Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Unfortunate (from a reader trying to get word about her representatives' stance on the Gulf Coast Wage Cut) ...

This is the first time I've ever contacted my congressional representatives' offices, and I can't believe how frustrating it is. I haven't been able to get a straight answer on Schakowsky, Obama, or Durbin. These are hard-core Democrats--it shouldn't be that vexing of an issue. But the people who answer the phones don't have a clue what I'm talking about, and they don't offer to forward me to someone who does. If anything, they say they'll take my comments and pass those on--hardly reassuring when they don't have the slightest idea about the issue to begin with.

This is experience is kind of depressing. It's making me realize how little influence we mere citizens really have.

Can we do <$NoAd$>better?

Anti-Gulf Coast Wage Cut Republicans?

As we reported yesterday, Reps. Ferguson (R-NJ) and Capito (R-WV) seem to be leading up the list of Wage Cut Wigglers, members of Congress unwilling to give their constituents any clear answer on whether or not they support the president's Gulf Coast Wage Cut.

But Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) is circulating a letter among House Republicans calling on the president to rescind the Wage Cut.

TPM Reader MDT found out about the letter this morning when he called the office of Rep. James Walsh (R-NY), whose staffer said the congressman was planning to sign.

We're waiting to hear more from Rep. LoBiondo's office. We'll let you know when we hear.

Is your Rep. a Wiggler? Let us know.

House-Senate Katrina probe dies as Dems refuse to participate in GOP-controlled probe.

Mammalian biologists cite development as new evidence for late-stage testiculogenesis.

Yep, it was already pretty obvious. But if you want any more evidence that the feds are trying to flip David Safavian, check out this new AP story.

Imagine that.

From Government Executive magazine, June 14th, 2004 ...

"He doesn't have a lot of background in procurement, so the hope is that he's a good learner," says Steven Kelman, who served as federal procurement administrator in the Clinton administration. "I don't know where David Safavian comes out on [acquisition reform]," says Allan Burman, another former procurement chief. Angela Styles, who held the top acquisition post until last September, says Safavian has "no apparent philosophy" on procurement issues. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee approved Safavian's nomination on June 2.

(ed.note: Thanks to TPM Reader CF.)

More info on Safavian, the man of the hour.

Also, for future reference, keep this in mind. It was little mentioned, but those Katrina emergency funding bills included a host of made-to-order crony-empowerment(aka: contracting deregulation and streamlining) provisions courtesy of Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) that haven't yet gotten much play.

More on this to come.

Oh that's a good sign.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy <$NoAd$> handles procurement policy for the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

Until Friday the Administrator of the office was David Hossein Safavian.

Today he was arrested on a three count indictment.

This, from the DOJ press release ...

David Hossein Safavian was arrested today based on a three- count criminal complaint filed at federal court in Washington, D.C. The complaint charges Safavian with making false statements to a GSA ethics officer and the GSA-OIG, along with obstruction of a GSA-OIG investigation.

The affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleges that from May 16, 2002 until January 10, 2004, Safavian served as Chief of Staff at the GSA. During that time he allegedly aided a Washington D.C. lobbyist in the lobbyist's attempts to acquire GSA-controlled property in and around Washington, D.C. In August 2002, this lobbyist allegedly took Safavian and others on a golf trip to Scotland.

The false statement and obstruction of the investigation charges relate to Safavian's statements to a GSA ethics officer and the GSA-OIG that the lobbyist had no business with GSA prior to the August 2002 golf trip. According to the affidavit, Safavian concealed the fact that the lobbyist had business before GSA prior to the August 2002 golf trip, and that Safavian was aiding the lobbyist in his attempts to do business with GSA.

Did I mention that before he signed on with the Bush administration Safavian worked for Jack Abramoff at Preston Gates?

Well, he did. Now reread those three grafs and see if they read any different. Golf trip to Scotland? Right. Small world.

He's also a former business partner of Grover Norquist.

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'flip-flop'.

We're working now on putting together our first list of confirmed Wage Cut Wigglers. But it seems Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-NJ) is going to be pretty near the top of the list.

Back on Friday, we got this note from TPM Reader SF ...

I just called the DC office of Congressman Mike Ferguson (R - NJ7), my rep (unfortunately) and asked "does the congressman support the suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 as it relates to the reconstruction in New Orleans" and was told "this is an area of deep concern for the congressman - he's working now to make sure that the suspension is only temporary." "How temporary?" I asked. "Well, that's the million dollar question, and we're working really hard on that right now."

My take is that he supports the suspension and this is the PR response. Of COURSE it's temporary - as soon as the reconstruction of New Orleans is complete the suspension will be lifted.

As SF says<$Ad$>, of course it's temporary. The president has no authority to permanently bar enforcement of the law. However long the Wage Cut stays in effect, it will always be by definition 'temporary'.

So this is just more attempted bamboozlement.

Later, SF is now in touch with DumpMike.com and the site is trying to see if any other Ferguson constituents have had any better luck getting a straight answer out of his office.

We put in a call this morning too. But no one was available to speak with us. And we were invited to leave a voice mail which so far hasn't been returned.

So have you heard from Ferguson's office? Has he come up with a position yet?

No wigglin' from Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)! He's a down-the-line Gulf Coast Wage Cut man.

From his press press, says Pitts: "Simply put, absent the suspension of Davis-Bacon, the Gulf Coast's entry-level workers would not have been able to work on projects that they were funding with their own tax dollars. Everyone deserves the opportunity to help put back together their homes, lives, and livelihoods."