They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

According to new court documents, prosecutors are building a case against Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) based on a raft of bribery and fraud charges. The documents also show that a cooperating witness wore a wire during conversations with Jefferson, and that prosecutors are in the final stages of preparing their case against him.

The details come from a court order issued today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland that a search warrant affidavit filed by federal investigators be unsealed. The warrant was requested in August, 2005 to search the Maryland home of Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar - to support the application, an FBI agent detailed the FBI's case against Jefferson in an accompanying affadavit. The affidavit was sealed to the public, but in February of this year, The Washington Post sued to have the affidavit unsealed. In today's order, the Judge agreed to release the affidavit with the exception of five paragraphs this Thursday, unless Jefferson contests the ruling.

The judge's order discloses a number of details about the government's case against Jefferson.

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Over the weekend, the media had a field day speculating about Friday's sudden, unannounced, unexplained resignation of former CIA Director Porter Goss. Was it because of a turf battle? Was his ouster somehow connected to Hookergate? Was Goss wrapped up in the FBI's investigation of the Wilkes-Foggo-Cunningham poker/prostitute/bribe saga?

By this morning, the conventional wisdom had become: Yes, on the turf battle. Maybe, on Hookergate. And, No, Goss was not wrapped up in the probe. Hardly makes for a clear picture.

We can cut through some of the confusion by being clearer about the terms of discussion. Was Goss canned because of Hookergate? Probably so. At least in part. Is he personally guilty of wrongdoing? Not necessarily. Is the FBI interested in him? To be honest, we really don't know.

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Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) hit a defiant note today, but it seems worth mentioning that the time is ripe for Ney's exit stage right. Tom DeLay stepped aside soon after a former aide of his, Tony Rudy, pled guilty. He could afford to do so, he said, because he'd won his party's primary, clearing the way for the GOP to hand-pick a strong successor.

Well, Ney has won his party's primary, and now his former chief of staff Neil Volz has implicated him in a far more serious way than Rudy did DeLay. And he's turned what has been a reliably Republican district into the most vulnerable - according to recent polling, he's trailing his Democratic challenger. This was precisely the point when DeLay bailed.

Let's see if Ney sticks with it; Volz's long-awaited guilty plea finally clears the way for prosecutors to bring their indictment. But, ironman that he is, Ney has said that even that won't knock him out. Can anything stop him?

Update: Another document released by prosecutors, Volz's "Factual Proffer" has a fuller accounting of Representative #1's work for Abramoff, most of it repeated from prior guilty pleas.

Newsweek's Mark Hosenball reports:

[A] source has told NEWSWEEK that [CIA #3 Kyle "Dusty"] Foggo had acknowledged to associates that he may have tipped off [childhood friend, briber, poker-party-thrower and former defense contractor Brent] Wilkes that CIA contracts were coming up for bid -- an activity which, according to the source, Foggo said was neither improper nor illegal. The source is close to a group of poker players who took part in a 1999 game arranged by Wilkes and attended by Foggo, Cunningham and a nine-fingered former CIA officer named Brant Bassett, who worked for Goss when the outgoing CIA chief was House Intelligence Committee chair. Foggo denies giving Wilkes any such tip-offs, according to another source close to the outgoing CIA official; Bassett and lawyers for Wilkes and Cunningham had no comment.


Hosenball also reports the CIA has made an internal announcement that Dusty will retire.

As promised in Sunday's Times, Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science and Technology, sent a letter today to Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner requesting an investigation into Shirlington Limousine's big contracts with the Department of Homeland Security.

Republicans and Democrats have said that they plan to investigate the contract. And they'll get a chance to ask Homeland Security officials about it during a hearing late next week.

You can see the letter here.

Despite a bruising guilty plea from his former chief of staff, the fourth to implicate him, Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) isn't giving an inch. In fact, according to a statement just released by his spokesman, Brian Walsh, Ney "is more confident than ever that he will be vindicated in this matter."

And Ney says that Volz's plea is only an indication that the poor lad couldn't afford a good lawyer: "For a young man like Neil, it is virtually impossible to have the financial resources to adequately defend yourself against the federal government." Yep, it's Volz's own bad luck not to have campaign contributions to pay the bills.

