This article in tomorrow's Times is about the increasing and seemingly overwhelming pressure on Jack Abramoff to crack, flip and cooperate with federal investigators building corruption cases against members of Congress and, likely, executive branch officials.
There's so much coming down right now on so many fronts in these various corruption cases that it makes me wish we already had our new site -- TPMmuckraker.com -- up and ready to go. One of the things about running a site like TPM -- and I'm sure this would be the same for other politically-oriented blogs with similarly-sized audiences -- is that the site becomes a sort of collection point for a great mass of information.
Some of that is stuff I get from conventional reporting, just working the phone. Other stuff is unique to running a blog -- links to articles in regional press outlets with information running below the radar of the national press, hot tips from readers, documents (public and non-public) which shed new light on the stories of the day, all sorts of stuff -- some of the most important of which is simply ready access to the insights of different readers, insights that can break open new veins of information lying hidden in plain sight in reams of text.
What you want to do is churn through all that information, chop it up, look at it, analyze it, organize and explain the key points and then put it back before your readers. The problem is there's too much for one person to do. Not seeking sympathy, mind you. Far from it. I enjoy what I do. And I make a decent living at it, which is about all you can ask. But with more people the site could do a lot more. And that's basically what we're going to do with this new site. In doing so, hopefully, we'll be able to bring you a lot more timely and complete coverage of what's happening with our politics today.
Anyway, I wish we had it up already. But we'll get it to you as soon as we can, consistent with making it a site and a product that is as good as we can make it.
Before leaving this thought, let me mention one point about these seemingly disparate scandal stories and criminal investigations: don't discount the possibility that a number of them may end up connecting up and being intertwined when charges get filed and trials begin.
Take the Tobin (phone-jamming) trial getting ready to start next Tuesday in Concord, New Hampshire. (I'm going to try to get up there to cover the trial in person next week, though some mundane logistics may prevent me from doing so.) Federal investigators are looking at the possibility that the funds for the phone-jamming may have come from money from clients of Jack Abramoff who were instructed to make key contributions to the New Hampshire Republican party in the final days of the 2002 campaign. The Cunningham case also seems likely to spread beyond the unfortunate Dukester.
There's more here than meets the eye.