Harman Subject of Federal Probe
"Did a Democratic member of Congress improperly enlist the support of a major pro-Israel lobbying group to try to win a top committee assignment? That's the question at the heart of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors, who are examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, according to knowledgeable sources in and out of the U.S. government." (Time)
Archdiocese to Investigate Foley Priest
"The Archdiocese of Miami announced Friday it is opening an investigation into the conduct of a retired priest who has admitted fondling former Congressman Mark Foley as a boy in Florida, calling the alleged abuse "morally reprehensible, canonically criminal and inexcusable."
The archdiocese issued a statement apologizing to Foley "for the hurt he has experienced" and said the investigation could result in Church sanctions against the 69-year-old priest, who is now retired and living on the Mediterranean island of Gozo off Malta.
"The announcement came one day after the Gozo diocese said it too had opened an investigation into the conduct of the Rev. Anthony Mercieca. The Miami archbishop has withdrawn the priest's faculties, the statement from the Miami church said." (WaPo)
LaHood Admits He Was 'Playing Politics' When He Asked for Intel Staffer to Be Suspended
"This week, on the request of Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL), Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) suspended a Democratic stafferâs access to classified information. Hoekstra said the suspension would remain in place pending a review to determine if that staffer leaked a classified National Intelligence Estimate to the New York Times.
Today on Fox News, LaHood said, 'Iâll tell you why I did it. The reason I did it was because Jane Harman released the Duke Cunningham â who sat on our Intelligence committee â report.' That report, which detailed the misconduct of Cunningham, who is now serving a jail term, was not classified.
"A Fox anchor asked, 'So, itâs payback?' LaHood responded, 'There are some of us on the other side who can equally play politics, and Iâm not afraid to do it.'â (Think Progress)
NRC Stands By Potentially Libelous Ad
"Both major-party candidates for a congressional seat are decrying an ad sponsored by a national Republican committee that accuses the Democrat of billing taxpayers for a call to a phone-sex line.
"The ad, which began airing Friday, shows Michael Arcuri leering at the silhouette of a dancing woman who says, 'Hi, sexy. You've reached the live, one-on-one fantasy line.'
"Arcuri's campaign said an associate mistakenly dialed an 800-number sex line two years ago from Arcuri's New York City hotel room, and released records supporting the claim. The number shares the same last seven digits with the number for the state Department of Criminal Justice Services, which was dialed the minute after the first call was made." (AP)
How Foley Skirted Rules To Pursue Relationships
"Interviews with nearly three dozen former pages suggest that the Florida Republican befriended a wide circle of teenagers during their stints as House pages. Then, shortly before they left or soon afterward, he singled out certain boys to write to -- including four newly confirmed by The Washington Post, in addition to former page Jordan Edmund and one other whose illicit online conversations with Foley ended the congressman's career." (Washington Post)
Columnist to Pay $34,000 in Propaganda Case
"Columnist Armstrong Williams has reached a settlement with prosecutors regarding payments he received by the Education Department to promote President Bushâs agenda.
"Under the settlement, Williams admits no wrongdoing but will have to pay $34,000.The deal was reached last week by Williams, the Education Department and its subcontractor, Ketchum Communications....
"In the settlement, the Justice Department examined whether Williams actually performed the work that was promised in his $240,000 contract signed in late 2003 and cited in his monthly reports to the Education Department.
"Ultimately, prosecutors determined he was overpaid $34,000. Their review did not examine whether he improperly promoted the Bush administrationâs agenda." (AP)
Sex Scandals Dominate Midterm Elections
"The news from some of this year's political campaigns reads more like the script for a tawdry soap opera. And that's inspiring candidates and party leaders to execute some creative campaign strategies to try to maintain the moral high ground.
"In Pennsylvania, four-term Republican Rep. Don Sherwood is running for his political life after revelations that he had a five-year extramarital affair, and that he settled a lawsuit claiming he had choked the woman. He denies the choking part.
"White House spokesman Tony Snow was left to explain why President Bush had agreed to campaign on behalf of a confessed adulterer. Bush 'believes that we're all sinners, we all seek forgiveness, and in this particular case, he's supporting Don Sherwood's candidacy,' the spokesman gamely offered." (AP)
Opinions Vary on Constitutionality of Tribunal Compromise Law
"For weeks, as he and other senators held up President Bush's proposal for trying terrorism suspects, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the Supreme Court would reject Bush's measure.
