department--and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales--over the raid of a Democratic Congressman's Office, RAW STORY has learned

Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) strongly-worded statement after the FBI raided the office of Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) Saturday night. In the raid, FBI agents sought out information that, according to Republican leadership, was already under pending subpoenaes.

Hastert and others have questioned the constitutionality of the raid, given the separation of powers between branches of government. "It would appear that the Attorney General himself was aware that Separation of Powers concerns existed and that the Justice Department was treading on Constitutionally suspect grounds," Hastert told the press, "because in seeking the warrant the FBI suggested to the judge special procedures it would follow to deal with Constitutionally protected materials. However, it is not at all clear to me that it would even be possible to create special procedures that would overcome the Constitutional problems that the execution of this warrant has created."

In a release issued Tuesday, Hastert characterized the incident as a serious assault on the legislative branch by the executive. "Insofar as I am aware, since the founding of our Republic 219 years ago, the Justice Department has never found it necessary to do what it did Saturday night, crossing this Separation of Powers line, in order to successfully prosecute corruption by Members of Congress." Though Hastert says he is still waiting for all details relating to the case to become available, he asserts that, "Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there was any necessity to change the precedent established over those 219 years."

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) called the incident an "invasion of the legislative branch," telling the Associated Press that Congress would address the issue in some way.

"I've got to believe at the end of the day it's going to end up across the street at the Supreme Court," Boehner concluded.