RUSH: This is one of those stories you find and say: Okay, glad I have a radio show tomorrow. “Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after…” This is an ABC story, by the way. “Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings ? even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned. On [Friday] Sept. 2 ? five days after Katrina [vanden Heuvel] hit the Gulf Coast ? Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who represents New Orleans and is a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, was allowed through the military blockades set up around the city to reach the Superdome, where thousands of evacuees had been taken. Military sources tells ABC News that Jefferson, an eight-term Democratic congressman, asked the National Guard that night to take him on a tour of the flooded portions of his congressional district. A 5-ton military truck and a half dozen military police were dispatched. Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News that during the tour, [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)] asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street, in the affluent uptown neighborhood in his congressional district. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson’s initial request. Jefferson defended the expedition, saying he set out to see how residents were coping at the Superdome and in his [affluent] neighborhood. He also insisted that he did not ask the National Guard to transport him. He said…” In fact, here’s what he said. I don’t know where this is from but we have the audio anyway. This is what he said.
JEFFERSON: I did not seek the use of military assets to help me get around my city. There was shooting going on; there was sniping going on. They thought it needed to be secured by some military guards.
RUSH: So he didn’t seek the use of military assets to help him get around the city. He says, “There was shooting going on. There was sniping going on. They thought I should be escorted by some military guards, both to the convention center, the Superdome and uptown.” Now, when they got to the affluent neighborhood where the Democrat Congressman William Jefferson lives, the water they found reached to the third step of Jefferson’s house. This, again, according to the a military source familiar with the incident. “The vehicle pulled up onto the front lawn” of the affluent William Jefferson’s home “so that he wouldn’t have to walk in the water.” Jefferson — the affluent William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana — went to his house alone in the affluent neighborhood, the source says, “while soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour, while [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)] from an affluent neighborhood in New Orleans, was inside his home for one hour. Finally, according to the source, Democrat Congressman William Jefferson, Louisiana, emerged from his affluent neighborhood home with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck. Two weeks later, the vehicle’s tire tracks were still visible on the lawn of Congressman William Jefferson’s affluent neighborhood home. ‘I don’t think there’s any explanation for an elected official using resources for their own personal use, when those resources should be doing search-and-rescue or they should be helping with law enforcement in the city,’ said Jerry Hauer, a homeland security expert and an ABC News consultant.” Democrat Congressman William Jefferson “said the trip was entirely appropriate. It took only a few minutes to retrieve his belongings from his home [in an affluent neighborhood] and his truck stayed for an hour in part to assist neighbors.”
“‘This wasn’t about me going to my house,’ said ]Democratic Congressman William Jefferson.] ‘It was about me going to my district.’ The Louisiana National Guard told ABC News that the truck became stuck as it waited for [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)] to retrieve his belongings. The soldiers signaled the helicopters in the air for aid. Military sources say a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the signal and flew to the home of Democrat Congressman William Jefferson while he was inside the home in his [affluent] neighborhood returning gifts and items from the home to the truck. The chopper was already carrying four rescued New Orleans residents at the time that it came to the front yard of the home of” Democrat Congressman William Jefferson in his affluent neighborhood. “After spending approximately 45 minutes with [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)] the helicopter went on to rescue three additional New Orleans residents before it ran low on fuel and was forced to end its mission. ‘Forty-five minutes can be an eternity to somebody that’s drowning, to somebody that’s sitting on a roof and it needs to be used, the primary purpose during an emergency, ‘said Hauer, the ABC consultant.” So the helicopter had to come get the truck unstuck that was stuck in the yard of a home of William Jefferson (D-LA) in his affluent, uptown neighborhood, while it had four people rescued aboard the helicopter. The Coast Guard commander, Brendan McPherson, told ABC News, “We did have an aircraft that responded to a signal of distress where the congressman was located. The congressman did decline rescue at the time so the helicopter picked up three other people. I can’t comment on why the congressman decided not to go in the aircraft,” McPherson said.
“‘Did it take a little time to send the rescue swimmer back a second time? Yeah. You’d have to ask the congressman if it was a waste of time or not.’ The Louisiana National Guard then send a second five-ton truck to rescue the first truck that was still stuck in the front yard of the home of William Jefferson (D-LA), [in his affluent uptown neighborhood of New Orleans]. Jefferson said his personal items were returned to the Superdome. Schneider said he couldn’t comment on whether the excursion was appropriate. He said, ‘We’re not in a position to comment on an order given to a sold. You’re not going to get a statement from the Louisiana National Guard saying whether it was right or wrong. That was the mission we were assigned.'” Now remember William Jefferson (D-LA) claimed that he was going to go to his neighborhood anyway, and the Guard said, “Oh, no, no. There’s sniping going on out there. There’s shooting going on out there. You have to go with us.” But everybody on the other side claims that he ordered them to take them, and they can’t rescind and refuse this kind of an order. Jefferson, Congressman William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana, insisted the expedition did not distract from rescue efforts. He said, “They actually picked up a lot of people while we were there.” The young soldier said, “It’s a good thing we came up here because a lot of people would not have been rescued had we not been in the neighborhood.” I don’t know how that works out since it took two trucks and a helicopter and apparently all that resulted in three additional people getting out.
“In an unrelated matter, authorities recently searched Jefferson’s property as part of a federal investigation into the finances of a high-tech firm.” Now, listen to this, folks. “In an unrelated matter, authorities recently searched [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)]’s property as part of a federal investigation into the finances of a high-tech firm. Last month FBI officials raided [the home of William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana,] as well as his home in Washington, D.C., his car and his accountant’s house.” William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana, “has not commented on that matter, except to say he is cooperating with the investigation. But he has emerged as a major voice in the post-Katrina political debate.” He’s gone to the floor of the House. He’s complained and moaned about the levee system and how people didn’t care enough to get it fixed. Last week he set up a special trust fund for contributions to his legal defense. This is last week! Last week, in the midst of the recovery efforts, William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana, set up a special trust fund for contributions to his legal defense in light of the FBI investigation! “A senior federal law enforcement source told ABC News that investigators are interested in learning if [William Jefferson (D-LA)], moved any materials relevant to the investigation,” out of his house during the rescue.
