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

It's long been an open secret among special interests that giving to the DeLay Foundation for Kids was a quick way to Tom DeLay's heart. And now, courtesy of Texas Lawyer, we know who decided to buy in.

The DeLays themselves were candid about the charity's appeal to those who wanted the Majority Leader's ear. A number of months ago, for instance, after Tom DeLay was forced to step down as Majority Leader because of his indictment in Texas, Christine DeLay said to George Will: "I hated to lose the leadership position because it helps me to raise money for those kids." Will commented approvingly:

Note her agreeably guileless acknowledgement that some friends of Rio Bend [a DeLay Foundation project] may not have been seized by simple altruism. She shares here husband's credo -- power is useful and should be used -- and knows the moral ambiguities it can involve.


I think that's just Will's fancy way of saying that Tom DeLay was for sale, and sometimes his wife did the selling. This is the same Christine DeLay, mind you, who was paid by Ed Buckham's Alexander Strategy Group to create a master list of other lawmakers' favorite charities. Why would a corrupt lobbying firm want such a list? Selling access via charitable donations worked for DeLay, and it no doubt worked for others too.

But the DeLays provided a gold standard for corruption for which other lawmakers could only strive.

So in the DeLays' case, who was buying? According to Texas Lawyer, a diverse array of special interests (particularly pharmaceuticals, oil, and tobacco), and one very special interest in particular: Brent Wilkes, the defense contractor who appeared in Duke Cunningham's guilty plea as Co-Conspirator #1.

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NBC names the CIA official fired for leaking classified information on its "black sites" network of secret prisons: Mary McCarthy.

(Ed. Note: An earlier version of this story credited AP with breaking McCarthy's identity.)

A senior intelligence analyst, McCarthy had been assigned to the CIA's Office of the Inspector General to look into allegations of torture by the CIA in Iraq.

I hope that if McCarthy was the leaker, we will hear more from her in the coming days. Here's why: CIA folks leak like sieves concerning internal agency politics, but it's nearly impossible to get them to talk about field operations -- for good reason. People who work on IG investigations are just as tight-lipped -- especially concerning wrongdoing. After all, they aren't helpless bystanders -- they're in a position to do something about it.

So what would motivate a person in her position to leak?

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Grand Ole Docket enthusiasts, we give you the Kentucky Subdocket.

Yes, like its neighbor Ohio, Kentucky is proving such a rat's nest of corruption that it necessitates its own special and separate page. In fact, Kentucky swamps Ohio in sheer numbers: it's landed an impressive 17 faces on the docket. Ohio has only 6.

For almost a year now, Kentucky has been rocked by the state Attorney General's investigation into Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration for infractions of the state's Merit System. Simply put, it's against state law to promote party loyals within the bureaucracy because of their affiliation. But Fletcher and his boys couldn't resist pushing their fellow Republicans up the food chain, and now they're in trouble.

It's quite a cast of characters, but our in-house favorite is Bill Nighbert, Fletcher's Secretary of the Transportation Cabinet, who called a female whistleblower a "she-devil," and later told her that if it were 20 years ago "I probably would have come back there and socked you in the mouth." Because it was OK to hit women in 1986.

But you can pick your own favorite. Enjoy!

Just got a call from Sen. Conrad Burns' (R-MT) spokesman Matt Mackowiak who, in response to our earlier story, unequivocally denied that Burns had ever earmarked money for Map Roi's Guam project. This contradicts Guam Gov. Camacho's assertion that Burns had.

"Burns never inserted it as an earmark in an Interior appropriations bill," he said. "The project was not funded through Sen. Burns."

He further said that he could find no evidence that Burns had even responded in writing or otherwse to Guam Gov. Felix Camacho's request for an earmark. Camacho had written a letter to Burns, explaining the virtues of the Map Roi program.

Soon after writing the letter, Camacho claimed in his "State of the Island" address that Burns had inserted the earmark. According to Burns, this was a total fabrication.

To compensate for breaking $2800 worth of very, very fancy bread with the felonious Mitchell Wade, Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) gave $100 to a charity, the Orlando Sentinel reported today.

A number of you noted the name of the charity -- Global Dominion Impact Ministries -- and thought it sounded, well, a little odd. And it is.

