Louisiana Political News Wire
Where business ends and bribery begins
I'm no fan of the so-called revolving door, the portal from public service to private riches that's open to former members of Congress willing to leverage their connections and insider knowledge. Still, if Bill Jefferson had asked my advice back when he first faced money troubles, I'm pretty sure I would have encouraged him to step aside and cash in, just as so many of his former peers have done. Pay off the bills from his five kids' colleges. Build a nest egg to leave them, a priority that apparently became more urgent after Jefferson's emergency quintuple bypass surgery in 2002. Actually, Jefferson shouldn't have needed advice from me or anyone else. The choice between that well-worn path and staying in Congress while peddling influence on the side should have been a no-brainer, particularly for someone as brainy as Jefferson. Option A might be unseemly, but it's legal, and can lead to a very comfortable lifestyle. Option B can land a politician exactly where Jefferson is right now: federal prison, where he began serving a 13-year sentence last week.
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