RUSH: Gregory from Detroit, glad you called, sir, welcome to the program.
<a target=new href=”http://www.abcnews.go.com/US/HurricaneKatrina/story?id=1123495&page=1″></a>CALLER: Thank you very much, Rush. Rush, I want you to say it — and say it clearly and don’t stutter. Tell us that the man, William Jefferson, was black. Tell us that he was a liberal. Go ahead and say it, Rush. I’m challenging you right now, on this date and this time, to tell the world that this man was a black; he was a brother; he was a liberal. Because if that was a white man, having his white property retrieved, they would claim — the liberal race baiters would claim — that a white man’s property is more important than a black life. You’d hear from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton. They’d have a hissy fit. Kanye West would be hollering and whining. So, Rush, I’m challenging you — challenging you right now — to tell the world that it was a black liberal Democrat with the name of William Jefferson.
RUSH: Uh. (Laughing.) Gregory, I’m puzzled. Why does race matter here?
RUSH: What does the color of William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana’s skin have to do with this?
CALLER: Because Kanye West made a point of it. Jesse Jackson made a point of it. The Black Congressional Caucus members made a point of it. So if they’re going to make a point of it, if they’re going to race pimp this tragedy, then I think it is becoming of you and others to say what I hear: Jefferson, William Jefferson, black Democrat, saw fit to have the military rescue his property.
RUSH: Okay. Well, I admittedly was purposely avoiding mentioning the race of Congressman William Jefferson, black Democrat, Louisiana.
RUSH: Because, of course, I’m sensitive to the charge of racism.
RUSH: I wanted the news to stand on its own without any mention of the man’s skin color because the news on its own is appalling. Regardless of his race, it’s absolutely appalling. Now, I agree. When you add the fact that he’s black to this, and when you add the fact that he lives in an affluent neighborhood —
RUSH: — and we’re told that the blacks are poor in New Orleans, and then you add all the other details to this story, it’s absolutely appalling what this man did — or I should say what he is alleged to have done by numerous witnesses and helicopter pilots and truck drivers.
CALLER: Rush, alleged my eye.
CALLER: It happened. I don’t go with that because if the man was a conservative, Republican white male, they would be having a hissy fit.
RUSH: Let me tell you something, Gregory, if Congressman William Jefferson, black Democrat, Louisiana, were white —
CALLER: Thank you.
RUSH: — this would be on far more than the ABC News website!
CALLER: (Laughing.) Rush, have a great week. I appreciate the show.
RUSH: Thank you, Greg. Nice to have you on the program. So, all right, well, I was forced into it, as you heard. A resident from New Fallujah was demanding that I tell the complete story on the program.
RUSH: Apparently the legal defense fund here for Congressman William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana, has not yet been set up, and this (interruption). No, it’s Bush’s fault. Now, here I have the story. This is from last Friday on the New Orleans Times-Picayune website, which is NoLa.com. “Representative William Jefferson,” Democrat, New Orleans, “under federal investigation for his role in promoting telecommunications businesses in Africa has filed papers to form a legal defense fund. The fund can accept contributions and offers of pro bono legal help. Donations are limited to $5,000 per individual or organization,” which saddens me because I was planning on contributing more. “The federal investigation has included raids on the homes in affluent neighborhoods of New Orleans of [Democrat William Jefferson] and Washington, DC. His accountant’s office has been raided. The Maryland home of the vice president of Nigeria has been raided.” The Maryland home of the vice president of Nigeria? “The Washington Post reported that agents found…” Oh, ho-ho-ho-ho! Ho-ho! Folks, listen to this! “The Washington Post reported that FBI agents found a substantial sum of cash in a freezer and that the probe is part of a sting operation that began almost a year ago.” They found a substantial sum of cash in a freezer. Now, we don’t know in which of the two affluent homes of Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) this freezer of cash was found. We can ask a question. If it was found in the freezer of the New Orleans upscale neighborhood home and Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) was seen taking a box the size of a refrigerator out of the home over the weekend here in the Katrina aftermath, well, it gets interesting.
“Legal documents indicate that one area of the inquiry centers on whether [Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)] violated a 1997 act that bars payments or attempted payments of cash or other items of value to a foreign official.” So you can see what the sting is here. You’ve got the vice president of Nigeria, has a home in Maryland, and apparently here the theory of law enforcement is that William Jefferson (D-LA) might have been preparing to funnel some of that cash to the vice president of Nigeria for a telecommunications business in Africa. Well… I don’t want to speculate. I mean, we don’t know about law enforcement and these things. I’m just going to stick with the story. “The papers established the legal fund lack the required signature from the fund’s trustee.” So it hasn’t been set up yet. “The fund’s trustee is Walter Wilkerson.” William Jefferson, Democrat, Louisiana, “explained in a letter to the House Resources Center that the papers and required signature were shipped from New Orleans, but they haven’t yet arrived in Washington because of Hurricane Katrina,” which is, of course, George Bush’s fault, because George Bush didn’t care enough to stop the hurricane from having these effects including shutting down the Post Offices. So that’s why there’s no number for the legal defense fund, Mr. Snerdley. They haven’t set it up yet because the papers to set it up had not yet made it to Washington because Bush caused Hurricane Katrina.