Hastert Challenges FBI on Capitol Office Search

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) demands that the FBI return files and other items confiscated from the office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), who is being investigated on allegations of bribery. Jefferson's attorneys have filed a court motion seeking return of the files taken over the weekend.

Tensions between Capitol Hill and the White House haven been mounting this week, with members of Congress from both parties questioning the constitutionalty of the raid.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, whose Justice Department approved the raid, has tried to strike a conciliatory note. He emphasized that he has "a great deal of respect for the Congress as a co-equal branch of government."

But the FBI had no other choice than to search Jefferson's office, Gonzalez says, because the congressman refused to provide them with documents after a subpoena was filed.

Gonzales said investigators have set up a "filtering system" to ensure they only look at materials related to the bribery investigation. That investigation, as described in an 83-page affidavit, alleges Jefferson was videotaped taking a bribe.

No criminal charges have yet been filed against Rep. Jefferson.



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