Embattled Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) has stepped down from his only committee assignment on the Small Business panel, according to a Democratic aide.
Jefferson sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) today informing her of his decision to leave the committee until his legal problems are resolved. Jefferson’s decision pre-empts an anticipated floor resolution tonight by Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) that would have forced him off the committee. If Jefferson had not stepped down, the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee was expected to meet this week to recommend his removal.
A vote on Boehner’s privileged resolution is still expected tonight to refer the Jefferson matter to the ethics committee, which would have 30 days to report back on the charges against the Louisiana lawmaker and advise whether he should be expelled from the House. Jefferson was indicted Monday on 16 criminal counts, including racketeering, obstruction of justice and money laundering.
— Susan Davis