Bennie’s still silent and his chief of staff is still working

(Note: The commentary below was published on Tuesday, Oct. 31. A day later on Wednesday, Nov. 1, Rep. Thompson told a Gannett reporter in Washington that he fired Avant on Monday, Oct. 30. Gannett owns the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Yet, after Avant’s felony conviction last year, Thompson apparently terminated Avant after the most recent federal indictment. That indictment came on Oct. 11, almost three weeks before the date Thompson said he fired Avant.)

Crime doesn’t pay. (Unless you work for Congressman Thompson)

Last February I commented on some strange, to say the least, circumstances in the office of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. Thompson’s chief of staff, Lanier Avant, had pled guilty to $150,000 tax evasion. And after serving a month in prison, Avant was completing the rest of his sentence serving weekends in jail. Avant remained in his job with Thompson. Earlier in October, The Washington Post and other media reported Avant has been indicted again, this time for filing false security clearance forms. Avant, in addition to being Thompson’s chief of staff, also served for a time as Democratic staff director for the House Homeland Security Committee. Mind you – the Homeland Security Committee, not the Agriculture Committee or one of the many other less sensitive committees of Congress. If you want to read some bizarre claims Avant made, I suggest you read an article in The Daily Signal,  The Daily Signal reported Lanier lied about donating $50,000 to a religious group and tried to claim tax write-offs for rollerblading, biking, chess, and a bass guitar. At his sentencing, Avant, who made a paltry $170,000 per year salary paid by taxpayers, told the judge he could not afford the rent on his apartment. In 2015 the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gave Avant an award for “exemplary leadership”. Also, while Avant served as staff director of the committee, some Republican staffers and members were concerned that whenever Avant met with vendors, he always asked them about contracts being awarded to minority contractors. How silly some of us think contracts should be awarded to the contractor making the lowest bid and who is most qualified.

Makes one wonder, does Avant know where the bodies are buried?

The latest charge against Avant carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison. Yet he remains Thompson’s chief of staff. It is not unreasonable to surmise perhaps Avant knows

where the bodies are buried. And as I noted in February, the soft coverage of this disgrace by The Jackson Clarion-Ledger and other media in Mississippi would be far different if Avant had been the chief of staff for one of our two Republican U.S. Senators or one of the state’s three Republican members of the House. And of course, is any of the state press pushing Rep. Thompson to comment why someone convicted of a serious felony and indicted on another serious charge is still working on his congressional staff and being paid by taxpayers?

Ole Miss fan: “What’s a little prostitution among friends?

A few weeks ago when my wife and I were on our way to Malta, we met some friends from Paris to attend the NFL game at Wembley Stadium in London between the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins. I should note I bought our tickets for the game before many NFL players began kneeling when our national anthem is played. Before the start of the game three of the Dolphins refused to stand for the U.S. national anthem was played. Yet the same three players stood when the British anthem was played. Leaving the game we ran into an Ole Miss fan from Houston, Texas and engaged in some good natured trash talk. But the Rebel fan had the best line. When I asked her about former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, she replied, “What’s a little prostitution among friends?”

ESPN’s Jemele Hill was not suspended. She got two weeks of paid vacation

ESPN anchor Jemele Hill first took to social media  to call President Trump a “white supremacist”.  ESPN did nothing. Then after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said any Cowboy who disrespected the U.S. Flag would not play for the team he owns, Hill took to social media again. She urged people to boycott Cowboy advertisers and Cowboy merchandise. This time ESPN suspended Hill for two weeks. The important thing is Hill was suspended with pay. Thus, in reality, Hill got two weeks of paid vacation.



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