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

A judge has approved subpoenas to force Jack Abramoff and his business partner, Adam Kidan, to testify in the trial of the man accused of killing Gus Boulis.

Abramoff and Kidan bought the SunCruz casino business from Boulis months before he was gunned down in a mob-style hit. The duo have insisted they know nothing about the murder. But as Josh points out, the federal prosecutor isn't so sure.

I believe it was Emerson who once wrote that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), running for Senate in her state, knows no such hobgoblins. The Recount Queen has managed to flip-flop on her biggest campaign promise to date, which she made less than two weeks ago.

On the March 15 edition of Fox News' Hannity and Colmes, Harris told the world she planned to spend $10 million she received from her father's death on her campaign.

On March 21, she told the world on ABC's Nightline that she planned to sell all of her assets to put towards her campaign.

Due largely to her repeating the phrase, "I'm putting everything on the line," folks assumed she meant she was adding that cash to the inheritance money she'd already pledged to spend. In other words, we understood she was actually putting "everything" on the line.

But now her campaign says she's not spending her inheritance, only her liquidated assets, which Harris says also total $10 million.

Money quote: "I think I'm being pretty clear," her campaign spokeswoman Morgan Dobbs told the Orlando Sentinel.

(Thanks to reader EB for the tip.)

Knight-Ridder last night published new details about Mitchell Wade's "Iranian Democratization Foundation," a non-profit he founded in 2004 that we first reported.

The group appears to have been a failed attempt to cadge U.S. funds for democracy-building. (I shudder to imagine what Wade's lessons on democracy would cover.)

Wade, admitted briber of jailed former lawmaker Randy "Duke" Cunningham, formed the group with two pals. Behrooz Behbudi, a Canadian resident, was a big-money GOP donor and a former friend of the late shah of Iran. Sonny Lee, a New York real estate developer, also donated heavily to the Repubs.

From what the Knight-Ridder fellows found, the project never got off the ground. As Lee told the reporters, the project was stopped "after the government told us they would take care of that themselves." No record of funds to the group could be found.

For more insight and analysis, check out Josh's post on the topic.

Yesterday, Josh pointed out that the business model for Neil Bush's education company Ignite! seems to be that "Neil goes around the world finding international statesmen, bigwigs and criminals who want to 'invest' in Ignite! as a way to curry favor with the brother in the White House."

But just who are those statesmen, bigwigs and criminals?

The company declines to name private investors, but documents filed with the SEC show that it raised $7.1 million from 53 investors. There are a number of unnamed investors from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the British Virgin Islands.

Here are the ones we do know about. It's quite an international grab bag:

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The case against Tom DeLay just got stronger.

Back in December, the Washington Post dropped a bomb on the now-deposed Majority Leader with their article on the U.S. Family Network, an organization that posed as a grassroots outfit, but was really a slush fund pumped full of cash by Jack Abramoff clients trying to curry favor and buy favors from DeLay. Well, a new piece from the National Journal (unfortunately, not online) adds some crucial details to the story and provides much more concrete evidence that DeLay was bought.

First, here's what we knew from the Post's story from December.

Ed Buckham founded the U.S. Family Network in 1996 while still serving as DeLay's chief of staff. By 1997, Abramoff's clients, the Northern Marianas and the Mississippi Choctaw Indians, were dumping buckets of money into it. The biggest payoff was the $1 million from two executives of Naftasib, a Russian energy giant. Buckham actually admitted to the U.S. Family Network's director that the money was paid to influence DeLay's vote on an IMF loan for Russia.

Peter Stone's new piece in the National Journal reveals another bundle of money from the Russians and what they got for it. Stone reports that the Russian energy execs invested $299,975 in DeLay back in 1997, before they really took the plunge later with the $1 million. $250,000 of that came (as a reward or a bribe, I'll let you decide) just two weeks before DeLay flew to Moscow with Abramoff to see the sights with Abramoff's Russian clients.

I'll let Stone tell it from there:

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A former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee staffer is expected to plead guilty to illegally obtaining the credit report of MD Senate GOP candidate Michael Steele.

With the plea, Lauren Weiner's expected to avoid hard time in the pokey, but that doesn't mean her trouble's run its course -- Steele's threatening to sue her personally for damages.

Here's a TV show worth canceling your weekly Friday Night Pancakes-n-Beer Extravaganza: Tonight, PBS' NOW is going to try to explain -- at least partially -- what goes on at the obscure Pentagon office called Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA).

It's surprising that for all the heat focused on the place, it hasn't faced much light until now: after all, CIFA awarded contracts to Mitchell Wade, who bribed congressman-turned-inmate Randy "Duke" Cunningham. In December we learned CIFA has maintained a database on anti-administration protesters within the United States, infuriating civil libertarians. And questions linger about how the product of the NSA's domestic surveillance program may have fed into CIFA.

CIFA Director David Burtt will be on the show -- I'm eager to hear what he's got to say -- as well as Bill Arkin, a Washington Post blogger (one of the good ones!) who broke the story of CIFA's domestic spying. Check it out - PBS NOW at 9 p.m.

Update: Reader BW notes that PBS affiliates air the show at different times, so be sure to check your local listings.

The Post puts a positive spin on it:

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations. Despite the turn this has taken, we believe this event, among other things, testifies to the positive and powerful role that the Internet can play in the the practice of journalism.

News from Florida, where the three henchmen who allegedly gunned down SunCruz owner Gus Boulis are standing trial for murder.

Two of the accused murderers, Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello and Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari were on SunCruz's payroll, and the question has always been how much Abramoff and Kidan knew about this. Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe not.

In any case, Big Tony's lawyer doesn't think it was and wants to hear what Jack Abramoff and his partner Adam Kidan know - or will admit to. He's subpoenaed them to find out.

Their "SunCruz purchase is 'at the heart' of the murder case", says Big Tony's attorney.

More Texas fun.

Either Texas Governor Rick Perry laundered state funds through a secret, possibly illegal lobbying contract, or Comptroller Carole Strayhorn, who's running against Perry for governor, is deliberately misconstruing the facts in order to make Perry look bad. Either way, it's a good story.

As I noted yesterday, Strayhorn halted the state's lobbying contract with Cassidy & Associates, a $15,000/month arrangement through Texas' Office of State-Federal Relations. Todd Boulanger, formerly of Team Abramoff, was the lead lobbyist for Cassidy. She wouldn't say why she'd stopped it, only that her audit had raised "enough questions."

Enough questions? We've been asking plenty of questions about the contract - about, for example, how it's a bald attempt to route taxpayer money to Republican lobbyists. But Stayhorn, in her few comments, raised a new, much more serious question.

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