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

The Post brings us word that Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), lobbyist shill extraordinaire, is bored to tears about all this corruption hullabaloo:

Doolittle declared that voters have little or no interest in ethics legislation.

"Do I think they care about it? No, I don't," Doolittle told a reporter. Doolittle said that during the April 7-23 recess, he did not hear "anything about Jack Abramoff," the central figure in a lobbying scandal.


Indeed, this seems to constitute a broad Republican strategy of willful disinterest. Nevermind that voters actually do care about corruption. Perhaps if they're told enough times that they don't, they'll start to believe it.

Another administration official in trouble with the law:

Dr. Lester M. Crawford, the former commissioner of food and drugs, is under criminal investigation by a federal grand jury over accusations of financial improprieties and false statements to Congress, his lawyer said Friday. . . .

Dr. Crawford resigned in September, fewer than three months after the Senate confirmed him. He said then that it was time for someone else to lead the agency.

The next month, financial disclosure forms released by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that in 2004 either Dr. Crawford or his wife, Catherine, had sold shares in companies regulated by the agency when he was its deputy commissioner and acting commissioner. He has since joined a Washington lobbying firm, Policy Directions Inc.

It's me-too time for Hookergate. The AP filed its story on the scandal last night, with no new details. The WPost, no doubt burned up that they missed the biggest Watergate-related scandal since, well, Watergate, cast a frantic net for a second-day story (even though we're on Day 3) -- and brought up mostly inconsequential details about the car company, Shirlington Limousine, which Wilkes allegedly used to ferry around Cunningham and hookers. I hope and expect we will hear more from the Post on this mess.

Editor and Publisher helpfully reports that in the wake of the two articles that broke this open -- the WSJ piece from Thursday and the San Diego Union Tribune piece yesterday -- other papers are rushing to catch up.

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Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) was a close political ally of disgraced former Representative Duke Cunningham (R-CA). So with the latest revelations in Duke's scandal, journalists are again posing uncomfortable questions.

Today local station in San Diego, KFMB, approached Hunter with an interview request. Steve Price, the reporter for KFMB, told us that Hunter's spokesperson said they'd get back to him. But instead of an interview, all Price got was this prepared statement:

"The congressman knows Mr. Cunningham very well and refuses to believe he would be unfaithful to his wife."


Calls for comment to Hunter's office were not returned.

As Josh mentioned over at TPM earlier, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) was reprimanded today for mispresenting her educational background on her campaign website - she claimed she'd received a second Bachelor's degree. Assuming that her site has it right now, it was only a teaching certificate.

Here's the public reprimand that the Ohio Elections Commission issued to Schmidt today.

I called the CIA this morning to get their reaction to Ken Silverstein's piece in Harper's that seems to put Goss in the poker-and-more parties thrown by Brent Wilkes. The parties were held in the Watergate and Westin Grand hotels -- and a third hotel, I'm hearing, which hasn't been reported yet -- as well as at the house of Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, a longtime friend of Wilkes' who is now #3 at the CIA.

After a long series of off-the-record phone calls with CIA spokespeople, I was finally given an on-the-record comment -- about Goss. Speaking on behalf of the director, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise Dyck said, "This is horribly irresponsible. He hasn't even been to the Watergate in decades."

When I asked if Goss had attended Wilkes' parties at the Westin or other locations, Millerwise Dyck repeated the denial. "It's horribly irresponsible. Flatly untrue."

She declined to answer questions about Foggo, but promised another spokesperson would call me and take my questions.

OK, we all knew Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) was in trouble, but today's news in the Times makes it look all the worse. At the center of Mollohan's problems is a system of nonprofits that he's set up in West Virginia - three of them have recently received word from the FBI that they'll be subpoenaed.

As a taxpayer, you can't feel good about the fact that over the last ten years Mollohan's been able to funnel via earmarks almost half a billion dollars to a handful of his choice nonprofits. Unfortunately, it's perfectly legal. What isn't legal - and, in Mollohan's case, not yet proven - is profiting directly from earmarks or scheming to rewire appropriations as campaign contributions.

We know that Mollohan had a tendency to go in for real estate deals with people who benefited from his earmarks, but so far that smoking gun hasn't emerged. Maybe the FBI has an idea of where to find it.

Details on Mollohan's nonprofits below the fold.

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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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