Foley Ethics Probe to Enter Its Second Week
"With the House page scandal weighing on GOP candidates, an ethics committee investigation will enter its second full week with many important figures still to be interviewed....
"[Top] GOP leaders, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert [R-IL] and Majority Leader John Boehner [R-OH] have yet to testify. Nor have senior Hastert aides who dealt last fall with [former Rep. Mark] Foley's inappropriate e-mails to a former page but claim they never told their boss." (AP)
Police Find No Report of Foley Dorm Incident
"U.S. Capitol Police said yesterday that they have no record of an alleged incident in which then-Rep. Mark Foley [R-FL] supposedly tried to enter a Capitol Hill dormitory for teenage pages.
"The purported nighttime incident has been cited by lawmakers and a key witness in the scandal that involves Foley's interactions with congressional pages and the House's handling of the matter. Unlike sexually graphic electronic messages that Foley sent to teenage boys, evidence of the alleged dorm incident has proved elusive." (WaPo)
Kolbe Camping Trip Being Investigated
"Federal prosecutors in Arizona have opened a preliminary investigation into a camping trip that an Arizona lawmaker took with two former pages and others in 1996, according to a law enforcement official.
"Rep. Jim Kolbe [R-AZ] took the former pages as well as staff members and National Park Service officials on a Fourth of July rafting trip in the Grand Canyon in 1996, his spokeswoman Korenna Cline said Friday." (AP)
Candidates Taking Aim at Lobbyists
"In close contests from Connecticut to California, Republicans and Democrats are attacking each other for getting too close to "special interests" and lobbyists. The accusation, a longtime election staple, is carrying greater heft than usual, election experts agree, thanks to the guilty plea of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in January and the recent e-mail scandal of former representative Mark Foley [R-FL]...
"Candidates and independent organizations have run more than 300 political ads suggesting that the incumbents, the challengers or both have been co-opted by narrow interests or, worse, have actually lobbied. Many more such ads are planned in the tightest House and Senate races." (WaPo)
Abramoff Links May Hurt Burns in November
"[Senator Conrad] Burns [R-MT], in the fight of his political life against Democrat Jon Tester, has been citing...home-state money and projects to try to convince voters that they should re-elect him. For many people in this expansive state, it appears to be reason enough.
"Yet not everyone is on board.
"Across town, at the Home Cafe on Main Street, 80-year-old Gordon Matheson says Burns is not honest. Matheson mentions Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist from Washington, D.C., who was convicted on federal corruption charges this year. Burns took, and has since given away, about $150,000 in campaign contributions from Abramoff.
"Down the street, at the Super Dollar Store, 41-year-old clerk June Sasek mentions Abramoff as well.
"Both Sasek and Matheson are voting for Tester." (AP)
Dems Have a Clear Shot at DeLay's Seat
"Voting Republican in this conservative district was never difficult when Tom DeLay's name was on the ballot. With DeLay out of the race and the GOP unable by law to substitute a name on the ballot, voters must write in the Republican candidate, Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. That could prove to be such a chore that Democrats might walk away with a seat that has long been in the GOP's hands.
"Cynthia Hart, a straight-ticket Republican and mother of three in suburban Houston, said she was unaware she would have to write in the Republican candidate.
"'I guess I have to be more careful,' Hart said. 'But I'm not so sure I would take the time to go through all that.'" (AP)
White House Denies Ignoring Foley
"The White House Friday brushed off insinuations it stiffed Mark Foley by not inviting the gay Republican to events with President Bush in Florida two years ago....
"Foley didn't gripe to Bush directly that he felt left out. Instead, he complained to the President's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, according to e-mails obtained by the Palm Beach Post." (NY Daily News)
Democratic Party in La. Backs Rival of Jefferson
"Rep. William J. Jefferson [D-LA] was passed over by the [Democratic] party's State Central Committee in favor of state Rep. Karen R. Carter. The committee voted 69 to 53 to endorse Carter in the Nov. 7 election....
"Jefferson, who has denied the bribery allegations and has not been charged, will still appear on the ballot as a Democrat and will not lose campaign funds because of the vote. But it was the first time in recent memory that an incumbent failed to win the state party's endorsement, said party member Elsie Burkhalter." (AP)
Ohio GOP's Financial Support Wavering
"As the GOP scrambles nationwide to retain its majority, scandal-ridden Ohio appears to be falling off the financial radar screen.
"Television time is being forsaken for House candidates. And national promotions of the state's gubernatorial candidate by the Republican Governors Association popped up, then disappeared." (AP)
Investigation Begins at Guantanamo
"The Pentagon's Southern Command will head up the investigation into allegations of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay brought by a Marine Sergeant who first told her story publicly Thursday on ABC News.
"Southcom, which oversees military activities in the Caribbean and Latin America, issued a statement to ABC News saying it 'will fully cooperate with the Inspector General to learn the facts of the matter and will take action where misconduct is discovered.'
