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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

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."

TPM Reader RB tells us that Rep. Todd Akin's office (R-MO) is telling constituents that the Gulf Coast Wage Cut is standard operating procedure after a natural disaster. As far as we can tell, that's a crock since the Davis-Bacon Act has only been suspended in response to a natural disaster once since it was enacted in 1931. That was by the president's father in 1992 in response to Hurricane Andrew -- and that mainly because he needed to appeal to right-wingers in the lead-up to the election. (For those of you who are too young. Believe me, it was a different day.)

In any case, that's not standard operating procedure. At best it's a congenital predisposition. Who else has heard from Rep. Akin? Has his staff given you the same line?

ABC's The Note, still dumb as a door post ...

The press and the Democrats are still demonizing Karl Rove's involvement in anything and everything, expressing shock and horror that a deputy White House chief of staff with wide-ranging applicable experience is helping to oversee the Katrina response.


Then there's Kurtz at the Post ...

Delmar, N.Y.: Has their been an official announcement from the White House that Karl Rove is in charge of the Gulf reconstruction efforts? If not why have their been some reports such as from Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo website that this is the case? If it is true where is the outrage? Rove's qualification as a political operative who is currently under scurtiny in the Plame matter would seem to make him as qualified to oversee reconstruction as Michael Brown was to be head of FEMA.

Howard Kurtz: Whatever you think of Rove, that strikes me as unfair. He's a political guy, sure, but he's the deputy chief of staff and was involved in the substance of almost all major domestic issues in the first term. The symbolism of naming Rove might be a problem, since he is a divisive symbol, but in terms of policy he's no Michael Brown.


One other note, George Stephanopoulos <$NoAd$>seems to be the only member of our list from last week to raise the Rove question.

He got a standard party-line response from George Will. But, hey, he tried.

Back in April, when asked about her position on Social Security privatization, West Virginia Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R) told Knight-Ridder news service, "I'm glad I'm undecided. I don't want to react to something that's never going to come down the pike."

She seems ready to make a similar profile in courage on the president's Gulf Coast Wage Cut.

This morning one of our readers gave us the heads up that Capito's office was telling callers that she doesn't have a position on the Wage Cut but is "open to listening." One reader was told that it was okay to temporarily roll back wages since this would spur business to invest in rebuilding. I'm not sure whether that makes much sense since what we're talking about is rebuilding by federal contractors -- though I suppose you could argue that there'd be a ripple effect out into private sector efforts.

In any case, TPM just put in a call to Capito's office in Washington, DC. And sure enough, she's a finger in the wind. A Capito representative told us that Rep. Capito has "not taken a position [on the Wage Cut] but is in the process of formulating one."

Is your Rep. gettin' wiggly on the Wage Cut too? Let us know.

Weaselhood in the water?

We're getting in emails from readers who have contacted their members of Congress to find out whether they are supporting or opposing President Bush's Gulf Coast Wage Cut. And let's just say a lot of them seem to be getting some pretty wiggly answers.

One of the favorite answers from swing-district Republicans has them saying they're 'concerned' about it and want to make sure it's temporary.

That's some Grade A government-issue bamboozlement.

Sort of like, they want to make sure there isn't a permanent state of emergency in Mississip and Louisiana from now until the end of time.

Of course the suspension is temporary. It has to be temporary. It can last for a long time. And I'm sure the president wants it to. But he has no power to permanently overturn the law in the area. So the whole, 'we're going to try to make sure it's only temporary' line is just mumbojumbo.

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