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Back in February, the Democratic National Committee filed a complaint against the McCain campaign for violating the spending limits for the primary public financing system (explanation of that mess here). Since the FEC is defunct, the DNC then had to go to court to get some action.

Today, the district court in D.C. came to its decision -- for now, at least. The court has ruled that the law is clear that the DNC must wait 120 days after filing their FEC complaint before going to court. So this suit was dismissed, and the DNC must wait until June before they can go back to court. The judge didn't even consider the merits of the case, which will have to wait until June. Meanwhile, McCain continues to spend far beyond the spending limits of the program.

House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers' (D-MI) response to Karl Rove's offer to testify by letter: Nope.

The committee wants Rove to testify about his role in the prosecution of ex-Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL), but Rove has refused to appear for a hearing, instead offering to speak privately with staff off the record. He modified that offer to testify by letter.

But Conyers says that's a no-go. If Rove is willing to create a record with a letter, he argues, then there's no reason why he shouldn't be willing to sit down with staff for an on-the-record interview. Conyers says the committee is prepared to offer "other possible accommodations, such as providing a list of initial questions that may be asked," but there must be a live interview and a transcript. Conyers again mentions the possibility of a subpoena should talks break down.

So now the ball is in Rove's court.

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One of the four people who have been charged for having run the Emperor's Club -- the prostitution ring that ensnared Eliot Spitzer -- has pleaded guilty to prostitution and money laundering charges. The others are likely to follow, The New York Times reports. What does this mean for Spitzer? It's too early to tell. But we'll likely know soon enough.

Today at two, convicted New Hampshire phone jammer and author Allen Raymond will testify before the House Judiciary Committee as part of its ongoing probe into the 2002 crime.

They keep on asking questions because they have gone unanswered. As Raymond laid it out in How To Rig An Election, he doesn't buy the story that Jim Tobin, the former Republican National Committee official who was convicted for his part in arranging the jamming, didn't confer with his higher-ups in the RNC and the White House about the scheme. And since he personally urged well-connected Republicans to snuff the Justice Department's investigation, he certainly doesn't think it's far-fetched that they took his advice.

Your quick refresher on the details of the scheme: Charles McGee, then the executive director of the New Hampshire GOP, was the one who had the genius idea of jamming Democratic phone lines on Election Day. He called Jim Tobin, the New England Regional Director of the RNC, to ask for help implementing it. Tobin then called Raymond, whom he knew from working on the 2000 Steve Forbes campaign and who ran a telemarketing consulting firm, to see if he could do the job. Raymond said he could, and things went on from there.

After the jamming came to light in early 2003, it took until after the 2004 elections for Tobin was finally indicted. Democrats have alleged that the probe was slow-rolled and stifled by an inadequate devotion of resources at the FBI.

Despite the fact that the Justice Department has so far stonewalled the committee's requests for information and documents about the probe, they are trying to keep it in the public eye with a hearing today.

And they might get some help on that score from Hollywood. The AP reported over the weekend that Billy Ray, the writer and director of Shattered Glass, is working on an adaptation of Raymond's book.

Allow me to make some casting suggestions. Jon Voight as Jim Tobin, I'd say. Philip Seymour Hoffman would be a strong choice to play McGee (he's pictured to the left there). Paul Giamatti as Raymond. And maybe Josh could be persuaded to play himself.

The Washington Post's extensive four-part series on the shoddy health care provided to imprisoned illegal immigrants ends today with a look into the drugging of detainees, oftentimes for no medical reason. (Washington Post)

The Detroit City Council narrowly voted to begin the removal of embattled Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Tuesday. The measure, passing by one vote, asks the governor to force Kilpatrick out as the council simultaneously moves to do the same. (Detroit Free Press)

Another legacy of the Bush administration: Using federal agency bureaucrats to propose or adopt rules limiting lawsuits, circumventing an unfriendly Congress and the public's watchful eye. (Associated Press)

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You'd think that an Iraqi anti-corruption crusader who testified before Congress about his travails would find no great difficulty in obtaining asylum in the United States. You'd think the U.S. would be grateful for the news that $18 billion worth of corruption had virtually "stopped" reconstruction in Iraq. But not so much.

