Yet another article from

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Yet another article from ABC — this one on the front page of their website — on the Pelosi-airplane bamboozle. I find it almost dazzling how nauseating and disingenuous this latest article happens to be. The new news, according to ABC’s Jake Tapper, is that the Pentagon has rejected Pelosi’s request for a military aircraft that can fly from Washington to her district in California without stopping to refuel.

We have here a pretty nice illustration of the iron triangle of right-wing sludge slopping. Queued up by the Moonie press, fed by congressional Republicans and orchestrated by Bush administration officials and then spread far and wide by the gelded mainstream press.

Here’s something that jumped out at me though in the ABC News piece. Tapper provides a list he got from the Pentagon on the strict rules Pelosi must abide by with her US government plane.

Among those is this …

Members of Congress cannot fly on the plane unless their travel has been cleared with the House Committee on Standards (the Ethics committee);

Now, first of all, do military regulations really pull in the okay of the House Ethics committee? That sounds a bit more like a House rule. More importantly, though, did the ABC reporters on this story give a close a look to whether this purported rule was ever enforced with Speaker Hastert? Did he routinely ferry fellow members of Congress around on his plane?

TPM Reader BL reminded me of an incident from back in the Foley scandal in which Hastert was trying to clean up the mess created by his congressional lickspittle Rep. Shimkus (R-IL), a close Hastert ‘ally’ from a nearby district who the Speaker installed to run the House page board.

Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times on October 9th, Lynn Sweet wrote …

A week ago Sunday, about 8 p.m., Shimkus arrived at Scott Air Force Base near Belleville to pick up his ride back to Washington. As speaker, Hastert flies on U.S. aircraft. The government plane picked up Shimkus and then headed to Aurora to board Hastert, who spent the weekend at his Plano home.

So in the midst of the exploding Foley scandal, which the Ethics Committee would eventually whitewash, the esteemed Speaker Hastert had his buddy Shimkus get a separate pick up to fly back to DC with him on his military jet so both could head back to Washington to deal with FoleyGate.

The ABC piece merely quotes an Air Force spokesman saying that Hastert would use the plane only for “himself … one to three staff members and two security staff — members of the Capitol police force. His wife would sometimes fly.” No mention of other members of Congress.

Has anybody asked Hastert’s office how often he shuttled other members of Congress on his military plane?

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