House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has called on Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) to resign his seat on the House Ways & Means Committee. Jefferson is currently under criminal investigation for allegedly accepting bribes to help a technology company win several contracts and business deals. Her letter is below:
Dear Congressman Jefferson:
In the interest of upholding the high ethical standard of the House Democratic Caucus, I am writing to request your immediate resignation from the Ways and Means Committee.
Pelosi recently took a major step towards breaking the 16-month ethics deadlock in the House when she called publicly for an ethics investigation of Jefferson, a member of her own caucus. Pelosi said the ethics committee “should investigate the Democrats and they should investigate the Republicans.” Pelosi’s statement helped end “more than a year of partisan deadlock that blocked any inquiries” in the ethics committee, which subsequently launched an investigation of Jefferson, Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), and the activities of former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA).
Despite the massive ethical problems within his own caucus, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) has not advocated any ethics investigations.
UPDATE: Jefferson rejects Pelosi’s call:
In a statement released by his office, Jefferson said he would not agree to Pelosi’s demand.
“I have received your letter of this date requesting my immediate resignation from the Ways and Means Committee. With respect, I decline to do so,” Jefferson said.