Embattled Democrat lands spot on Homeland Security panel

Embattled Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., has landed a spot on the Homeland Security Committee, despite being under federal investigation.

A Democratic aide confirmed Friday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is giving Jefferson the last open spot on the committee.

Jefferson has been under federal investigation since March 2005 for allegedly receiving bribes through a company maintained in the name of his spouse and children. According to court documents, Jefferson was videotaped allegedly accepting a $100,000 bribe from an FBI informant.

The FBI searched Jefferson's Washington office last May, and the probe was thrust into the spotlight as reports swirled about federal authorities finding $90,000 in cash in a freezer during a raid of his Washington home.

Jefferson maintains his innocence and has not been charged with a crime. His office could not be reached for comment.

House Democrats voted in June to strip Jefferson of his position on the Ways and Means Committee after he refused to step down. This Congress, he has a seat on one other panel: the Small Business Committee.

Jefferson was first elected to the House in 1991 and has been outspoken on the needs of Louisiana and New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, Jefferson will have oversight of agencies within the Homeland Security Department that deal with preparing for and responding to disasters.

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