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The Daily Muck

Early Departures Clip Bush Security Team
"Top members of President Bush's national security team are leaving in one of the earliest waves of departures from a second-term administration — nearly two years before Bush's term ends. As rancor in the nation rises over handling of the war in Iraq, at least 20 senior aides have either retired or resigned from important posts at the White House, Pentagon and State Department in the past six months. Turnover is normal as an administration nears its end, but 'this is a high number,' said Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University and an expert on government." (USA TODAY)

World Bank Panel Finds Wolfowitz at Fault, Aide Resigns
"A committee of World Bank directors has formally notified Paul D. Wolfowitz that they found him to be guilty of a conflict of interest in arranging for a pay raise and promotion for Shaha Ali Riza, his companion, in 2005. The report, as transmitted to Mr. Wolfowitz, did not recommend a punishment for Mr. Wolfowitz. It was not clear whether the committee, consisting of 7 of the bank’s 24 board members, would remove Mr. Wolfowitz from his post or, more likely, express a loss of confidence in his leadership in a manner that might persuade him to resign." (NY Times)

Probe Launched into Missing TSA Hard Drive
"Federal authorities have launched a "full-blown criminal investigation" into the disappearance of a computer drive holding personal and banking records of 100,000 Transportation Security Administration employees, agency Administrator Kip Hawley said Monday. On Monday, TSA employees questioned how the drive went missing and whether it would expose the identities of the thousands of armed air marshals, who ride undercover on airplanes to thwart terrorists. Air marshals, who are TSA employees, fear what someone could do with their names, birth dates and Social Security numbers — data that were on the hard drive." (USA TODAY)

Renzi's Chief of Staff Drops Role as Congressman's Top Fundraiser
"Patricia Roe, Rep. Rick Renzi’s (R-AZ) chief of staff, has quit her fundraising duties for the lawmaker to spend more time concentrating on her Congressional job while her boss is engulfed in legal troubles. In March, Roe received her last $5,000-a-month retainer payment for outside fundraising work, which would have amounted to $60,000 in annual outside compensation. But prior to that, she doubled her 2006 salary of $102,916 with $110,957 in fundraising work for Renzi during the 2005-2006 election cycle." (Roll Call)

Whiste-Blower on Student Aid is Vindicated
"When Jon Oberg, a Department of Education researcher, warned in 2003 that student lending companies were improperly collecting hundreds of millions in federal subsidies and suggested how to correct the problem, his supervisor told him to work on something else. The story of Mr. Oberg’s effort to stop this hemorrhage of taxpayers’ money opens a window, lawmakers say, onto how the Bush administration repeatedly resisted calls to improve oversight of the $85 billion student loan industry. The department failed to halt the payments to lenders who had exploited loopholes to inflate their eligibility for subsidies on the student loans they issued." (NY Times)

Prosecutors Say Wilkes, Foggo Trial Should Not Move
"Prosecutors in the federal corruption case against former Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes and his friend, ex-CIA official Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, filed documents yesterday rejecting defense arguments to split the case in two and move the Foggo trial to Washington. 'The heart of the conspiracy remains in San Diego and the relevant events related to the conspiracy took place in myriad of locations around the country and the world, but most of all in San Diego,' Halpern wrote." (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Two Stevens Associates Cop Plea
"Two oil company executives with personal and financial ties to Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) pleaded guilty to charges of bribery, extortion and tax fraud in federal district court in Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday and have agreed to help federal investigators in their case against a growing collection of Stevens’ associates, including former aides to the veteran lawmaker and his son, Ben. According to sources close to the investigation, DOJ’s Office of Public Integrity and the Sacramento U.S. attorney’s office have been investigating Stevens’ son — a former state Senator who served as the body’s president during his last term — and a group of other state lawmakers, dubbed the “Corrupt Bastards Club” by the local media, since early 2006." (Roll Call)