June 16, 2006

House removes Jefferson from committee

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives voted
on Friday to remove Rep. William Jefferson from a powerful
committee while federal investigators weigh possible bribery
charges against the Louisiana Democrat.

The measure to remove Jefferson from the tax-writing Ways
and Means Committee passed unanimously without debate, capping
a contentious showdown between the New Orleans lawmaker and
Democratic leaders who had asked him to step down voluntarily.

Democrats hope to capitalize on Republican corruption
scandals to win control of the U.S. Congress in November's

The FBI has said it found $90,000 in the New Orleans
lawmaker's freezer while investigating whether he took bribes
to promote Internet technology in West Africa.

A former Jefferson aide and a business associate have
pleaded guilty to bribery charges in the investigation.

Jefferson, who has not been charged, has denied wrongdoing
and refused to give up his committee post voluntarily.

A Jefferson spokeswoman declined to comment.