Rep. Andy Jacobs (D. Indiana) was a member of the Congressional subcommittee which back in 1967 investigated the financial...

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THE POWELL AFFAIR: Freedom Minus One

Rep. Andy Jacobs (D. Indiana) was a member of the Congressional subcommittee which back in 1967 investigated the financial transgressions of New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell. The suave, highliving Congressman was, as you will recall, charged with using government funds for pleasure trips to Bimini and otherwise misusing the taxpayers' money. Eventually in a seizure of righteousness (or was it racism?) the House voted to debar Powell from his seat in the 90th Congress though two years later the Supreme Court declared this unconstitutional and Powell was reinstated -- stripped of his seniority, the chairmanship of the House Education and Labor Committee and part of his salary. Now, somewhat belatedly, Rep. Jacobs retells the whole unedifying story. How the subcommittee agonized over historical precedents and constitutional niceties. How the ""awesomeness' of their undertaking reminded him of the movie Twelve Angry Men. How he weighed the rights of Powell's Harlem constituents against the moral turpitude of the man and the integrity of Congress. How in the end the committee swallowed its disgust and recommended that Powell be seated because under Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution he met the qualifications laid down by the Founding Fathers. And how, alas, the House in plenary rejected their recommendation, bowed to the public clamor to throw the rascal out, and voted to exclude him 222-202. Somehow, although Jacobs was personally on the side of reason and the Constitution, he manages to come off as both self-important and unctuous -- rather as though he were harboring a bad conscience.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1972