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Louisiana Lawmaker’s Homes Are Searched

From Associated Press

FBI agents searched the Washington, D.C., and New Orleans homes of a Louisiana congressman Wednesday, hauling away boxes and bags from one of the residences.

The Justice Department refused to say what agents were looking for during the searches of Rep. William J. Jefferson’s homes and vehicle.

“As it is a criminal investigation, we will not be able to comment any further,” said Bryan Sierra, a Justice Department spokesman.

Jefferson, 58, an eight-term Democrat from New Orleans, said in a statement that he did “not know the extent or precise nature of this investigation,” but said he was cooperating.

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Jefferson’s office said the congressman was in New Orleans and was not available for further comment.

His name surfaced in a case involving Alan Green, his brother-in-law. Green is a former state judge convicted in June of mail fraud in a wide-ranging probe of bail bond corruption in suburban New Orleans.

According to federal court documents, the lawmaker asked Green in a recorded conversation to raise money for his daughter’s successful 2003 campaign for the Legislature.

The records show Green agreed to help.

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The Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct bars judges from asking for campaign donations on behalf of political candidates.

Jefferson has said he recalled the conversation with Green, but the request for help was familial -- and not political -- in nature.

“To my knowledge, nothing resulted from the conversation -- the campaign did not receive any money from Judge Green or anyone who may have been prompted by him to contribute,” Jefferson said.

His daughter, Democratic state Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, has said that she had no knowledge of the matter and did not receive contributions from Green, directly or indirectly.

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She said Wednesday that she knew nothing about the raid.

Jefferson was elected to Congress in 1990 as the state’s first black House member since Reconstruction. He serves on the influential House Ways and Means Committee.

In June, the FBI searched the yacht and California home of U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe), whose business dealings are under investigation by a federal grand jury in San Diego.

Cunningham has denied any wrongdoing but has announced he will not seek reelection to a ninth term next year.

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