Afternoon News:

  • Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), under fire for allegedly soliciting bribes in a telecommunications deal, defiantly declared that he will not resign, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Jefferson, who has been named in two plea deals, made this statement, "No one wants to be indicted. I certainly do not and I certainly do not want anyone — a family member or a close associate — to be indicted. But I am prepared to answer these charges formally when and if the time comes. . . . I would take full responsibility for any crime that I committed, if that were the case. But I will not plead guilty to something I did not do, no matter how things are made to look and no matter the risk."
  • The House Ethics Committee has announced an interim plan to review private travel for members and staff. The plan would involve voluntary cooperation by the persons or groups paying for the travel. These persons could, if they wanted, receive certification for the trip by providing the names of all persons on the trip, including relatives of the lawmaker or staffer; a detailed description of the trip, including an itinerary and agenda; a description of all travel expenses and the source of all expenses; a representation that none of the expenses were covered by a registered lobbyist, lobbying firm, or foreign agent. The Ethics Committee has made no declaration as to whether these documents would be available for public consumption.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that anonymous earmarks continue to be written despite the enormous amount of negative attention they have received in the past six months.