Bribery charges and $90,000 discovered in a freezer haven't stopped black lawmakers from backing one of their own, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. US Rep. William Jefferson is facing trial and dwindling support in his Katrina-ravaged district, but the Congressional Black Caucus still has his back—and enough Capitol Hill power to make it matter.
Its 42 members include members of primo committees like Ways and Means. They also raise funds for elections like the one Jefferson faces this fall. They see him as innocent until guilty and "are not looking at him as gone," one analyst said. CBC members know "there is a long history in which local and federal prosecutors sort of disempower black elected officials—keeping them off balance."