Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Do you know the names of the four Congressman Free-Meals who look like they're in violation of the congressional gifts-ban because of the free dinners they got courtesy of Jack Abramoff at his swanky DC restaurant Signatures? Click here to find out.

Which Republican incumbents seem vulnerable to you next year? And why? Lots of people in DC get paid tons of money to answer this question. And generally they know what they're talking about. But some shifts in the wind are hard to sense at a distance, even with access to the best polling and census data. So let us know what you're seeing where you live. We've set up a discussion thread here. Tell us who you think is vulnerable and just as importantly, why.

I guess Katherine Harris is looking for other self-mockery-memes she can launch against herself in anticipation of her run for the senate next year. On the Hannity show yesterday, she apparently claimed that all the jibes about her titanic use of make-up were unfair because all the newspapers back during the recount had graphically enhanced her make-up, thus making her look like even more of a clown than her behavior already had.

But neither she nor her campaign are coming forward with any evidence or even any specific newspapers to level the charge against. And experts quoted in the article linked above suggest that such an media-wide rouge-ifying conspiracy is highly unlikely.

Like a lot of you, I saw Raw Story's piece last night on the new Vanity Fair article on Sibel Edmonds. The author mentioned that it was out so far only in New York. So I figured, hey, this living in New York thing has finally come in handy. And I went out to buy a copy.

The real stunners in the piece are Edmonds' claims -- reportedly aired before Congress -- that in the course of her work at the FBI she listened to and translated wiretap recordings which appeared to discuss Speaker Hastert receiving large sums of money from a Turkish criminal syndicate. Edmonds made no claim that Hastert's own voice was on the tapes. And thus there's no direct evidence or even corraborating evidence for what was allegedly said on the tapes outside of some highly circumstantial evidence Vanity Fair notes regarding the pattern of giving to Hastert's congressional campaigns.

For the moment I'm not quite sure what to make of it. And the mystery is heightened by the fact that the magazine itself, on the cover, in advance publicity and in the structure of the article itself seems to have made little effort to push this aspect of the story.

(ed.note: This is a revised version of the original post.)

There's a good piece in the Post today by Jeffrey Birnbaum (who's been on this beat for literally decades) about all the forms of DC corruption that are perfectly legal. And this is really the heart of the story about what's going on in DC today.

We have a piece coming later today about a few GOP congressmen who got probably thousands of dollars worth of free meals courtesy of Jack Abramoff at his swanky (and now almost deserted) restaurant Signatures.

But if you just follow the guidelines set forth it's totally fine to accept lush vacations, golf tournaments, ski vacations and more.

So hundred dollar meal from a lobbyist, terrible. Ten thousand dollar trip to Bermuda set up by a lobbyist, not a problem.

A true journalistic service. In The New Republic, Ryan Lizza goes undercover in Bushland and identifies the key "sources close to the White House."

For weeks now I've been hearing that the Justice Department investigation of the cluster of scandals going under the 'Abramoff' label is much larger than press reports have led us to believe. And in any case, there are so many different parts of it and so many different players that it's more than a little hard to keep up.

There's Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, who are at the center of it. Then you have Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist in the mix funneling money in one direction or another. And then there's the elected members of Congress including Tom DeLay, Bob Ney and others.

I've wanted to dig into this for a while. But until recently I didn't have time, what with launching the new site and other miscellaneous stuff I've been working on. But now we're ready. And we're launching a new site that will focus on just this story. We call it Auction House, the name presumably speaking for itself, about a House of Representatives where everything is now for sale.

We'll cover other political shenanigans there too, of course. But this is the core story because it is about the system of corruption upon which the DeLay machine is built.

I'll be doing my own snooping and writing here. But we have a team of determined young researcher-reporter-writers who will be following this story at Auction House, digging into the stuff the dailies don't have the time or interest for, telling you who the main players are, assembling the whole thing into a comprehensible storyline, and last but not least breaking news and advancing the story.

Along the way, as was the case with all the stories we've covered, we'll need your help. Send us your tips, flag newspaper stories we may have missed, and let us know parts of the story we're missing.

More shortly on what we're going to be doing.

When a congressman puts out a statement like this, you pretty much know it's not a good press day ...

Today, federal law enforcement officers executed search warrants on my Washington, D.C., and New Orleans homes as well as my vehicle in Washington. Subpoenas were issued to me, in my official capacity, to the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives and to members of my Washington and New Orleans office staff. I do not know the extent or precise nature of this investigation but I am cooperating fully with the authorities.

That's from Rep. William Jefferson (D) of Louisiana.

Late Update: Here's an article with at least some information about this whole thing may be about.

A TPM Reader <$NoAd$> chimes in ...

The creation vs science question has a major bearing on a rather visible government program:

Isn't the primary rationale for most of the space program to learn more about the origins of life? Some would say that exploration of Mars and the moons of Saturn will help us shed light on these eternal mysteries. Others would point out that all we need to know can be found in the book that's available in every hotel room.

How can it be that the Bush Administration, which advocates pushing toward manned travel to Mars, hasn't acknowledged that its space program objectives are inconsistent with the creationist views?

Secularists have been causing trouble since Galileo.