If pro is the opposite of con......
What is the opposite of progress?
Have you heard that our esteemed (read, retarded) members of Congress are all afire over the William Jefferson incident? Catch up here if you haven't. (Story of the raid) (congressional reaction)
Now they're claiming that offices of legislators should be exempt from these types of things. They're invoking the constitution (Article I, Section 6, Paragraph 1) which says,
"The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place."
I'm not a lawyer, but I am a thinker. (Thank you Mr. Beck) It seems to me that this clearly states the following:
1. Lawmakers will get paid
2. The amount they are paid will be determined by law (don't get me started!)
3. Their salary will come from the US Treasury.
4. Unless they commit treason, a felony, or a breach of the peace, they can't be arrested while going to, being at, or returning from a legislative session.
5. Except for the exceptions noted in (4), a lawmaker's words during a speech or debate in session can not be used to arrest them.
As far as I can tell, most constitutional scholars agree that this provision exists to prevent the executive branch from preventing a congressman from doing something "displeasing." i.e. President Bush doesn't want a Senator to vote for this bill or that bill, so the President has him arrested on his way to the Senate.
Insofar as the FBI is part of the executive branch, I can see where the senators and representatives might have a problem. The similarity ends there, however. First, the FBI obtained the necessary warrant, and it was stonewalled and ignored by House counsel and Rep. Jefferson. Second, they took great pains to avoid confiscating documents related to legislative matters, concentrating only on those related to the bribary scandal.
Some members of Congress have gone so far as to say that their offices should be absolutely immune from inspection/raid/etc by law enforcement. Isn't that a little ridiculous? (For those of you who reside in Stupidville, yes, it is ridiculous.) Imagine the possibilities! Driven off a bridge and killed a hooker? No problem! Stash the body in your office.
Here's to term limits!