The Daily Muck

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February 16, 2007 9:37 a.m.
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Iraq Auditors Count $10 Billion Wasted
“About $10 billion has been squandered by the U.S. government on Iraq reconstruction aid because of contractor overcharges and unsupported expenses, and federal investigators warned Thursday that significantly more taxpayer money is at risk. The three top auditors overseeing work in Iraq told a House committee their review of $57 billion in Iraq contracts found that Defense and State department officials condoned or allowed repeated work delays, bloated expenses and payments for shoddy work or work never done.” (Associated Press)Libby Defense Team Crafts Closing Statement
After attempting to dispute the government’s assertion that Scooter Libby lied under oath, defense lawyers for the former White House official are spendig week-long adjournment refining their closing argument. Having asserted the Libby’s trial was the result of a “White House conspiracy,” the defense team must flesh out its claim that Libby’s fall was engineered to save Bush adviser Karl Rove. (Associated Press)

Congress Wants Bush To Release Docs
“Congressional Democrats are looking at ways to strengthen open government laws and force the Bush administration to release more documents under the Freedom of Information Act.” (Associated Press)

Partisan Appointments in Iraq Investigated
The House Oversight Committee is investigating the role of political loyality in Iraqi reconstruction, asserting that the Pentagon rejected qualified officials because they were not loyal to the Republican Party. (ABC’s The Blotter)

Revealing Details in Foggo and Wilkes Indictment
This week’s indictment of Duke Cunningham associates Dusty Foggo and Brent Wilkes could spell trouble for others within Congress. In addition to details of of the men’s family vacations and dalliances with prostitues, the indictments include references to letters sent to House commissions requesting millions in contracts for companies run by Wilkes. (The Hill)

Cheney’s Pursuit of Leakers Backfired
A 2002 phone call fom a furious Vice-President Cheney to former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) demanding an investigation into the leaking of a classified White House document has yielded some unintentional consequences. By following Cheney’s demand with an agressive campaign against leakers in government, the Bush administration essentially “set in motion” the prosecution of the their own high-ranking official, Scooter Libby. (The National Journal)

Senate to Investigate Interior Department’s Energy Profits
“Top Democrats on the Senate Energy Committee, citing widespread management problems at the Interior Department, ordered a new inquiry on Thursday into the department’s fast-growing program to collect billions of dollars worth of oil and gas from companies that drill on public territory.” (The New York Times)

White House Severs Ties to Pork Legislation
“The Bush administration no longer will be bound by most congressional pork-barrel spending requests, the director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget said yesterday in a memo on how federal departments and agencies should treat money in the new spending bill the president signed into law.” (Washington Times)

Special Counsel Probe Accussed of Intimidation
An investigation of whistle-blosing at the Office of Special Counsel was complicated this week by accusations of intimidation by employees. The probe, which is looking into allegations of the discarding of legitimates cases and the misuse of power by Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch, has been plagued by problems since it began 16 months ago. (The Washington Post)

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