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The Daily Muck

Corruption in Iraq

The Coalition Provisional Authority blew through $23 billion of Iraqi money during their tenure. What happened to it? It is "a financial scandal that in terms of sheer scale must rank as one of the greatest in history," according to the Guardian. They report that there are 50 criminal investigations under way looking into the wide ranging corruption, which took place in an atmosphere so flush with cash that a CPA official claims they "played football with some of the bricks of $100 bills before delivery." (The Guardian)

Making The Case For Bribery Just Got Tougher

According to Jeffrey Birnbaum, a recent court decision means that the standard for making a bribery charge stick has just been set higher, possibly effecting prosecutors' ability in the Jack Abramoff investigation to bring their case against lawmakers. (WaPo)

Stiffing The Government on Fines

Remember the last time you heard with satisfaction that an ill-behaved corporation had been ordered to pay a fine for its misdeeds? Did the company ever pay? An AP investigation finds...probably not. According to their study on unpaid fines and penalties, "White-collar crime cases account for the largest amount of uncollected debt. In a study, Government Accountability Office investigators found that just 7% of restitution in such cases is paid." (AP)

Katherine Harris Watch

The Florida papers are unimpressed with Harris after her big announcement last week that she's putting $10 million of her own money into her race for the Senate. The Palm Beach Post reports that Harris believes God wants her in public service, and that she was inspired when young by the movie Last of the Mohicans. Carl Hiassen writes in the Miami Herald that the "flake factor" is plaguing her campaign. And the Orlando Sentinel notes that Harris received illegal contributions back in 1997 that were very similar to the ones from crooked contractor Mitchell Wade - in each case, of course, she said she knew nothing at all about it. (Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel

Reform

There might be a vote on the controversial Office of Public Integrity measure in the Senate on Monday. It would set up an external panel to review ethics complaints - there is considerable opposition to the plan, including among Democrats. (Roll Call)

Burns Unique Non-Profit OK'ed by Ethics Committee

One of the many unique arrangements between Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), his former staffers, and telecommunications companies who lobby him because of his position on a key Senate Committee, is the Burns Technology Center, where two members of his staff sit on the board. The center is largely funded by telecommunications companies. The ethics committee ok'ed that arrangement last year, according to Burns spokesman. (Roll Call)

Hefley Finally Admits He Was Snuffed

Rep. Joel Heffley (R-CO) was run out of the ethics committee last year because he had been too tough on Tom DeLay. For a long time, Hefley was a good Republican and didn't admit such a thing - but now he has. (The Stakeholder)

News from Chicago, the Cradle of Corruption

The city's former No. 2 public official pleaded guilty to taking $48,000 in bribes in exchange for city contracts for work that was never done. The Hired Truck scandal is "only one of a series of corruption woes" facing Mayor Richard M. Daley. (Los Angeles Times)

Covered This Weekend

How a Felon Spun Gold From Pentagon Contracts...(link)

Lobbying Reform Is An Open Joke...(link)

Wilkes Campaign Money to Doolittle Is Just the Beginning...(link)

Doolittle's Free Ride Is Coming To an End...(TPM)

Doolittle Took Cuts from Crooked Contractor's Brent Wilkes Campaign Contributions...(link)

New Hampshire Phone Jammer James Tobin's Motions To Have His Conviction Overturn Were Heard, But The Judge Did Not Rule...(link)

White House Advance Men, Not Secret Service, Posed as Journalists...(link)

Boehner - Been There, Golfed That...(link)

Mitchell Wade's MZM Built A Database of U.S. Locations...(link)

Mitchell Wade's MZM Contracts with the White House Were Virtually Unprecedented...(link)

Jack Abramoff Asked For and Received More Time to Cooperate With Prosecutors in The Bribery Investigation...(link)

Dirk Kempthorne Funneled Corporate Contributions for Personal Use While Governor in Idaho...(link)

Sen. Conrad Burns May Get Primary Challenge...(link)

A Whistleblower Who Prompted A Federal Investigation of His Former Employer KPMG Has Entered The Race against Doolittle...(link)

Another Abramoff Pal, Daniel Lapin, Has Fallen on Fallen on Hard Times...(link)