UPDATED: The Hill called Jefferson "first lawmaker to be indicted since 2001" -- but DeLay was indicted in 2005

››› ››› ROB DIETZ

A June 5 article in The Hill falsely reported that when Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) was indicted on June 4, he became "the first lawmaker to be indicted since 2001, when the Justice Department indicted then-Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio), who is still serving a prison term." In fact, as The Hill itself reported on September 29, 2005, in an article headlined, "DeLay indicted, steps down: Rep. Blunt takes over temporarily as majority leader," then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) "temporarily resigned his leadership position ... after an indictment by a Texas grand jury over his connection to a political action committee in that state."

A later version of the June 5 article appeared on The Hill's website with the false paragraph removed. The false paragraph, however, was still included in the front-page article in the print version.*

However, in another later version of the June 5 Hill article posted online, the sentence was put back in the article, but it was altered from the original version. The new sentence reads: "Jefferson is the first lawmaker to be indicted on federal charges since 2001." The following sentence appeared at the bottom of the online article: "The web story has been changed from the print version to point out that there has not been a federal indictment of any lawmaker since Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio) in 2001."

Further, a correction on page 3 of the June 7 print edition stated: "Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) is not the first member of Congress indicted since 2001, but the first indicted on federal charges. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) did not write a letter mentioned in his indictment. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) is not available to serve on investigative subcommittees, but Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is."**

From the June 5 article in The Hill:

Jefferson is the first lawmaker to be indicted since 2001, when the Justice Department indicted then-Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio), who is still serving a prison term. Former GOP Reps. Duke Cunningham (Calif.) and Bob Ney (Ohio) pleaded guilty during the last Congress before being indicted.

From the September 29, 2005, article in The Hill:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) temporarily resigned his leadership position yesterday after an indictment by a Texas grand jury over his connection to a political action committee in that state.

Ronnie Earle, the Democratic district attorney of Travis County, Texas, indicted DeLay on the final day of his two-and-a-half-year investigation of the Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee (TRMPAC), which is accused of funneling corporate contributions to Republican Statehouse candidates during the 2002 election.

Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) was unanimously elected to succeed DeLay temporarily as majority leader in an afternoon vote by the entire Republican Conference.

In addition, Blunt's chief deputy whip, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), will take on an expanded role within the whip office and Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) will work closely with committee chairmen to monitor legislation coming to the floor, a role DeLay previously filled in his capacity as majority leader.

This arrangement will hold through the end of the year, depending in large part on developments in Texas.

* This paragraph was added at 2 p.m. ET on 6/5/2007.

** This paragraph and the previous paragraph were added at 11 a.m. on 6/8/2007.

Posted In
Government, Ethics
Network/Outlet
The Hill
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