Ney's statement goes on to specifically deny a number of the allegations in Volz's plea.

Volz said that Ney agreed to slip a line into the Help America Vote Act to lift the Texas gaming ban on Abramoff's client, the Tigua. But in his statement, Ney denies ever inserting any amendment into the bill -- which is beside the point. Volz's plea was about the agreement to insert the line - whether Ney couldn't follow through for one reason or another is another question. Unfortunately for Ney, Abramoff wrote "Just met with Ney!!! We're f'ing gold!!!! He's going to do Tigua" right after the meeting, so there's little room for doubt that Ney was on board.

And about that vacation that Abramoff helped cover: "Ney vigorously disputes the allegation that that trip was anything other than a trip with personal friends for which everyone paid their share, and he has eyewitness accounts to prove that claim." Volz has told prosecutors that he paid for part of the trip and "assured" Ney that he'd be reimbursed by Abramoff.

Here is Ney's statement in full:

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I wrote earlier that the MZM employee who worked for Michael Hayden at the NSA "has not been implicated in the growing scandal around Wade's illegal activities."

That's not entirely accurate.

Around the same time King is said to have worked for the White House's new pick to be CIA chief, he was helping former MZM chief Mitchell Wade disguise thousands of dollars in illegal "straw contributions" to Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), a review of government documents appears to show.

Along with Wade's infamous $2800 dinner with Harris, those contributions appear to have been part of an effort to convince the lawmaker to push for an MZM-run Defense facility in her district. (Harris tried, but missed the deadline.)



The 'straw contribution' scam is a simple (and illegal) end run around campaign funding rules, which limit donations from individuals. Rather than cutting one huge check from yourself to your lawmaker of choice, you get a bunch of people to write smaller checks to the lawmaker, reimburse those folks for their "contributions," and then personally hand the bundle of checks to your candidate.

In early 2004, records show King helped Wade run this scam by writing four $2000 checks from himself and his wife to Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), in exchange for an immediate cash reimbursement.

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ABC News reports:

Dusty Foggo, the executive director of the CIA linked to a bribery investigation, is expected to resign soon, according to CIA officials and his associates.

Outgoing CIA Director Porter Goss had refused to remove Foggo from his powerful post after Foggo came under investigation by the FBI and the CIA Inspector General.

In this, the fourth (Michael Scanlon, Jack Abramoff, Tony Rudy, and now Neil Volz) guilty plea to implicate Rep. Bob "Representative #1" Ney (R-OH), we get more details about what Ney did to earn Jack Abramoff's goodies.

Volz, Ney's former chief of staff, admits to receiving all sorts of bribes while he was still with Ney, and then turning around and taking part in the bribing once he moved over to work with Abramoff.

And we learn about a new, particularly shameless perk: Abramoff helped pay for a two-night vacation of Ney's, without even bothering to funnel the money through one of his nonprofits. "In or about August 2003," the plea reads, "defendant VOLZ paid for part of a two-night trip to the Sagamore Resort at Lake George, New York, for Representative #1 and members of his staff. Defendant VOLZ assured Representative #1 that defendant VOLZ would be reimbursed for his payments by Abramoff." Apparently Ney didn't want his old chief of staff laying out the bribe - he preffered to get it from a familiar source.

Neil Volz, as Ney's former chief of staff, was the one to go between Ney and Abramoff. As a result, there are new details about Ney's shilling.

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While director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Michael V. Hayden contracted the services of a top executive at the company at the center of the Cunningham bribery scandal, according to two former employees of the company.



Hayden, President Bush's pick to replace Porter Goss as head of the CIA, contracted with MZM Inc. for the services of Lt. Gen. James C. King, then a senior vice president of the company, the sources say. MZM was owned and operated by Mitchell Wade, who has admitted to bribing former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham with $1.4 million in money and gifts. Wade has also reportedly told investigators he helped arrange for prostitutes to entertain the disgraced lawmaker, and he continues to cooperate with a federal inquiry into the matter.

King has not been implicated in the growing scandal around Wade's illegal activities. However, federal records show he contributed to some of Wade's favored lawmakers, including $6000 to Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) and $4000 to Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL).

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