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This week we've been tallying up all the instances Bush administration officials have attempted to remove data from the public record or block its publication, particularly if it was in conflict with White House policy.

Thanks to the help of readers, fellow bloggers and watchdog organizations, we've by now counted over 20 examples: databases pulled from public view, reports suppressed, studies de-funded and more, in areas like climate change, unemployment, poverty and the Iraq war.

You can find the growing list here. Know of another instance? Let us know.

Here's a coda for those TPM readers who've followed the New Hampshire phone jamming over the past couple of years.

The perps have been caught, restitution has been ordered. But one detail lingered, a loose thread, and unsolved mystery, and it bugged folks: just prior to the phone-jamming, two checks totalling $15,000 found their way to the New Hampshire Republican Party. The jamming, performed by a telemarketing firm, cost approximately $15,000. Who wrote the checks? Two Indian tribal clients of crooked super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Did Abramoff finance the New Hampshire phone jamming?

The answer appears to be no. Todd Boulanger, a lobbyist in Abramoff's shop, gave the two checks to a staffer for Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) to pass along, because, the staffer says, Boulanger "wanted to help out." Gregg wasn't running that year, mind you, but Abramoff didn't see that as a reason to stop passing money around.

So was that money meant to pay for the jamming? The Democrats say no. Paul Twomey, lawyer for the New Hampshire Democrats, told The New Hampshire Union-Leader, that "he is quite sure there is no Gregg connection to phone-jamming."

There you have it: Sometimes a contribution is just a contribution -- or as much as that could be the case when Jack Abramoff is involved.

Next year, the House of Representatives will have to decide what to do about the contested election in Florida's 13th District. Republicans have characterized the Democrats' challenge of the results as a desperate power grab. But here's something to crystallize the issue -- a voting expert representing the manufacturer of the machines has written that there were certainly major problems in the election, and that those problems cost Democrat Christine Jennings the election.

Yesterday, Prof. Michael Herron of Dartmouth testified on behalf of Election Systems & Software Inc. in the state court battle over the election results. He argued that the design of the ballot (which you can see here) was at fault for the large "undervote" in Florida's Sarasota County, where voting machines did not register a vote in the congressional race for approximately 14% of voters. But while he may argue that machine glitches weren't at fault for the result, he doesn't dispute that something went wrong on Election Day.

“It is hard to imagine that the Sarasota result reflects deliberate voter choices," reads a report (pdf) issued earlier this month by Herron and his colleagues on Florida's 13th District. Even more tellingly, Herron found that "there is essentially a 100 percent chance that Jennings would have won the CD 13 race had Sarasota voters" voted in another county.

So keep that in mind as the battle heads further along in court and into Congress. The dispute is not whether voting irregularities cost Jennings the election -- among experts, even opposing experts, that issue is largely settled. It did. The dispute, in court at least, is whether those irregularities were caused in significant part by glitches in the machines, as Jennings has argued, or simply by bad ballot design.

Two days after Rep. Virgil Goode's (R-VA) letter to constituents expressing his fear of "many more Muslims in the United States" came to light, he's finally going to talk to the press.

He's chosen the friendly environs of Fox News: at 4 P.M. today, he'll appear on Neil Cavuto's show to address the swelling controversy.

First reported in Charlottesville's local C-Ville Weekly, the story is now everywhere: The New York Times, CNN, and the AP all had stories out today. Goode has repeatedly refused to apologize for the letter and has said nothing more than that he stands by what he wrote. So it'll be interesting to see if he goes anywhere beyond that this afternoon. We'll be watching.

Any way you cut it, it's clear that the robo call really arrived this year -- and was mostly overlooked as a prominent new weapon in campaign strategists' arsenals.

Underscoring its reputation as a "stealth" campaign tactic, a new poll shows that two-thirds of registered voters got at least one robo call during the midterm election season.

The poll, conducted by The Pew Internet and American Life Project, found that 64% of registered U.S. voters got at least one recorded phone call in 2006. And that's across the country -- you can bet that percentage was much higher in competitive districts.

Only direct mail was a more popular method for campaigns, reaching 71% of voters. But the robo call blew out other more traditional forms of campaigning like going door to door (only 18% of voters were reached that way) or getting a phone call from a real live human being (24%). Pew didn't even bother to track robo calling in 2004.

So, what percentage of those who got a robo call got two, three, or a dozen more? How many got six calls in a row? We still don't know.

We're getting a better picture of the results of the federal "identity theft" raids last week. And it's increasingly clear that if the Feds were trying to protect citizens from identity thieves, they failed.



Unfortunately, while the Department of Homeland Security held a press conference immediately after the raids to announce nationwide totals for arrests, they have been less chatty about the number of detainees charged with criminal violations, and the Department of Justice has announced indictments in each state as they are handed down from grand juries.

As a result, the picture is incomplete: We know that 1,282 workers were detained in the raids ten days ago. Over 100 were charged with a variety of crimes. So far, grand juries have handed down indictments for 58 of them: 20 from Worthington, Minn.; 15 from Grand Island, Neb.; and 23 from Marshalltown, Iowa, according to reports in local papers. I have not seen indictments reported from the raids in Cactus, Texas, or Greeley, Colo.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has not released a tally of the number of innocent legal workers its agents detained in the raids but later released, nor details on how long they were held before being let go.

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Report: Berger Hid Archive Documents "On the evening of Oct. 2, 2003, former White House national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger stashed highly classified documents he had taken from the National Archives beneath a construction trailer at Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW so that he could surreptitiously retrieve them later and take them to his office, according to a newly disclosed government investigation.

"The documents he took detailed how the Clinton administration had responded to the threat of terrorist attacks at the end of 1999. Berger removed five copies of the same document without authorization and later used scissors to destroy three before placing them in his office trash, the National Archives inspector general wrote in a Nov. 4, 2005, report.

"After Archives officials confronted him and accused him of taking the documents, Berger told investigators he "tried to find the trash collector but had no luck." But instead of admitting he had removed them deliberately, Berger initially said he had removed them by mistake.

"An Archives official claimed to have seen Berger fiddling with what appeared to be a piece of paper "rolled around his ankle and underneath his pant leg," but Berger told investigators he was pulling up his socks, which Berger said "frequently fall down." (WaPo, NYT, AP)

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More on Rep. Virgil Goode's (R-VA) warning of "many more Muslims" flooding over the nation's borders.

Last night, The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Goode to apologize for his "bigotry" against Muslims. Predictably, he's so far refused.

But like the menacing Muslim hordes in Goode's feverish dreams, the story's spreading. Two national outlets (AFP and McClatchy) picked up the story today, so the pressure continues to build.

It's official -- the election mess in Florida's 13th District is heading to the House of Representatives. January will be an interesting month, indeed.

Meanwhile the court case in Florida proceeds along. Today, an expert testifed on behalf of Democrat Christine Jennings that glitches with the voting machines cost her the election.

Details about the challenge are provided in the Jennings campaign press release below. You can read our prior coverage of Florida's 13th here.

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