(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, http://dailysignal.com//print/post_id=363860 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