December 7, 2008
Rep. William Jefferson loses reelection bid
When the new Congress meets, the Congressional Shipbuilding Congress will no longer have Rep. William Jefferson (D.-La.) on its roster. Voters denied him a tenth term Saturday in one of two Louisiana elections that had been postponed because of Hurricane Gustav. Jefferson is facing a 2007 indictment that claims he peddled his influence as chairman of the congressional Africa Investment and Trade Caucus to broker deals in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon. The indictment alleges Jefferson received more than $500,000 in bribes and demanded millions more between 2000 and 2005, including $90,000 found in the freezer of his Washington home.
Whatever his alleged improprieties, Congressman Jefferson was long regarded as a champion of U.S. maritime interests. Back in 2004, for example, he was the recipient of Washington, D.C. Propeller Club's Maritime Service Award and in 2005 he was the national Propeller Club's "Salute to Congress" honoree for his strong support of the United States maritime industry--including leading the bipartisan effort in Congress to enact "tonnage tax" provisions to benefit U.S.-flag companies and support for projects to revitalize the inland waterway system.