They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

The Daily Muck

Pentagon Sniffed Cunningham's Taint in 2000

Nearly six years ago, Defense investigators followed up on an anonymous tip that fallen GOP Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham had pressured Pentagon employees to pay $750,000 in fraudulent invoices. The information was turned over to Federal prosecutors in San Diego, who declined to prosecute. Hilarity, massive corruption ensues. (Roll Call)

Santorum: Send In the Clowns! Again!

Santorum has re-started his regular bi-weekly meetings with a group of lobbyists, despite promising in January to end the practice. The meetings are held on the same day and at the same time -- Tuesday, at 8:30 AM -- but rather than meeting in the Capitol, the meetings have moved to the Republican National Senatorial Committee. We hear they have better coffee. (Washington Post)

Congress Round-Up

The Senate voted to ban members and aides from taking gifts and meals from lobbyists. (New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Washington Times ) However, further progress may be slowed as Congress leaps into action -- to stop the Dubai ports deal. ( Chicago Tribune) Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) has thrown his support behind the creation of an independent ethics office for Congress. (Roll Call) Two former GOP Ethics committee members are circulating their own ethics proposal. (Roll Call)

Cunningham on the Couch

Before getting busted for taking $2.4 million in bribes, former "Duke" Cunningham visited the Capitol's on-call shrink for severe depression.

Smith, a Navy captain, who is director of psychiatry at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., "found symptoms of major depressive disorder," and said that Cunningham "was having suicidal ideation." Smith was "concerned enough to recommend that he be hospitalized, but Mr. Cunningham refused[.]"

(Time Magazine)

Who's Corrupt in Your Town?

Members of Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell's staff were fined $500 apiece for peddling fundraiser tickets to their subordinates. (Washington Post, New York Times) Former L.A. councilmember Martin Ludlow pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiring to dodge finance laws in his 2003 campaign. (LA Times) Dems set sights on Georgia's Saxby Chambliss, whose son, Bo, is a lobbyist. (US News & World Report) Former homosexual prostitute Tom Malin lost the Democratic primary race for a seat in the Texas House. Guess he'll have to join the White House press corps. (AP)

Jack's Flak?

The Raw Story thinks it may have National Center for Public Policy Research prez Amy Ridenour dead to rights for writing op-eds favorable to clients of disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff.

In a series of editorials between 1999 and 2001, National Center for Public Policy Research president Amy Ridenour went to bat for the Commonwealth of the Marianas Islands, a small U.S. territory in the Pacific. . . . Ridenour also lent her support to the Western Pacific Economic Council, a trade group composed of Marianas garment manufacturers. . . Both the Marianas and the Economic Council were clients of Jack Abramoff at the time.

Abramoff used NCPPR to launder $2.5 million, RS reminds readers. (The Raw Story)

White House Pulls Nomination for Best-Named Conservative Judge Ever

Following revelations that nearly 20 of his rulings were marred by conflicts of interest, Judge James Payne had his nomination for a seat on a federal appeals court yanked by the Bush administration. (Salon)

TPMmuckraker Salutes Toledo Blade Team

Paul and Justin salute our fellow muckrakers at the Toledo Blade for winning a National Headliners Award. James Drew, Mike Wilkinson, Steve Eder, Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, Jim Tankersley and Joshua Boak dug up the Ohio coingate scandal, which led to convictions for Gov. Bob Taft and four of his aides. (Washington Post)

The Muckraker salute, by the way, is executed thusly: hold your hand out palm up, with four fingers extended and your thumb folded over your palm. Bring your elbow back, and make a digging motion. Try it at home!

Covered Yesterday

Jack Abramoff talks and talks to Vanity Fair...(link & link)

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) lashes back at Abramoff...(link)

Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) staffer frequented Abramoff's skybox...(link)

New subpoena issued in Ronnie Earle's investigation into DeLay...(link)

CQ downgrades DeLay's standing in Texas' 22nd, says there's "no clear favorite" in race...(TPM)

Katharine Harris Fights Rumors That She's Dropping Out...(link and link)