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

AP reports:

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday he's not surprised by allegations of prostitution in the corruption case involving former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a former committee member.

Chairman Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., said he has discussed the matter with authorities and expected to raise the issue with an independent investigator he has hired to review Cunningham's committee work.

"If I'm trying to connect dots, this is not a surprising outcome," Hoekstra said in an interview with The Associated Press.


Hoekstra also said he expected his committee to wrap up its investigation into Cunningham's activities within "weeks."

I stopped by the Watergate Hotel this afternoon and chatted with Josh Graham, the assistant general manager, about the recent stories swirling around his establishment.

According to Graham, the Watergate has received multiple subpoenas in connection with the Wilkes Hookergate scandal. He went on to say that the hotel is complying with those subpoenas but that he couldn't discuss the content of the orders, nor could he discuss details of the investigation, "out of respect for our guests' privacy."



The Wall Street Journal had originally reported that investigators "had requested, and been given, records relating to the investigation and rooms in the hotel," but not that they had used subpoenas.

I put in a call to the Westin Grand -- the other hotel reportedly used by Wilkes to entertain lawmakers with poker, food, drink and possibly prostitutes. No one there could immediately confirm it had received similar subpoenas.

This does not look good.

From Roll Call:

Police labor union officials asked acting Chief Christopher McGaffin this afternoon to allow a Capitol Police officer to complete his investigation into an early-morning car crash involving Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.).

According to a letter sent by Officer Greg Baird, acting chairman of the USCP FOP, the wreck took place at approximately 2:45 a.m. Thursday when Kennedy's car, operating with its running lights turned off, narrowly missed colliding with a Capitol Police cruiser and smashed into a security barricade at First and C streets Southeast.

"The driver exited the vehicle and he was observed to be staggering," Baird's letter states. Officers approached the driver, who "declared to them he was a Congressman and was late to a vote. The House had adjourned nearly three hours before this incident. It was Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy from Rhode Island."

Baird wrote that Capitol Police Patrol Division units, who are trained in driving under the influence cases, were not allowed to perform basic field sobriety tests on the Congressman. Instead, two sergeants, who also responded to the accident, proceeded to confer with the Capitol Police watch commander on duty and then "ordered all of the Patrol Division Units to leave the scene and that they were taking over."

Baird said he had been advised that after the officers departed, Capitol Police "House Division officials" gave Kennedy a ride home.


Baird has called for a "complete and immediate investigation."

A man identifying himself as "Sam Johnson" from Shirlington Limousine called me this afternoon, returning my message from this morning. After identifying myself as a reporter, I asked what he could tell me about the company and the allegations that have been reported in recent days.

"What I can tell you is I can have someone from my public relations call you," he said. He took my name and number -- odd, I thought, since he had just called me -- and promised to pass it along. My fingers are crossed.

I've spent the morning talking to the heads of various limousine services in the D.C. area. They had all read the Post article about Christopher Baker and Shirlington Limousine, but no one seemed to know the guy well -- or they didn't want to talk about him.

"I only knew him vaguely," Cliff Powell of Mahogany Limo told me. "He's in big trouble now, isn't he?"

Paul Rodberg, the current president of the Washington Metropolitan Limousine Association said Baker was not a member of his group; the previous president, Reggie Tymus, who started his term in 2001, said the same.

"I knew he had financial troubles," said Rodberg, who's also president of Reliable Limousine. Other than that, he said, "I don't know anything about it."

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Two of Jack Abramoff's tribal clients gave money to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee shortly before Election Day in 2002. And as I reported last month, one of those contributions, a $10,000 check from the Mississippi Choctaw, was misreported as $5,000.

The Senate Majority Project has filed a complaint with the FEC today arguing that the NHRSC deliberately misreported the true amount of the contribution. Why? Well, $5,000 was the legal limit for the Choctaw to contribute that year. And beyond that, the NHRSC waited until just before the election to cash the check (October 29), despite having received it much earlier (it's dated October 10) - a crafty move that allowed them to defer reporting the contributions until after the election. That way no one would know on Election Day that casinos thousands of miles away were inexplicably pumping money into the party.

And as they note, there were some pretty fishy things happening around Election Day in New Hampshire that year.

Check it out.

Ah, another day, another ethics complaint. This one's against Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), anti-environmentalist, Abramoff chum, and DeLay sidekick.

You can read the complaints (there's an IRS one too) at CREW, or, if you prefer, you can see some of the same allegations at this site with the added bonus of a little Pombo doing the mambo.

Poor Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL). She's got enemies all around her -- her former staffers, former advisers to her Senate campaign, even her own Republican party.

Now, they seem to be conspiring to bring her down with leaks. In a way, it's almost noble that the party will smear its friends as easily as it would smear an opponent. In Harris' case they're even gentlemanly about it -- her former campaign strategist Ed Rollins has now gone on the record twice to share derogatory information about her.

This time, he backs up two former staffers who tell the Orlando Sentinel she made an earmark for Mitchell Wade's MZM, Inc. "a priority," overruling their objections to it. Before Wade found himself singing like a canary to federal investigators, he was busy helping to procure hookers, spreading cash around Capitol Hill, and taking Harris to a $2,800 dinner, all apparent efforts to win fat government contracts. Rollins told Harris he thought her dealings looked bad -- and now he's telling you:

"I said, 'Duke Cunningham got cash from Wade, and in your case he's promising to raise money,'" said Rollins. . . "I told her, 'This is how it's going to look.'"

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New Leak In Valerie Plame Case: She's Writing a Book

Former CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame, whose identity was exposed in a series of conversations with White House officials, was the victim of another leak, this time from the New York publishing world. Two anonymous sources confirmed to the New York Times that Plame has been shopping a book proposal around town. (NYT)

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