People outside Louisiana marveled that former Rep. “Dollar” Bill Jefferson (D-LA) could get re-elected in 2006 even after he was indicted and accused of hiding $90,000 in bribes in the freezer in his house. But to anyone from Louisiana, it was pretty typical. Taking your share of the pie is accepted, even expected. (Jefferson was eventually defeated in 2008.)
But what we didn’t know then and what would probably have ended Jefferson’s political career immediately was another thing he kept in that freezer of his: veggie burgers. The incriminating evidence emerged yesterday in Jefferson’s corruption trial (we have more pictures here):
It’s a culinary scandal! You can’t live in Louisiana, with the most deliciously rich and complex cuisine in the country, and stock up on Boca Burgers. I say that with all due respect to Boca Burgers, which I eat regularly (exiled as I am in the culinary wasteland of the Midwest). It’s not just the act of eating veggie burgers which is such a disgrace, but to make room in your freezer requires tossing out things like gumbo, shrimp, speckled trout, crawfish and all the other delicacies that overflow from a Louisiana freezer (which, I should note, are conspicuously absent in these pictures of Jefferson’s freezer).
Hard to see how Jefferson could have survived exposure of this cultural betrayal, even as I’m sure he will claim he just used the boxes to hide the cash and never actually ate the veggie burgers. For shame.
It’s now becoming obvious that Jefferson’s lawyers fought tooth and nail over the FBI raid on Jefferson’s Capitol Hill office to delay not his trial, but the revelation of this damning discovery during the raid on his house. But now we know. And Jefferson will be shunned by anyone who can make a roux.
Late Update: It may be even worse than I thought. TPM Reader MP says he recognizes Soy Dream and Tofutti ice cream there in the freezer door in the pic above.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.