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

Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) "quietly deposited $3 million of her own money into her campaign last week, far less than the $10 million she promised on national television," the Miami Herald reports.

Chris Ingram, Harris' new spokesman, said not to worry. "The plan is still the same," Ingram told the paper. "You start with the foundation, and then you put up the walls and the roof."

Deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security Brian Doyle, shortly after being arrested on charges of seducing a child, courtesy of the Montogomery County Police Department...

Abramoff will start serving time on June 29th at two in the afternoon. That's the word from the Florida judge in the fraud prosecution against him. Remember he's yet to be sentenced for his role in the bribery investigation - that won't happen for a number of months. He'll likely end up with a total sentence of 9 1/2 to 11 years.

As for which prison he'll end up in, it's unclear, although his lawyers are lobbying for somewhere near his home in Maryland, according to Roll Call.

Another reason DHS shouldn't be allowed to chase child predators -- from the Tampa Tribune's coverage of the Doyle kiddie sex bust:

The charges against Doyle are the second involving a Homeland Security official and alleged improper sexual conduct toward a minor in Central Florida in the past six months.

In October, Tampa's newly appointed Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent in charge, Frank Figueroa, was arrested in an Orlando shopping mall, accused of exposing himself to a teenage girl.

Figueroa is scheduled to appear in court this morning to enter a guilty plea in that case.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- ICE -- is the branch of DHS that runs the agency's anti-child-exploitation program, Operation Predator I mentioned below.

By the way, Doyle is said to have confessed to police. He's charged with seven counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and 16 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor.

Paul Kane makes a hell of a catch in his piece today in Roll Call. He points out that during his interview with Time, Tom DeLay let the cat out of the bag and admitted that a third former aide of his will be found guilty:

TIME: Were there any instances where you failed to adequately supervise people who worked in your office?

DeLay: No, no. Look: I have had hundreds of people work for me. Unfortunately, there's three - one that we let go, Scanlon - that I don't yet, I'll wait until they're found guilty. But it looks like they have violated the trust of my office.


Only two of DeLay's former aides have already pled guilty: Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon. Ed Buckham would be the third, and as we pointed out last week, he was recently implicated in Tony Rudy's guilty plea. So it already looked like he was likely to go down, but DeLay does us all the service of confirming it here.

DeLay says he'll "wait until they're found guilty." Whether he's talking about a forthcoming guilty plea from Buckham is not clear.

See our post from last week as to who Buckham could bring down with him. As we pointed out, it would be Buckham's guilty plea that would be real trouble for DeLay. Maybe that's why he bowed out Monday.

We noted in this a.m.'s Daily Muck that Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) changed all the locks on the doors of her Senate campaign's Tampa HQ, and posted a security guard at the entrance. Roll Call's Heard on the Hill has this quote, from an unnamed former aide:

"She's so crazy she can't figure out that people aren't trying to get in, they're trying to get out!"
We'd only note that news accounts don't say on which side of the office door Harris posted the guard.

That's right, someone's keeping track. And after last night's bust by Florida cops of a Homeland Security official for soliciting sex from a 14-year-old, we're adding "catching child sex criminals" to that list.

You see, since creating the program three years ago, DHS has actually held up its anti-child-pornography "Operation Predator" as one of its finest accomplishments. From DHS' July 2003 announcement of the initiative:

"Operation Predator integrates the Department's authorities to target those who exploit children," said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "The Department of Homeland Security is coordinating the Department's once-fragmented investigative and intelligence resources into a united campaign against child predators."

... "There is nothing more important than protecting our children - the future of our nation. Through Operation Predator, ICE is in a unique position to carry out this critical responsibility," said Michael J. Garcia, Acting Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


So: if this guy, Brian Doyle, the accused child sex solicitor, is in fact guilty, he was right there under their noses the whole time. According to the Florida sheriff's office, he was even using DHS phones in his efforts.

DHS uses "the full spectrum of cyber, intelligence, investigative, and detention & removal functions" to catch these child exploiters, the agency has claimed. But it took a county sheriff in Florida to bust Doyle. (I called DHS; they confirmed they played no part in the operation.) Does someone lose their job over this? (I mean, besides Doyle.)

DeLay: The Reckoning

The Washington Post's front page piece on DeLay's departure is the best follow-up to DeLay's decision. The Post reports that DeLay had been thinking of dropping out for the last four months, but that he wanted to win the primary in order to ensure that none of his Republican challengers there made it through, since "he considered his three Republican challengers gadflies and traitors."

The decision to drop out was made last Wednesday, following on a poll taken two weeks ago that showed voters in his district were entrenched and it would be expensive to change their minds.

But above all, according to a former aide of DeLay's, "He needed to raise money for the defense fund. That was the bottom line." So he stuck it out long enough to make sure he could pay his lawyers.

Associates of DeLay "acknowledge" that the looming Justice Department investigation had something to do with it, but the Post seems to agree with them that it was merely one factor among many. In other words, if DeLay wasn't polling so badly, he would have stayed in. (WaPo)

Knight Ridder is almost alone in its frank coverage of DeLay's decision to step down. Why'd he do it? Because he's clearly the target of the Justice Department's bribery investigation. (KR)

Read More →

The arrest of Homeland Security press official Brian J. Doyle on child sex charges isn't the first incident of its kind in recent days.

Last week, federal agents raided NASA headquarters and siezed computers, CDs and other materials from the office of James Robinson, a program executive with NASA's In-Space Propulsion, Mission and Systems Management Division. Robinson was accused of trading child pornography online using his work computer. As the Smoking Gun Web site reported:

In correspondence with a series of undercover agents, he described his preferences as, "probably priority right now would be boy-on-boy or boy-with-Man, and girl-on-girl. But really, anything is of interest."
Unlike Doyle, Robinson was not arrested.

Tampa Tribune reports:

A Department of Homeland Security deputy press secretary was arrested this evening on charges that he was using a computer to seduce a child.

Brian Doyle, 55, was arrested at 7:45 p.m. in his Silver Springs, Maryland home on 23 charges related to the use of a computer to seduce a child and transmitting harmful materials to a minor after a joint investigation by the Polk County Sheriff's office, Florida State Attorney Jerry Hill's office and the Department of Homeland Security.

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