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

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), whose Armed Services panel recently found Cunningham clean as a whistle, has a history of helping out the Duke in times of trouble.

In 1998, the Pentagon picked several companies to digitize its documents. Cunningham's buddy, Brent Wilkes -- who's alleged to have bribed Cunningham and procured him prostitutes -- owned a company, ADCS, which wasn't chosen. Hunter helped Cunningham bring the full weight of their committee to bear on the matter, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

. . . [A]s a Defense Department inspector general's report later noted, the Pentagon reversed [its] decision and pushed $9.77 million into the ADCS program "after receiving inquiries from two members of Congress."

Those two lawmakers were Cunningham and Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, now chairman of the Armed Services Committee, according to the contractors and procurement officers directly involved.

Hey, Dukester, take heart. Federal prosecutors may have found enough evidence of bribery and malfeasance to lock you up for eight years -- and your errant sex life is now on public display.

But your pals on the House Armed Services Committee say you're clean -- at least from fiscal year 2004 through 2006.

The panel, led by former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's (R-CA) pal, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), reviewed Duke's recent-year activity when he was among them, and concluded that he didn't do anything wrong, according to CongressDaily's Megan Scully, who's followed this story doggedly from the get-go.

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Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) rolled the dice with prosecutors and won!... sort of.

Bob Ney is off the hook for charges relating to the SunCruz portion of the Jack Abramoff investigation (again, with a huge caveat), as the statute of limitations relating to those charges last night, Roll Call reports. Prosecutors had a choice: either get an agreement from Ney to extend the statute, or indict him then and there. Well:

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The Legacy of Pious Jack: Forced Abortions For Sweatshop Workers

Ms. Magazine visited the Northern Mariana Islands recently to determine the legacy of Jack Abramoff's work on behalf of sweatshop owners there. What did they find? Forced abortions, unemployment, and a thriving sex trade -- comprised mostly of unemployed garment workers. Nice work, Jacko.

Abramoff went to bat for the Islands' power brokers, so they could keep their sweatshops operating free of U.S. worker protection laws. With Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) help, he kept our laws off their island, which allowed these conditions to develop, the magazine concludes.

Meanwhile, Abramoff -- "who is praised by friends for his devotion to Judaism," the NYTimes tells us -- spent Passover at the luxurious 300-acre Turnberry Isle Resort and Country Club in Aventura, Florida. The disgraced (but devout) superlobbyist managed to scrape together more than $500 a night for his family's accomodations. (Alternet, NYTimes)

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Over at WarandPiece.com, Laura Rozen puts her excellent sources to work explaining how Wilkes' poker/hooker parties may have put Wilkes' longtime pal Kyle "Dusty" Foggo on Porter Goss' radar, and eventually landed Foggo the #3 spot at the CIA when Goss became its head:

I'm told these poker parties may have indirectly helped put Dusty Foggo on Porter Goss's radar through the person of Goss's deputy Patrick Murray. . . Writes one source, "...Wilkes and Foggo played cards together in washington in the late 1990s and early 2000s. . . It is apparently through this connection that Foggo came to the attention of Goss when Goss' first choice for executive director, Michael Kostiw, was nixed..."

More details this morning about the Brent Wilkes-Mitch Wade hooker ring, courtesy of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Several of Wilkes' former employees and business associates say he used the hospitality suites over the past 15 years to curry favor with lawmakers as well as officials with the CIA, where both Wilkes and Wade sought contracts.

Wilkes hosted parties for lawmakers and periodic poker games that included CIA officials as well as members of the House Appropriations and Intelligence committees. Cunningham, who sat on both committees, was a frequent guest, according to some of the participants in the poker games.


And I'll be darned: Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, now the executive director of the CIA, liked to come to those "parties." The same ones now-CIA Director Porter Goss may have attended:

People who were present at the games said one of the regular players was Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, who has been Wilkes' best friend since the two attended junior high school in Chula Vista in the late 1960s. In October, Foggo was named the CIA's executive director -- the agency's third-highest position.


In fact, Foggo didn't just attend, he occasionally hosted the parties at his Virginia home, the paper reports.

The SDUT has a couple other "names" of participants: Former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX) says he was there, although he never stuck around for the prostitutes, he says. Others tell the paper a CIA agent was present known as "Nine Fingers" because, yes, he only had nine fingers.

Who else? More lawmakers? As Young Sherlock Holmes might say: The game is afoot.

This just in:

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former Republican Party chairman, arranged the startup financing for a GOP telemarketing company implicated in two criminal cases involving election dirty tricks.

. . . Barbour's investment company arranged a quarter-million dollar loan to GOP Marketplace in 2000 and also gave a promotional plug to the telemarketer several months later.

. . . According to [an] operating agreement, the loan gave the investors a stake in the company.


Does that mean Barbour profited off the dirty tricks campaigns?

Also interesting: The company's founder, Allen Raymond, once worked for Barbour at the Republican National Committee, according to the AP article. Raymond's now serving a three-month prison term for jamming phones in New Hampshire on election day 2002. His company was implicated in an earlier scheme in New Jersey to make harrassing phone calls to voters.

(Ed. Note: Updated 8:26 AM.)

Late Update: There's more at the Senate Majority Project.

Ken Silverstein reports at Harper's blog on the spreading Cunningham-Wade-Wilkes prostitute scandal. He says more lawmakers, past and present, are being investigated. Sounds like he thinks House Intel Chair-turned-CIA Director Porter Goss is one of them:

I've learned from a highly-connected source that those under intense scrutiny by the FBI are current and former lawmakers on Defense and Intelligence comittees -- including one person who now holds a powerful intelligence post. [emphasis added]


Yowzah.

Actually, make that a double-yowzah: Remember that Goss is the one who plucked one of Wilkes' old San Diego friends, the unusual and colorful Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, out of CIA middle-management obscurity to be his #3 at the agency. At the time of Foggo's appointment, no one could figure out where he came from, or how Goss knew him.

But if Goss was at the "parties," I wonder, was Foggo there too? Did they see each other? Is this where Goss had an opportunity to gauge Foggo's abilities, and determine he was qualified for the CIA executive director post?

As we noted in an italicized euphemism earlier, it appears that one of the young college students partying with Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) was smoking something that may not have included tobacco. Others -- the Stakeholder, <cough cough> -- had similar suspicions.

Here is the original of that picture:



We jumped on the story at once. We tracked down someone from the party, and even got our hands on more photographs, including a high-resolution copy of the photograph that appeared in the local college paper. Our photo-forensic team pored over the snaps, and came to a unanimous conclusion: it's a legitimate smoke. You can see the definitive close-up below ...
That's not to say the dude isn't a major tokaholic -- there's a picture of Bob Marley pinching a joint on his shirt. But it's no spliff he's holding in the pic. Sometimes, a cigarette is just a cigarette:

A reportedly inebriated Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) took a break from kissing babies last Friday to hug some frat boys. I wonder if they're of drinking age?



Bonus: Notice how he appears to be in the er, smoking section of the frat house.

Sweeney's appearance was reported by the Concordiensis, Union College's newspaper. Full text of the article below. You can see the article as it ran in hard copy here.

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