The Daily Muck

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The maverick reform candidate John McCain claims on the campaign trail that Jack Abramoff and “his lobbyist cronies” have felt the impact of his efforts to combat the lobbying industry. But campaign finance filings show that McCain accepted more than $100,000 from employees of Abramoff’s old firm, Greenberg Traurig. McCain has also accepted more than $400,000 from lobbying firms and 59 of his “bundlers” are lobbyists. (Huffington Post)

The trial procedures for Guantanamo Bay detainees that Congress approved in 2006 may prevent defense attorneys from mounting a fair and adequate defense of their clients. Civilian lawyers for the detainees are not allowed to have private meetings with the defendants, will not be allowed to share classified information with their clients, and must turn over all of their mail and notes to the military. The Bush administration has also stated that evidence obtained through torture will not be permissible, but evidence secured through “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” treatment will be allowed. (Washington Post)

The Bush administration has decided to cut over $193 million in funding for UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. According to the Better World Campaign, because U.S. funding for the UN is already low these cuts will bring the total unpaid for peacekeeping next year to more than $600 million. President Bush, appropriately enough, is scheduled to visit Africa beginning this Friday. (ABC’s “The Blotter)Jamie Leigh Jones, the former KBR/Halliburton employee who says co-workers gang-raped her in Baghdad, asserts that 38 women have contacted her about similar stories of assault but that the public or a court will never hear them because of arbitration agreements in their KBR/Halliburton contracts. Instead, the cases will be heard before secret arbitration panels that don’t produce public records or transcripts. (ABC’s “The Blotter”)

The scandal surrounding the destruction of CIA videotapes of the interrogations of detainees has led to new rules governing the preservation of documentation of the treatment of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and other prisons. According to court documents, Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, the commander at Guantanamo, has ordered staff “to record specific events on demand,” including “forced cell extractions; medical emergencies; incidents of suspected/alleged guard misconduct; incidents of possible self-harm or injuries to detainees; significant damage to government property; mass disturbances by detainees; and any other similar events.” (U.S. News and World Report)

Speechnow.org, a conservative group with ties to the Club for Growth and the Center for Competitive Politics, plans to challenge (sub. req.) an FEC advisory opinion stating that it should operate according to the rules governing political advocacy groups, which include limits on yearly individual contributions. If the challenge is successful, the group, which has not incorporated and has pledged not to take any corporate or union money, could potentially raise unlimited amounts of money from donors and become an organizational model for other groups. (Roll Call)

The Bush administration is proposing stricter new rules for “self-reporting” fraudulent activity involving government contracts, but they’re making one major exception: “contracts to be performed outside the United States” will be exempt. The Justice Department says that the exemption is “a mistake that should be fixed before the plan becomes final.” (AP)

The House Inspector General, in a just completed report (sub. req.) on the dorm that houses congressional pages, has found few problems with the residence hall. The review was initiated last year after two pages were expelled for “engaging in public sex acts” and another two were expelled for shoplifting. (Roll Call)