A Democratic congressional aide tells ThinkProgress that Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) has informed Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) by letter that he is “temporarily” stepping down from his only committee assignment, on the Small Business Committee, until his legal matter is resolved. It’s not clear whether he was pressured to voluntarily give up his seat.
Yesterday, Jefferson was indicted on 16 charges, including racketeering, solicitation of bribes, honest services wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, violating the foreign corrupt practices act, and conspiracy.
Jefferson, whose case includes FBI video tape of him allegedly accepting a cash bribe, $90,000 of which federal authorities was later found in a freezer in his home, is facing increasing pressure to give up his seat. Yesterday, Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI) issued a statement calling on him to “consider resigning for the good of Congress and for the good of the nation.”
UPDATE: Politico’s John Bresnahan has more. “Democrats are also expecting the House ethics committee to announce that it is beginning an investigation into Jefferson’s case, said the leadership aides.”