"Now, after joining the president at the White House for the bill-signing ceremony, Graham is predicting that the high court will accept the compromise law produced by weeks of high-stakes negotiations....
"Legal scholars' opinions vary.
"The tribunals law 'unconstitutionally suspends the writ of habeas corpus, and it denies any noncitizen held anywhere in the world his fundamental right to contest the lawfulness of his detention by the United States,' said Jonathan Hafetz, who represents a detainee as associate counsel at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice." (McClatchy Newspapers)
Officer Awaits Fate in Abu Ghraib Case
"An Army colonel began deliberating Friday whether to recommend a court-martial for an officer accused of abusing Abu Ghraib prisoners by ignoring their mistreatment and then lying to investigators about it.
"A decision is expected by early November on whether Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, an Army reservist from Fredericksburg, Va., will stand trial for any of the 12 charges against him, including one count of cruelty and maltreatment and three counts of dereliction of duty." (AP)
Enron Chapter Closes Today as Skilling Learns Fate
"When Jeff Skilling is sentenced today it will mean vindication for some, a capstone to an era of corporate crime for others and years of incarceration for the former Enron chief executive himself.
"Victims of the company's downfall have anticipated a harsh judgment day for Skilling for some time, hoping it will provide a satisfying coda to their search for justice and retribution." (Houston Chronicle)
Bush Family Profits from "No Child" Act
"A company headed by President Bush's brother and partly owned by his parents is benefiting from Republican connections and federal dollars targeted for economically disadvantaged students under the No Child Left Behind Act.
"With investments from his parents, George H.W. and Barbara Bush, and other backers, Neil Bush's company, Ignite! Learning, has placed its products in 40 U.S. school districts and now plans to market internationally.
"At least 13 U.S. school districts have used federal funds available through the president's signature education reform, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, to buy Ignite's portable learning centers at $3,800 apiece." (LA Times)
Foley Singled Out "Hot" Boys: Report
"Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley made friends with a wide circle of teenaged House of Representatives pages, then singled out "hot" boys to write to, The Washington Post reported on Sunday....
"One former page, who was not identified, said Foley sent him e-mails when he was 16 asking about 'my roommates, if I ever saw them naked.' Later, the former page said Foley hinted about a job opportunity 'because I was a hot boy,' the newspaper quoted him as saying." (Reuters)
Candidate in Letter Probe Stays in Race
"The Republican congressional candidate whose campaign was linked to an intimidating letter sent to Hispanic voters promised Sunday to stay in the race despite pressure to withdraw."
"'I'm not going to quit this race; I'm going to win this race,' Tan Nguyen told reporters at his campaign headquarters." (AP)
Former Aide Said Rep. Porter Made Illegal Fundraising Calls
"A former aide said Republican Rep. Jon Porter made dozens of illegal fundraising calls earlier this year from his congressional and district offices.
"Jim Shepard, a 10-year veteran of Capitol Hill who was the congressman's executive assistant and scheduler from March to the end of June, told the Las Vegas Sun he witnessed Porter making the calls on five different dates.
"Such calls would violate federal election laws and House ethics rules." (AP)
Agent Identified as Beauprez As Leaker
"Confidential law enforcement information that Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez (news, bio, voting record) used in an attack ad against his opponent for governor came from a federal immigration agent, a person in government who was briefed on the matter said Friday.
Cory Voorhis, a registered Republican who lives in Colorado, provided the information, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the case is the subject of an
"At issue is an ad criticizing Beauprez's Democratic opponent, former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, for giving a plea bargain to an illegal immigrant suspected of heroin trafficking. The man was later arrested in California on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor." (AP)
Unbowed, Jefferson Keeps up the Fight
"As Jefferson campaigns for a ninth term, the Harvard Law School graduate has shed little light on the federal investigation of bribery allegations, other than to insist on his innocence. In a TV ad, he talks about 'the presumption of innocence afforded every person' and says, 'For over 18 months, the federal government has investigated me and has yet to bring a single charge against me.'" (Washington Post)