The Daily Muck

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February 15, 2007 12:31 p.m.
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Patriot Act’s Provision on U.S. Attorneys to Come Under Scrutiny in Senate
“Congressional Democrats and some Republicans are trying to change part of the USA Patriot Act that allows the Bush administration to fire and replace federal prosecutors indefinitely without Senate confirmation. Freshly briefed by the Justice Department on the forced resignations of some of the seven U.S. attorneys since the act took effect, Senate Democrats planned to bring a bill to the floor Thursday that would impose a 120-day deadline on the amount of time a replacement could serve without Senate confirmation.” (Associated Press)Feds Seek Wilkes Properties
Federal prosecutors announced yesterday their intention to allocate over $12 million in property from Brent Wilkes, the former defense contractor under indigtment for charges of corruption. Wilkes’ most expensive property, the headquarters for his company ADCS Inc. in Poway California, was sold on January 30 to a board member from the family charity. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Libby Defense Rests
On Wednesday, Scooter Libby’s lawyers concluded their efforts to show that the former White House official did not remember conversations he had about outted CIA official Valerie Plame. While defense attorneys had hoped to end their case with testimony from a number of CIA employees, U.S. District judge Reggie B. Walton agreed with prosecutors who argued that allowing their testimony would be unfair due to Libby’s own failure to testify. (The Washington Post)

Senate Requesting Documents from IG Report
“The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested records and interview transcripts from the Pentagon’s inspector general’s review of the activities of former Undersecretary of Defense, Douglas Feith. Congressional officials said the committee wants the materials to gauge whether it should conduct further hearings or its own investigation into Feith’s pre-Iraq war intelligence operation that an IG report released last week said acted in ‘inappropriate’ ways.” (Wall Street Journal)

Vacation House Shared Between Fed Lawyer, Lobbyist
“Nine months before agreeing to let ConocoPhillips delay a half-billion-dollar pollution cleanup, the government’s top environmental prosecutor bought a $1 million vacation home with the company’s top lobbyist. Also in on the Kiawah Island, S.C., house deal was former Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles, the highest-ranking Bush administration official targeted for criminal prosecution in the Jack Abramoff corruption probe.” (Associated Press)

Letter From Rep. Doolittle Promises “New Course”>
“Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), who has been under fire for his ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and came within three percentage points of losing his seat in November, this week sent a franked mailing to constituents highlighting his efforts to chart a ‘new course.'” (The Hill)

Chicago Election Defined by Candidates’ Corruption
Chicago’s legendary culture of corruption continues to haunt its politics, as an upcoming municipal election will see a number of candidates running who have either recently been charged, are under investigation, or have already served time for political malfeasance. (Associated Press)

Scalia’s Daughter Slapped with DUI
U.S. Supreme Court Justice “Antonin Scalia’s daughter was arrested this week and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment, officials said Wednesday. Ann S. Banaszewski, 45, of Wheaton, was arrested Monday evening while driving away from a fast-food restaurant in the suburb 20 miles west of Chicago, police said.” (Associated Press)

Cunninham Docs. Still Being Discussed
“The House counsel’s office is still trying to negotiate a deal with the Justice Department for three House committees to turn over hundreds of pages of subpoenaed documents in connection with the probe into ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham’s (R-Calif.) illegal activities.” (Roll Call)

Democrats Strengthening Ties with Lobbyists
In an effort to solidify and strengthen their standing majority, Democrats in congress have been meeting regularly with K Street lobbyists. While lobbyists are fast becoming a “hot ticket” for Democrats, strategists are quick to point out that the party’s conflicting relationships with labor and big business could raise major challenges in the future. (Roll Call)

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