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ABC News has a taste of Trandahl's testimony:

The former clerk of the House of Representatives, Jeff Trandahl, who testified for more than four hours before the House Ethics Committee today, is believed to have testified that a top aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert was informed of "all issues dealing with the page program," according to a Republican familiar with the investigation.

The Republican source said Trandahl planned to name Ted Van Der Meid, the speaker's counsel and floor manager, as the person who was briefed on a regular basis about any issue that arose in the page program, including a "problem group of members and staff who spent too much time socializing with pages outside of official duties." One of whom was Mark Foley.
Van Der Meid, you might remember, was one of the Hastert staffers who was involved in the fall, 2005 response to the "overly friendly" emails that Foley had sent to a staffer. Hastert had described Van Der Meid as "the Speaker's Office liaison with the Clerk's Office."

That brings to two the number of staffers in Hastert's office who allegedly knew about Foley's pursuit of House pages before last fall. According to Kirk Fordham, Foley's former chief of staff, Trandahl also alerted Hastert's chief of staff Scott Palmer about Foley's behavior.

This morning, former House Clerk Jeff Trandahl testifed before the House ethics committee. What did he say?

In a statement, his lawyer would only say that Trandahl "has cooperated fully" with the investigation being conducted by the FBI and the House ethics committee, and that "he answered every question asked of him."

According to various accounts, Trandahl, a Republican, knew for several years that Foley had a problem of pursuing House pages.

In 2000 or 2001, Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) says he notified Trandahl after a page told him he'd received inappropriate messages from Foley.

According to Foley's former chief of staff Kirk Fordham, Trandahl warned him several times, starting in 2001, of Foley's worrying interest in the pages. Fordham says that in 2003, he and Trandahl agreed to go to the Speaker's office about the problem.

And then in 2005, Trandahl was again central when a page received emails from Foley. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) says that he and Trandahl sat down with Foley to talk about the problem.

So amidst all that back and forth, did Trandahl ever mention anything about the earlier run-ins to Speaker Hastert's staff or other members of the leadership? We'll have to wait to find out.

A California Republican House candidate is under investigation for attempting to suppress Latino turn out at the polls, The LA Times reports.

State investigators are trying to track down the source of a mailer that recently went out to approximately 14,000 Democratic voters:

The letter, which purports to be from a Huntington Beach-based group, warns that immigrants will not be permitted to vote in the election. It also warns that the state has developed a tracking system that will allow the names of Latino voters to be handed over to anti-immigrant groups.

"You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time," the letter, written in Spanish, says.

Investigators are focusing on Republican challenger Tan Nguyen, according to the Times. He's been running a distant second to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA). 35% of voters in the district are Latino.

Update: Nguyen has denied being behind the letter.

Associated Press reports:

The Homeland Security Department notified Shirlington Limousine in recent weeks that it intended to exercise an option to extend its contract for transporting department employees around the Washington area, department spokesman Russ Knocke said.

The $21 million contract went into effect Oct. 27, 2005, with annual options for five years. . . .

Shirlington, of Arlington, Va., is part of a federal investigation into whether a defense contractor provided disgraced former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California with prostitutes and limos. Cunningham is serving jail time for taking bribes from defense contractors. Shirlington's president, Christopher Baker, has appeared before a grand jury in San Diego as part of the ongoing investigation.

A House Homeland Security subcommittee held a hearing over the summer on how Shirlington got two Homeland Security contracts, including the one last year, despite a history of problems.

TPMm readers may recall that before he was caught and sent to jail, Duke Cunningham wrote a letter of recommendation to DHS on behalf of Shirlington.

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) is back, this time armed with hard evidence that his Democratic opponent is in cahoots with the Justice Department.

Weldon said yesterday that a retired FBI agent had "confirmed to me that a person who works on my opponent's campaign was bragging that the campaign knew three weeks ago" about the FBI's investigation into Weldon and his daughter's company. McClatchy Newspapers revealed the existence of the investigation last Friday, citing "sources with direct knowledge of the inquiry," one of them a law enforcement official.

So who's this retired agent? He's Gregory Auld, a Weldon supporter. Auld says that a man at a local gym, whom he calls "Grumpy," because he doesn't know his name, told him that three weeks ago, a guy in a Sestak T-shirt (Auld doesn't know this guy's name, either) said "something big" would happen to Weldon in three weeks. So Auld decided to check that out. He approached the Sestak-T-shirt-wearing-dude in the gym and asked if he was happy about what happened over the weekend. Auld says the guy shrugged his shoulders and replied, ""We sniffed this out two weeks ago."

The evidence could not be clearer or more damning. Or as Weldon says, "That is what it is."

