Offices of congress members not immune to searches

Published 5:00 am Friday, May 26, 2006

The Divine Right of Congress

For centuries monarchs defended the doctrine of the divine rightof kings, a concept that vanished with the development ofparliamentary systems limiting royal powers.

That doctrine is now being reasserted; this time by an heir tothe parliamentary system – the United States Congress – whoseleadership is up in arms over the FBI acting on a search warrant toenter the office of a member of the House caught taking abribe.

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Although evidence exists that Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., wasaccepting bribes, and had defied a legally issued subpoena – anaction that led a federal judge to issue a warrant authorizing theFBI to search his office for the material – the royal members ofthe Congressional leadership are ranting that the search hasviolated their alleged constitutional rights.

They base their contention on Article 1, Section 6 of the U.S.Constitution that states: “The Senators and Representatives shallreceive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained byLaw, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shallin all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, beprivileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session oftheir respective Houses, and in going to and returning from thesame; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall notbe questioned in any other Place.”

Note that it makes no mention of any Constitutional privilegeextending to the offices of members, or granting them immunity toinvestigations of wrongdoing by agencies of the executive branchcharged with the enforcement of laws.

In short there’s not a thing in the Constitution that statesthat the offices of members of congress are immune from lawfulsearches authorized by members of the judiciary.

To claim otherwise is simply arrogance, a characteristic nowcommon to members of Congress, regrettably from both parties. Itwasn’t just the Democrat leader in the House making the speciousclaims about the separation of powers. Standing with the pitifulNancy Pelosi was the Republican Speaker of the House DennisHastert, and GOP Senate leader Bill Frist.

Doesn’t Denny Hastert understand that he is being suckered byPelosi? Doesn’t he recognize that by raising a ruckus about poorRep. Jefferson being abused by the FBI he’s playing right intoPelosi’s hands by helping her transform Jefferson – evidentlycaught red-handed by the FBI of taking a $100,000 bribe – from alawbreaker into a martyr persecuted by a GOP JusticeDepartment?

Doesn’t he realize that he’s allowing the best defense the GOPhas against Democrat charges that his party is nurturing a cultureof corruption is the corruption of Democrats such as Jefferson? Ishe blinded by the arrogance of power?

Arrogance, it seems, is contagious. We have Sen. John McCain,for example, haranguing his colleagues and members of his partyabout the outrageous immigration reform bill he and”Chappaquiddick” Teddy Kennedy are championing against the wishesof the majority of Republicans, and the 59 Republicans who voted aweek ago to kill a bill that would have allowed offshore drillingfor natural gas exploration in the midst of an energy crisis, andthe eight Republicans voting to block an amendment that would havestopped illegal aliens from getting Social Security benefits theywould receive as a result of having used false social securitycards.

A minority of Republicans are making a majority of Republicanslook like fools. Moreover, they have formed a majority by hookingup with the Democrats who want nothing more than to drive everysingle conservative Republican out of office.

The Senate majority is now a DemoRino majority – part Democratand part Rino – Republicans in name only.

If this keeps up, a lot of Republicans are going to be jobhunting after November. They are going to discover that it is notwise to go against the base that put them in office, and is up inarms over the flawed Senate immigration reform bill.

My Dad, Ronald Reagan, proclaimed the 11th Commandment – thoushalt not speak ill of another Republican. He couldn’t haveforeseen what a minority of arrogant Republicans would someday doto his party. So, as his oldest son and conservative politicalheir, I feel entitled to now repeal the 11th Commandment.

Mike Reagan, the eldest son of the late President RonaldReagan, is heard on more than 200 talk radio stations nationally.E-mail Comments to