"The complaint was filed by Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, defense counsel for one of the detainees. It is based on a sworn affidavit by Sgt. Heather Cerveny, his paralegal, who states that during a visit to the base in late September, she heard a number of U.S. Navy guards speak openly of abusing prisoners." (The Blotter, LA Times)
Weldon Faces Probe on Daughter's Deals
"The FBI is investigating whether Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., used his influence to secure lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, two people familiar with the inquiry said Saturday.
"The inquiry focuses on lobbying contracts worth $1 million that Weldon's daughter, Karen Weldon, obtained from foreign clients and whether they were assisted by the congressman, they said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the criminal investigation....
"Those two people familiar with the investigation confirmed that federal agents were examining Weldon's work between 2002 and 2004 to help two Russian companies and two Serbian brothers connected to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. They had hired Solutions North America Inc., a company operated by Karen Weldon and Charles Sexton, a Republican ally of the congressman." (AP)
Taylor Threatens to Sue Wall Street Journal
"A congressman in the thick of a tough re-election battle demanded Friday that The Wall Street Journal correct and retract statements in an article that said he slipped projects benefiting his own business interests into the federal budget, a claim he called libelous.
"Rep. Charles Taylor [R-NC] said he would sue the newspaper if it does not meet his demands, made in a letter written by Asheville lawyer Robert B. Long Jr. and released by Taylor's office." (AP)
"The annals of New York politics are full of nickel-and-dime schemes, venality, and outright stupidity, but [Bernard] Kerik's [New York City's former police commissioner] broad swath of damage is hard to match. The 51-year-old cop is not a backstabber--to the contrary, he's known for personal loyalty--but, in his long stumble down the corridors of Republican power, he has done a cartoonish mountain of damage, mostly to his friends and allies. Indictments (the DiTomassos, former aide Fred Patrick); ruined careers (former spokesman Tom Antenen); a love affair splashed across the tabloids (with publisher Judith Regan, at a city-owned apartment next to Ground Zero). Amid rumors of an investigation, his former chief of staff reportedly decamped to Brazil, where he apparently tried to sell a Kerik official windbreaker for $1,000 on eBay. 'He's like Kryptonite,' says [Leonard] Levitt [of NYPD Confidential]. 'Anybody he's had anything to do with comes away screwed and bitter.'...
"But one Kerik friend remains unscathed: [former Mayor Rudy] Giuliani. Kerik, in many ways, is a creation of the former New York City mayor, who helped him rise from the middle level of the police department to fame and notoriety. But, now that Giuliani is presumably making a run for the presidency in 2008, his friendship with the toxic Kerik may be his greatest liability. So far, Giuliani has managed to keep Kerik close while avoiding the kiss of death that has sunk so many of his former aide's other friends. But the latest Kerik scandal threatens to consign Giuliani to their same fate." (TNR)
1 Man Still Locked Up from 9/11 Sweeps
"In a jail cell at an immigration detention center in Arizona sits a man who is not charged with a crime, not suspected of a crime, not considered a danger to society.
"But he has been in custody for five years.
"His name is Ali Partovi. And according to the Department of Homeland Security, he is the last to be held of about 1,200 Arab and Muslim men swept up by authorities in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks." (AP)
Judge Denies Ill. Gov's Appeal
"A federal judge dashed former Gov. George Ryan's hopes of avoiding prison while his corruption case is on appeal, ordering him Friday to start serving his 6 1/2-year sentence in January as scheduled.
"U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer rejected Ryan's claim that misconduct by members of the jury at the trial's close made it likely a higher court would toss the verdict and that Ryan therefore should stay out of prison in the meantime....
"Ryan, 72, and a co-defendant Larry Warner, 67, were convicted April 17 of racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud and other offenses involving corruption when Ryan was secretary of state in the 1990s and later governor." (AP)
DHS Funding Allocation Criticized
"For Edward Reiskin, a deputy mayor of Washington, D.C., the epiphany came in late May, after he'd worked for two months with a cast of hundreds-including law enforcement officials who responded to the Pentagon on September 11-crafting a proposal seeking $188 million in Department of Homeland Security urban counterterrorism grants. 'They called us the afternoon before the ... announcement,' says Reiskin, '[to say] we wouldn't get the money we were expecting.' Rather than $188 million, the capital region got $47 million; among the D.C. proposals shelved: purchasing hundreds of temporary hospital beds. 'I was ... just incredulous,' Reiskin says.
"Lately, that sort of controversy has been the rule rather than the exception for the DHS Grants and Training Office, the latest incarnation of a bureau that has handed out more than $18 billion since September 11 while coming under criticism-fairly or not-for the way it has distributed the money. One New York representative said the office "declared war on New York City" when it slashed proposed security funding for D.C. and New York by 40 percent in May. Another DHS office has been ridiculed for keeping a database of potential terrorism targets that includes sites like a popcorn factory. Tracy Henke, who heads the 240-person grants office, recently announced she'd step down by the end of this month. This was 'a transitional year for us,' says George Foresman, an under secretary overseeing the grants shop. True enough, but others might term that a bit of understatement. And where it's all headed is more than a bit unclear." (U.S. News and World Report)