The government has detailed two new corruption allegations against Rep. William J. Jefferson. Jefferson is accused in 2002 of asking a lobbyist for an oil company to pay $10,000 a month to a family member in exchange for his help to promote business in Africa. The lobbyist refused. In the second allegation, Jefferson is accused of securing a deal with a rocket launch and technology company to do business for NASA in exchange to pay his family business and a relative for his help. The government alleges that in 2002 Jefferson, a Democrat, asked a lobbyist for a U.S. oil services company for payments of $10,000 a month for a family member. In exchange, Jefferson said he would help the company promote business in Africa. The lobbyist turned down the request, according to the document.
The allegations are are very much like those already in the criminal indictment. The government has indicated that it will not seek new indictments. It will likely seek to add the allegations to the trial, however, as proof of a pattern. The first of the new allegations would likely be challenged under the same claims raised earlier by Jefferson’s counsel: it is not corruption or a conspiracy to do work outside of Congress that is not directly related to legislative work. Jefferson has argued that he was merely freelancing. Thus, a promise to help in a private matter in return for a job for a relative would not constitute bribery. The second allegation however does raise some official duty issues. For that reason it is surprising that it was not added to the criminal complaint. NASA is a government agency and the deal was allegedly successful.For the full story, click here