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The Daily Muck

DeLay Staggers from the Ashes

His primary election is today, and of course, he'll be watching the returns come in with some lobbyist friends. (AP)

The Hill reports that DeLay is ramping up his fundraising efforts, hoping to raise $8 to $9 million this cycle.(The Hill)

Brent Wilkes and the CIA

Laura Rozen, who's been all over Brent Wilkes' ties to the CIA, reports that Wilkes may well have been close to receiving a huge contract with the CIA to fly a "secret plane network." (War & Piece)

Duncan Hunter Stands by Duke

Ah, the ties that bind. Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has known Cunningham for more than 25 years. They served in Congress together and even fought for earmarks for Brent Wilkes together. And recently he even went to court with him on his sentencing day. (The Hill)

In other Duke news, the North County Times has a handy primer for where the investigation is now. (NCT)

When Is A Lobbyist Not a Lobbyist?

When he's running to replace Duke Cunningham.

As Josh noted last week, Brian Bilbray is in the running to replace Cunningham. For the past six years, he's been a lobbyist in D.C. But in registration documents, he's declared that he's an "immigration reform advocate" - because one of his clients was FAIR, a group that fights illegal immigration. He's also represented other clients like the San Diego Gas & Electric Co. - but it seems he's mum on that.

He also has little to say about his "very tenuous" connection to Jack Abramoff. Bilbray took a trip to the Marianas in the mid-90s when the islands were a client of Abramoff's. (TPM, SDUT)

Reform

Roll Call reports that Democrats are readying themselves for a battle over reform:

Central to the Democrats' strategy is an effort to hold Senate action this week to the standard the party claimed to have set back in January when the party introduced its own reform plan, called the Honest Leadership in Government Act.

We'll see. The Hill reports that the legislating fray could see a host of items tacked on, like the President's pet proposal, the line item veto. (Roll Call, AP, The Hill, NYT, Roll Call) For their part, the House Republicans are using this opportunity to go after 527 organizations like the dreaded MoveOn (The Hill).

Bob Ney's Shady Dealings

Laura Rozen steps into the world of Fouad al Zayat, high stakes gambler and "former representative for Boeing." You might remember that Zayat, along with convicted felon David Winfield, owned a company that sought to sell plane parts to Iran, and Ney went to bat for him. (War & Piece)

The Burns Revolving Door

From the Helena Independent Record:

A study of Montana's two senators - Democrat Max Baucus and Republican Conrad Burns - shows that while both lawmakers have lost staff to lobbying jobs and accepted lobbyist donations, only Burns has hired lobbyists for such key positions as legislative director and campaign chairman. He has also started a nonprofit group with lobbyists.

(HIR)

And about that nonprofit group, the U.S. Asia Network: it was started by a former Burns staffer cum lobbyist named Leo Giacometto and essentially served as a trade association for Giacometto's lobbying clients. After questions were asked last year, the U.S. Asia Network's site shut down. (Billings Gazette, Left in the West)

Your Tax Dollars at Work

"The FBI is investigating allegations that a former top official at the Federal Election Commission tried to settle a sexual harassment complaint from a female staffer by attempting to misappropriate $100,000 in taxpayer funds last fall." (Roll Call)

In Other Muck

The Houston Chronicle investigates the widely popular phenomenon of local governments hiring lobbyists. (Houston Chronicle)

Covered Yesterday

Jack Abramoff's sentencing was put off to March 29th, but no later. And his lawyer declared that Abramoff will name names. (Sun-Sentinel, TPM)

Rep. Katharine Harris is "circling the wagons." (The Ledger, TPM)

Gov. Jeb Bush is refusing to release details about a tax credit given to crooked defense contractor MZM. (Tampa Trib, TPM)

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