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Remember Larry Hanauer, the Democratic aide on the House Intelligence Committee whose clearance was yanked because he was suspected of leaking the Iraq NIE?

House Intel Chairman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) probably hopes you don't, because, as Roll Call reports (sub. req.), Hanauer's access to classified info has been quietly reinstated, "essentially clearing the aide of accusations that he leaked a sensitive report on the Iraq War to The New York Times."

Hoekstra had stripped Hanauer of his access based on remarkably thin evidence -- that Hanauer requested a copy of the Iraq National Intelligence Estimate shortly before the Times reported on the NIE's findings. Nevermind that the Times piece clearly stated that details of the report came from a number of intelligence professionals, with whom the reporters had been speaking for weeks. In fact, as Rep. Ray Lahood (R-IL) admitted, Hanauer was demoted as payback for the Democrats having released, over Hoekstra's objections, a report on Duke Cunningham's dirty doings.

Now Hanauer's been officially (and suddenly) cleared, it seems. Yet another sign that we're in a new era.

Update: A statement from Jonathan Turley, Hanauer's lawyer:

We are grateful that this long nightmare for Larry and his family is now over. It is regrettable that it took this long given the total absence of any evidence linking Larry to the New York Times articles. As we stated at the outset of this controversy, Larry was not and could not have been the source for the New York Times story.

As a result of his name and private telephone number being leaked to the media, Larry has now been the subject of horrible and reprehensible threats.

I hope that the total vindication of Larry will now restore his good name and standing as a professional staff member.

Now the fight really gets started. Democrat Christine Jennings has filed an official contest of the election results.

As we've noted many times here before, the central dispute concerns the "undervote" in one county, where about 13% of voters didn't select a candidate in the congressional race -- a rate far above those in the other counties. The Jennings campaign faults the electronic voting machines for the problem. Republican Vern Buchanan won the race by fewer than 400 votes, according to the official tally.

The complaint, filed today, notes that "The failure to include these votes constitutes a rejection of a number of legal votes sufficient to place in doubt, and likely change, the outcome of the election."

More soon.

Update: Press release from Jennings campaign follows.

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From the AP:

Tom Noe, a prominent coin dealer accused of taking at least $2 million, was convicted last week of theft, corrupt activity, money laundering, forgery and tampering with records.

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Osowik, who described the crime as an "elaborate scheme of theft on a large scale," also fined Noe $120,000.

"You continued to spend the bureau's money at what I thought was a shockingly, alarmingly large rate, and done for one purpose: to present some type of a facade that you had a bottomless cup of wealth and luxury at your disposal, when in fact it was at the state's expense," Osowik said.

Foley Checks out of Rehab "Sources tell us disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) ended his stay at a rehab facility in Arizona that treats alcohol addiction as well as sexual addiction and compulsion before he headed back to Florida to attend the funeral of his father.

"'It was more for that,' said one source, referring to sexual addiction." (Roll Call)

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A man named Warren Trepp surfaced in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago, you may recall. The paper had investigated the Nevada defense contractor for his shady dealings with then-Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV).

Today's Las Vegas Sun puts Trepp's current flap in perspective. Apparently, the man has a history of attaching himself, Zelig-like, to no fewer than four disparate scandals in the past two decades:

Perhaps Warren Trepp is always just at the wrong place at the wrong time, a victim of terrible and perpetual coincidence.

By his early 30s, he was chief trader for the notorious 1980s junk bond trader Michael Milken.

Then a friend helped him sell a bundle of stock in a collectibles business in 2002, and he wound up selling it to Tom Noe, a Republican bigwig in Ohio recently convicted on multiple counts of fraud and larceny and laundering money to the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign.

Trepp formed the software company eTreppid Technologies that later sought national security contracts with the government. A woman, Letitia White, who did lobbying work for the firm is said to be under investigation in connection with the widening federal bribery probe following the conviction of a former congressman.

Finally, his friendship with Nevada Gov.-elect Jim Gibbons landed him on the front page of The Wall Street Journal in an examination of contracts that eTreppid received with help from Gibbons, the Republican congressman from Reno.

Former White House official David Safavian, sentenced to 18 months in prison for crimes related to his relationship with Jack Abramoff, isn't headed to the pokey quite yet. A federal judge has decided to let him remain free until his appeals have been heard, GovExec.com reports:

Appeals can take several years, so Safavian's sentence of 18 months -- if upheld -- will not begin until after that ruling.

In his opinion granting the request, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman cited the section of U.S. Code that says that if a person is not likely to flee, and the appeal raises a substantial question of law likely to result in a reversal, new trial or different sentence, then the judge can grant a request for release on bond.

It's a movement! As we mentioned earlier this week, the attorney general in Missouri has introduced legislation that would protect citizens on the state's "No Call" list from automated political calls.

Well, you can add Virginia and Pennsylvania to the list, and likely Connecticut.

In Virginia, state Delegate Bob Brink (D-Arlington) has announced that he will introduce legislation outlawing robo calls in the state.

In Pennsylvania, where a barrage of robo calls targeted Dem Lois Murhpy in the state's 6th District, state Rep. Mike McGeehan, D-Phila., says that he will announce the introduction of a bill next week that would add political robo calls to those covered by the state's "Do Not Call" Act.

And in Connecticut, where the state GOP sent out robo calls prior to the election promising to end robo calls, a number of legislators have been reported to be interested in an anti-robo call bill.

Are there any other states moving this way? Let us know.

Late Update: You can add Florida (the bill would add political calls to the state's Do Not Call list) and Wisconsin (the bill would ban all automated calls) to the list.

The fight rages on in Florida's 13th District, where Democrats say malfunctioning electronic voting machines may have cost them the election.

The latest developments: to lead the audit team, the state of Florida has tapped a die-hard Republican who vowed during the 2000 recount controversy to "never be a passive political participant again." However, Republican candidate Vern Buchanan has won court approval to delay the start of the audit. Democrats say it's a partisan stalling tactic.

The controversy in the district revolves around an unusually high rate of "undervotes" in Sarasota County. Thirteen percent of voters -- about 18,000 people -- voted in the county but did not select a candidate in the congressional race. In other counties, that total "undervote" rate was approximately 11 percentage points lower*.

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"They're simply not complying with the law. It's incredible."

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) raised eyebrows yesterday with that comment regarding the Bush administration, made before a crowd of several hundred at a Washington, D.C. event.

At issue is a report on climate change that Congress requires every four years. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is responsible for producing the document, last filed a report in 2000. A new report -- the first to be filed by the Bush administration -- was due in November 2004, but to date the agency has not done so.

"When you get to that degree of obfuscation, then you get a little depressed," McCain said, according to several attendees. McCain's comments were also reported by the trade daily Environment and Energy.

McCain has rapped the administration before over the long-overdue report.

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The U.N. conference on global warming in Nairobi was nothing more than a "brainwashing session," Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) declared yesterday. As we noted then, Inhofe -- a man of science -- wasn't basing that on firsthand knowledge, but on the word of his staff who attended the event.

Who was this expert staffer? Press accounts identify him as Marc Morano, who isn't a scientist but is Inhofe's press flack. Morano is also a former reporter and producer for the Rush Limbaugh show, according to an online biography of the gentleman.

TPMmuckraker editorial guidelines strictly prohibit the writing of completely obvious punch lines. So I will only point out the building blocks -- Inhofe, "brainwashing," expert, Rush Limbaugh Show -- and let readers construct their own.

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