Former State Department officials told Congress earlier this week that, though Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, the former head of the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity, was able to get access into the U.S., he is not allowed to work and is living hand to mouth. Why has he fallen through the cracks?

It's always a toss-up between negligence/incompetence and malfeasance with this administration. On the negligence side of things, you have the disastrously impenetrable immigration system, which has allowed so few Iraqis to come to the U.S. As The New York Times reports today, U.S. soldiers have actually set up organizations to help their interpreters gain asylum, since the Iraqis, even though they face certain threat of death for collaborating with American forces, cannot navigate the system on their own. As one Army captain tells it, interpreters are required to produce a letter from a general, which he said was "like a junior associate at a Fortune 500 company asking the chief executive for a letter of recommendation."

But then there's the malfeasance side of things. One of the former officials testified that "a senior State Department official had ordered agency employees not to give al Radhi references or contact him" for help with his asylum.

That might have a lot to do with the trouble that Radhi gave Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the administration. Like pointing out that corruption ran rampant under Maliki and that he'd jiggered the system so that corruption judges could not bring charges against any of his senior officials without his approval -- that was a decree on which Secretary of State Rice refused to pass judgment when she testified late last year. Rice also refused to comment on Radhi's many accusations.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) declared at the hearing early this week that he is "going to ask the State Department what in the hell are they thinking." Somehow I don't think Rice will be any more forthcoming this time around.

Esquire has posted the transcript of its wide ranging interview with former Justice Department official John Yoo. While Yoo is best known for his time at the Justice Department crafting jaw-dropping legal opinions authorizing torture, the interview shows that he harbors some unexpected opinions. For instance, who knew that the guy who gave the legal green light to the administration to pursue their most controversial policies takes a broad view of impeachment and Congressional oversight?

This is from the interview, where Yoo is speaking about his time as the general counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee under Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) during the late 1990s:

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Both The Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain Dealer report that it's just a matter of time before Ohio AG Marc Dann steps down.

Apparently it wasn't the Dems impeachment filing that is driving him out, but Republicans' attempt to launch an investigation by Ohio's inspector general. He reportedly has offered to resign if Dem legislators blocked the bill: another investigation he does not need.

It's time for your surveillance bill update. Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) says that he's drafted a compromise on retroactive immunity for the telecoms. How does it bridge the gap between the House Dems, who refuse to wipe away the forty or so lawsuits against the telecoms for collaborating with the administration's wireless wiretapping program, and the White House, who refuse to pass any surveillance bill without such a measure?

Well, he's not saying, although he's dropping some hints:

"I think we've come up with some things that would involve the court, but not get to a position where it would endanger the program or the carriers."...

Bond said the language, drafted with White House consent, represented a "new provision we've come up with" on immunity. He would not give details other than to say that the FISA court would have a role. It is unclear whether the new approach will gain approval from Democratic leaders and negotiators.


Bond says that the measure is not the one that was offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would have directed the secret FISA court to have determined whether the telecoms had followed the law or participated "in good faith with an objectively reasonable belief that such assistance was lawful." Most Democrats supported that, but all Republicans except Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) didn't. Since Bond says that his solution doesn't "endanger" the telecoms, one would think that his proposed solution would be even less risky than having the secret court make a determination as to whether the telecoms really believed they had legal cover. I can't wait to see it.

Meanwhile, The Hill also reports that Bond is negotiating directly with Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD). It's unclear as of yet whether Hoyer is amenable to Bond's offer, but they're talking.

Last week, I did a complete rundown of the incredibly sordid case of Ohio Attorney General Mark Dann (D). Democrats, though united in their desire for Dann to resign, had not quite arrived at impeachment as the solution. As one lawmaker put it, it wasn't clear if Dann's transgressions had gone beyond "being stupid."

Well, with Dann continuing to refuse to step down, Democrats have united on impeachment as the solution. This morning, they filed articles of impeachment in Ohio's House, with 42 of the 45 Dems supporting the nine counts.

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