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CQ reporting:

Rep. Bob Ney, facing certain expulsion from the House after being convicted of two felonies in relation to the Jack Abramoff scandal, said on Friday he will resign by the end of the day.

Ney, who pleaded guilty Oct. 13 to making false statements and conspiracy to commit fraud, is the first member of Congress to be convicted as part of the wide-ranging Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

Ney, in a call to Congressional Quarterly, said “I’ll be resigning today, approximately 4 or 4:30 p.m. I’ll be submitting my letter to the Speaker of the House.” . . .

“I have completed the loose ends — the audit came back, the boxes are shipped out,” Ney said. “I’m done with everything I wanted to complete.”


As we noted back in mid-October after Ney pled guilty, he just needed to hang around Congress until November 1st to get his last paycheck of $13,000.

Reader GB has some good questions about that hours-long surveillance tape from the parking garage purported to be recorded on the night Gibbons allegedly assaulted a young woman, which shows neither the Republican gubernatorial hopeful nor his accuser, Chrissy Mazzeo -- only an occasional security guard, and a white cat:

It's odd that no one, not just Mazzeo and Gibbons but no one at all, appears in the tapes -- why would no one be going to or from their cars on a busy Friday night; the garage is between the restaurant where the event happened, a popular bar (Gordon Biersch) and two other restaurant/bars, plus the office complex where lots of law firms (and [Gibbons adviser Sig] Rogich) have offices.

Moreover, a charity auction was taking place in a large tent in the outdoor portion of the parking lot that night (which is why Mazzeo was at M&C ) -- which meant more than the usual # of people would have been parked in the garage.

And once the rain let up, there should have been a lot of people going to their cars.

But no one is in the tapes at all. Other than a security guard occasionally, who is conspicuously not carrying an umbrella or rain gear.

Sweeney has said that recent reports of police documents showing he abused his wife were forgeries, and that he'd consent to releasing the originals so they could see they'd been duped. But for over a day and a half, he's declined to sign the official order to allow those docs to be made public.

As TPM readers no doubt know, The New York Daily News and Albany Times-Union both published accounts earlier this week of a police blotter report that showed that an officer had been called to the Sweeneys home in December of last year on a domestic abuse call. Sweeney's wife allegedly told a 9-1-1 dispatcher that he was "knocking her around the house," and when an officer arrived, he was told that Sweeney had "grabbed [his wife] by the neck and pushed [her] around the house," but that everything was fine now.

Sweeney responded to the report by claiming that the blotter report was forged. But oddly, the Sweeneys did confirm that there had been a 9-1-1 call -- but that nothing like what's alleged in the blotter report happened.

There's a very clear way to get to the truth, of course: the police could release the official report. To do that, all they need is a signed and notarized letter from the Sweeneys. Now, Sweeney has said that he would authorize the police to release the report. But somehow, despite the fact that numerous news organizations have offered to facilitate the process, Sweeney just hasn't gotten around to sending the police that letter.

And more than 24 hours after his promise to release the report, we're all still waiting.

What do you do when confronted with incriminating evidence by an investigative reporter?

If you're Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), facing documents showing you've misused taxpayer funds to support your ailing campaign -- you snatch it away.



Murphy: "This was taken from me without my knowledge, okay? So I'm keeping my materials here."

"A partial review Thursday of surveillance video from a parking garage where a woman said the Republican candidate for governor assaulted her did not reveal the presence of either person, nor of an attack," the AP reports.

"The cameras filming an area in front of the first floor elevators showed neither [accuser Chrissy] Mazzeo nor [Rep. Jim] Gibbons [(R-NV)]," the news organization said, "only black-and-white images of elevator doors and the occasional appearance of a security guard and a white cat."

These tapes, of course, are the same ones that first did not exist, then did exist, and whose fluctuating realities have been blamed entirely on a security guard named "Aaron." Gibbons' lawyer, Don Campbell, turned over a copy of the surveillance recordings to the AP yesterday morning, and said he expected the organization to dupe the tapes and distribute them to other outlets. Chaos ensued, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

"I thought about this and couldn't think of any better plan than that," Campbell said.


More after the jump.

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Congress Fires Iraq Auditor Who Uncovered Waste, Fraud, Abuse "Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.

