The Daily Muck

Almost made it. Former New York police commissioner and best-Rudy-buddy Bernie Kerik is expecting an indictment today for tax fraud and corruption. The statute of limitations for the charges would have expired next week. (ABC’s The Blotter)

Blackwater is facing a wrongful death suit in Florida from families of three serviceman who died in the crash of a Blackwater aircraft. The families claim that errors by Blackwater employees caused the crash; Blackwater disagrees. But one important party has not weighed into the debate: the U.S. government. Ordinarily, the government will make known its views on such an issue, but the Bush administration has been notably silent. And if you’re Blackwater, that silence establishes a scary precedent. Erik Prince weighed in after the government missed its deadline to file, saying, “After the President has said that, as Commander-in-Chief, he is ultimately responsible for contractors on the battlefield it is disappointing that his Administration has been unwilling to make that interest clear before the courts.” (Time)

Former Governor George Ryan (R-IL) reports to jail today. Ryan was found guilty of racketeering and fraud, and is headed to prison for six-and-a-half years. (NY Times)Private security firms in Iraq should brace themselves for unannounced house guests. Iraq’s interior minister just announced that will authorize raids on the security firms to ensure compliance with weapons licensing. This decision follows Blackwater’s massacre in September and General Petraeus’ inability to account for more than 190,000 guns that disappeared under his command. (NY Times)

Social and government agencies are predicting a “surge” in homeless vets from the Iraq war. Whereas it took almost a decade before the problem of homeless Vietnam war vets became a visible part of the nation’s homeless population, some experts assert that the present war will unleash a “tsunami” sooner rather than later. (USA Today, NY Times)

The Bush administration has silenced a Marine Corps lawyer seeking to present evidence of “severe techniques” used to interrogate (sub. req.) a terrorist. Not only would the exposure of the harsh interrogation techniques be embarrassing, but their use is said to have derailed the suspect’s prosecution. (Wall Street Journal)

The Bush administration is looking for a “slam dunk” in the first contested case at the war crimes tribunal. However, the trial of a Canadian citizen who was sent to Guantanamo at the age of fifteen can’t even proceed until it is decided whether the defendant is merely an “enemy combatant” or an “unlawful enemy combatant.” (LA Times)

The Department of Defense continues to sprawl. Now, thanks to an earmark from Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), the Department is putting (sub. req.) $3 million to a golf tournament. Actually, the money goes to a non-profit that hosts a series of tournaments, but its nice to see the DoD supporting athletics. (Roll Call)

The House ethics task force has been notably silent (sub. req.) about its overhaul recommendations, despite the fact that the group’s suggestions are already six months overdue. But reform advocates are already disappointed with the little bit of information that has leaked out, which suggests that reform will fall short of meaningful change. Notably, it looks like the task force will not recommend subpoena power for the new, outside ethics body or the ability for outside organizations to bring complaints. (Roll Call)