Before we get into the details, check this out: the group gives out free email addresses: [yourname]@globaldominionministries.com.

I honestly can't think of anything cooler. Hurry and get one now, before they run out of good Christian mercy and shut the thing down.

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If you can't stand the heat, get off the ethics committee.

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is stepping down from his post as Ranking Member on the House ethics committee, Roll Call's John Bresnahan reports this afternoon, quoting anonymous sources.

Mollohan informed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of his decision in a letter today, and Pelosi "has accepted his decision," a Democratic source said.


Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) will take the spot, Bresnahan says.

Mollohan's been under scrutiny for numerous allegations of financial misrepresentations on his disclosure forms.

Another Conrad Burns earmark - maybe the best one yet.

Burns tried to push $20 million in federal funds to a company in which Ed Buckham, Tom DeLay's former chief of staff and a close associate of Jack Abramoff's, had a financial stake.

The $20 million earmark, which Burns inserted into an appropriations bill in early 2003, was to fund Guam's contract with a company called Map Roi, a software firm. Map Roi was hawking their program called GForce, which is advertised on Map Roi's website as (I kid you not) "Your complete system for winning government business."

So why was Burns (a human GForce in his own right) so eager to see Guam get more government money?

Map Roi was founded by the son-in-law of Guam's former governor Carl Gutierrez, who is himself a stockholder. And even though the company's business is getting government money, on May 1, 2003, they signed up with Alexander Strategy Group, Buckham's lobbying firm, to help them land some government contracts. As payment, they offered ASG an option on 500,000 shares in the company. The lobbying disclosure filings don't show a significant amount paid in cash fees that year.

Map Roi signed up with ASG on May 1. On May 13, 2003, the Governor of Guam boasted to his island that Guam would be the beneficiary of Burns' generosity:

Working closely with Sen. Burns, I was successful in including Guam with the state of Virginia to be part of the appropriations budget for 2004 that develops a revolutionary nationwide program called MAP ROI. MAP ROI provides data on government procurement, available federal grants, market intelligence and business development tools ... to help companies turn marketplace knowledge into increased sales...

It also helps our government and private citizens obtain more grants and assistance. This economic stimulus package will provide approximately $20 million extended over five years to the University of Guam to house and train technical personnel to implement this program.


So it would seem that no sooner had Buckham received his stake in the company that Burns went to work drumming up big business.

Burns' spokseman didn't return our call seeking an explanation. The Burns response to the LA Times piece, which briefly mentioned the $20 million contract, was that the project was not funded. And Guam never signed up with Map Roi, according to the Pacific Daily News.

So somewhere along the line, the deal fell apart, but it wasn't for lack of Burns' trying.

Late Update: Be sure to see Burns' response to the story here.

Keeping the pressure high on Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), The Washington Post ran an editorial today on his wife's 15% cut of campaign contributions for "fundraising" services. The verdict:

The arrangement couldn't smell more.


And they add one more detail to the fray:

We've been reluctant to criticize congressional spouses whose related careers -- as lobbyists or campaign consultants, for example -- predate their marriages. Mrs. Doolittle does not appear to present such a case. Mr. Doolittle points to a 2001 Federal Election Commission advisory opinion that permitted the wife of Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) to be hired as a Jackson campaign consultant. In that case, though, Sandi Jackson had extensive political experience and a written contract with her husband's campaign. Asked if Mrs. Doolittle has a contract, a representative of her husband's office declined to answer specific questions. Similarly, Mr. Doolittle's office says he's been told by the House ethics committee that his arrangement is permissible, but his office did not provide any documentation.


Hmmm...

FOX News' Brit Hume brings us the latest McKinneyana: the police report detailing the assault by Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) of a Capitol Police officer says she hit the man with her fist. Earlier news accounts said she had used her cell phone.

Meanwhile, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police -- who earlier said he wanted to make sure the punched officer could "look at his legal recourses" -- is denying that he was urging the officer to sue McKinney. "[S]everal media accounts are misleading and state that I urged the officer to sue Representative McKinney. That is not the case," FOP chief Chuck Canterbury said in a statement last week. "I am not an attorney and did not recommend any specific legal action."

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