"And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowen’s supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip." (NYTimes)

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From the AP:

A Republican congressman accused of abusing his ex-mistress agreed to pay her about $500,000 in a settlement last year that contained a powerful incentive for her to keep quiet until after Election Day, a person familiar with the terms of the deal told The Associated Press.

Rep. Don Sherwood is locked in a tight re-election race against a Democratic opponent who has seized on the four-term congressman's relationship with the woman. While Sherwood acknowledged the woman was his mistress, he denied abusing her and said that he had settled her $5.5 million lawsuit on confidential terms.

The settlement, reached in November 2005, called for Cynthia Ore to be paid in installments, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is confidential. She has received less than half the money so far, and will not get the rest until after the Nov. 7 election, the person said Thursday.

In the days before ABC News first reported Mark Foley's "over friendly" emails toward a congressional page, top Republican political staffers huddled with Foley in conference calls, helping him handle political fallout from story, The New York Daily News reports.

In other words, when top Republicans learned of Foley's inappropriate emails, they appear to have circled the wagons and helped Foley himself spin the story, rather than alert the House Page Board or any other responsible authority to look into the matter.

Rep. Tom Reynolds' (R-NY) communications director at the National Republican Congressional Committee, Carl Forti, was on the calls, along with Reynold's chief of staff Kirk Fordham and Foley's top staffers. A source told the Daily News the calls were focused on "damage control"; Forti confirmed that the calls took place.

The Republican leadership, of course, has been under fire for not dealing more aggressively with Foley after the emails came to light months earlier (there's been no evidence that top Republicans knew about the sexually explicit IMs turned up after ABC News' initial story). This is actually an example of top Republicans helping Foley deal with fallout from the emails.

An open question from the story is whether Reynolds, who's locked in a tight reelection battle due in part to his role in Foleygate, was involved in the damage control effort -- which involved two of his top staffers. He refused to answer questions for the piece, citing his testimony before the House ethics committee.

We've spent some time here cataloguing the myriad signs that point to a cover-up of Rep. Jim Gibbons' (R-NV) alleged assault of a cocktail waitress in a Las Vegas parking garage. But the mystery of the disappearing videotapes from surveillance cameras in the garage just has to take the cake.

Today, The Las Vegas Sun provided the fullest accounting yet of the tapes' journey. And it just gets worse.

Chrissy Mazzeo, the cocktail waitress who says she was assaulted, has said from the beginning that the tapes would show just what happened that night. "[A]ll that stuff will be on tape if there is a camera there," she told a 911 dispatcher the night of the incident.

When police first contacted the parking garage that night, they were told by a security officer "identified in police reports only as Aaron,'" that the cameras in the garage weren't recording. Sorry. "The next day," the Sun reports, "after officers told Mazzeo there was no video after all, she decided to drop the case." But two weeks later, Mazzeo called a press conference to say that she would press charges if the police reopened the case. So the police decided to "tie up some loose ends," as a police Deputy Chief put it to the Sun. They went over to check up on the tapes and maybe interview that Aaron fella.

To their surprise, "Robert Clavier, director of security for Hughes Center [the garage], showed up to say that videotapes indeed existed from Oct. 13." They were told that Hughes had had the tapes the whole time, but "didn't know what to do because it was a closed case."

There's been no explanation as to why Aaron (whose last name remains undisclosed) gave police such bad information early on. For some reason, though, police don't suspect Aaron of knowingly misleading them. Deputy Chief Greg McCurdy would only tell the Sun that "He may have been given wrong information." It's not clear from whom.

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Over at Radar, they've got your mid-morning muck diversion, a clip from the 2003's action thriller Strike Force -- starring Mark Foley.

In it, Foley gives a straight-to-video performance as Congressman Fairchild, a lawmaker who pays a sack of money to a group of vigilantes (called "The Librarians") to rescue his kidnapped daughter.

The only other scandal figure we can think of who's matched Foley's contribution to cinema is Jack Abramoff, who infected the world with the action flick Red Scorpion, only to redouble the accomplishment with Red Scorpion 2.

Update: From TPMm Reader GN: "You're forgetting Gary Condit's cameo in the film Return of the Killer Tomatoes."

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