As discussed here recently, House leaders have been united in criticising the FBI’s raid of Congressman Jefferson’s office. Congressional leaders seem to think that allowing an executive branch agency to raid the offices of a legislator is a breach of separation of powers.
Republican leaders have been the loudest critics, despite the fact that the target of the raid was a Democrat. Josh Marshall points out that this raid comes in the context of the ongoing Duke Cunningham bribery investigation, and Republicans are afraid:
And who’s in the crosshairs in this expanded Cunningham investigation? “Several members” of the House Appropriations Committee, reported the Times back on May 12th. And, in particular, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Today, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) spoke out:
I disagree with the bipartisan House leadership criticism of the FBI’s search of a Member’s office. I know nothing specifically about the case, except that the uncontroverted public evidence did seem to justify the issuance of a warrant.
What we now have is a Congressional leadership, the Republican part of which has said it is okay for law enforcement to engage in warrantless searches of the average citizen, now objecting when a search, pursuant to a validly issued warrant, is conducted of a Member of Congress.
[…] for the leadership of this House, which has stood idly by while this administration has ignored the rights of citizens, to then say we have special rights as Members of Congress is wholly inappropriate.
Barney Frank is right, but not only that, he’s spot-on. And notice how he can criticize the actions of some Democrats while still supporting Democratic messages, and without repeating Republican talking points? A certain Senator facing a primary challenge this year could learn something.