And for all you doubters who think that a Republican controlled Justice Department wouldn't be involved in a liberal conspiracy to out Weldon, he's got an answer for that, too:

"You all know that bureaucrats don’t change with presidential leadership at the top. You know that, come on," he said. "Bureaucrats are in office from one administration to another, whether it’s in the CIA, or the DIA or the State Department or the Defense Department or the Justice Department, and this obviously did not start at the top. It obviously came from the bureaucracy."

via War & Piece.

Florida Republicans had been hoping that they could hang signs at polling places in Rep. Mark Foley's district pointing out that, even though Foley's name is on the ballot, all his votes go to the GOP's replacement candidate, Joe Negron. Democrats objected, saying that big signs explaining how to vote Republican amounted to state subsidized campaigning.

Yesterday, a judge ruled with the Dems.

Innocent Torture Victim Couldn't Accept Award Because He's Still on No-Fly List "Syrian torturers could find nothing to implicate Canadian Maher Arar in al-Qaida or any other terrorist ties. An official Canadian government report agreed with that finding and recommended that Arar be compensated for his 10 months in a Syrian prison.

"Still, Arar remains on the U.S. government terror watch list. And the United States has not admitted fault for holding him incommunicado for a week, then, five days after his first telephone call, putting him on a private jet and flying him to the Syrian prison.

"Arar and his American lawyer, Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, were invited to Washington on Wednesday to receive human rights awards from the rights advocates Institute for Policy Studies. Ratner came from his New York headquarters to accept for the center, a longtime campaigner against torture and other abuses.

"Because the watch list will not let Arar enter the United States, he had to stay in Canada and participate by telephone in a discussion of his case and of the U.S. law signed Tuesday by President Bush on treatment and prosecution of detainees." (AP)

Read More →

The stage is set for Rep. Katherine Harris' (R-FL) dramatic last minute comeback. She's down 20 points in the polls. Her campaign is way behind in fundraising ($1 million in the bank compared to Sen. Bill Nelson's $6.8 million). She's a national laughingstock. But she's not giving up. She won't ever give up. In fact, she's even going to sell her Washington D.C. house.

That's right. To prove that she's "committed," Harris has said that she's selling her home to generate campaign funds.

All she has to do is find the right buyer. But as The Orlando Sentinel notes, Pink Sugar seems to be taking her own sweet time:

Harris has talked about selling her Washington, D.C. home for months, but former staffers have said they saw no sign she was preparing to do so. On Tuesday, two Washington real-estate agents said there is no indication the four-bedroom house near Capitol Hill was ever placed in the multiple-listing service, a database of properties for sale.

Harris' spokeswoman tells the paper that Harris isn't going the realtor route, but that doesn't mean it's not for sale:

Harris spokeswoman Jennifer Marks said Harris is not using a multiple-listing service. She said Harris has already shown the home to potential buyers and has someone available to show the home when she is not in Washington.

"She's hopeful she'll be able to sell her Washington residence shortly," Marks said.

Hmm. A cynic would note that it's probably a good move for Harris to sell her Washington home regardless -- since she'll likely be out of office by January. But with only three weeks left in the campaign, she doesn't seem to be in much of a rush.

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), in a conference call with reporters today, criticized Rep. John Sweeney's (R-NY) visit to the Northern Mariana Islands in 2001.

In response to questions from The Albany Times-Union, Sweeney said that he was not aware of the mistreatment of workers on the islands when he visited. He also claimed not to have witnessed anything worrying while he was there.

Miller, whose various attempts over the past decade to regulate the labor conditions and immigration laws on the islands were consistently foiled by Jack Abramoff, wanted to know how Sweeney had managed to tour the islands and not witness evidence of abuse. "Why did you take the trip? What did you do?" he asked. "It’s a very small island."

"If you didn't look into the human rights abuses... what were you doing there?"

Miller added that when he'd visited the islands, he'd visited with federal and state investigators, human rights advocates, local workers, and others to investigate reports of abuses. By contrast, Sweeney met with the local chamber of commerce and business leaders.

Sweeney's spokeswoman told the Times-Union that Sweeney was invited "because of his experience as state labor commissioner under Gov. George Pataki" in New York.

"If they were seeking his advice what happened? He never came back and said we’re going to correct this situation," Miller said.

ABC News reports:

After interviewing some 40 former congressional pages, FBI agents have yet to turn up any evidence of direct sexual contact between underage pages and former Congressman Mark Foley.

Instead, according to law enforcement officials and several former pages, a pattern is emerging of seduction by Foley that began when the boys were 16 and 17. In cases where actual sex followed, it was not until the boys were at the legal age of 18.