He's A Crook, But He's Our Crook

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Unabashed liberal Democrat (the man works for Media Matters!) Oliver Willis is steaming about the Congressional Black Caucus opening up its wallets for corrupt Rep. William Jefferson – yes, the freezer guy.

Apparently more so than any other of the Democratic coalition, the CBC favors the old and in power over the good. They supported Alcee Hasting's nomination when everyone else said it was dead in the water (it is), and made noise about Rep. Pelosi stripping crooked William Jefferson of his committee assignments.

And now Jefferson is staying ahead of his less bribe-friendly opponent with a big assist from CBC donations – $5000 from the group itself, $8700 from various members of the caucus. This despite the fact that his opponent is a black woman who'd obviously join the caucus if she got to DC, and despite the fact that Jefferson is one of the most economically conservative members of the caucus. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the caucus is weirdly comfortable with a member who supported the bankruptcy reform bill.)

For obvious reasons, no one wants to go after the CBC – the last attempt, by Conor Clarke in TNR, was as harsh a critique I've ever seen, and it was so delicate I had to lay it on my pillow to read it. But really, any congressional caucus that 1) backs a shameless crook like Jefferson, 2) pushes a disgraced former judge as head of the Intelligence Committee, 3) won't tell Julia Carson to retire already, and 4) allowed Cynthia McKinney to be a member for more than five minutes has some serious issues.