The Daily Muck

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) confirmed that the Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating all connections he had with former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. In a phone conversation that was recorded by prosecutors, Blago said that a staff person for Jackson approached him offering to pay $1 million in campaign contributions if he would appoint Jackson to Barack Obama’s vacant senate seat. In an email statement released Wednesday, Jackson said that he is cooperating fully with the probe and added, “I have done nothing wrong and reject pay-to-play politics.” The Office of Congressional Ethics has thirty days to investigate the connection, at which point it will refer information to the House Ethics Committee to determine outcomes. (ABC News)Sixty-one housing agencies that have been criticized numerous times for mishandling government aid will receive more than $300 million in stimulus funds, a USA Today report revealed Wednesday. Auditors found that the housing agencies frequently employed poor bookkeeping practices and spent money improperly, according to a report by the Office of Management and Budget. Though Congress allows the Obama administration to withhold stimulus funds from “troubled” agencies, a HUD spokeswoman said that they released the funds — part of a $4 billion effort to create jobs and fix run-down public housing projects — because they “should have the opportunity to improve their housing.” (USA Today)

In a court document filed Wednesday, Sir Allen Stanford accused the court appointed lawyer overseeing his estate of squandering his assets. The two-sentence statement claims that Ralph Janvey is “wasting the assets of the Stanford entities and of R. Allen Stanford, rather than preserving them.” Earlier this week Janvey unfroze 80 percent of accounts connected to Stanford’s alleged $8 billion Ponzi scheme, but has so far refused to unfreeze Stanford’s assets, which, the Texas billionaire argues, makes it impossible to hire a lawyer. (Reuters)

The SEC said Wednesday that no funds recovered from Bernard Madoff’s assets would go to the U.S. Treasury. In an attempt to persuade Madoff investors distrustful of the Treasury Department not to sue Madoff in bankruptcy court, the SEC said in papers released in a Manhattan federal court that all assets would be liquidated to refund investors. The SEC added that suing Madoff in bankruptcy court could confuse the case against the multi-billion dollar Ponzi schemer. (Associated Press)

Two Southern California hospitals settled lawsuits in which they were accused of inappropriately releasing patients and dumping them on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. One of the hospitals drove a bipolar schizophrenic patient to numerous Skid Row shelters, which all said they could not treat him.The city attorney’s office confirmed the $1.6 million settlement Wednesday, saying that the hospitals will give $1.2 million to charities that benefit the mentally ill and will pay $400,000 in civil fines. In a statement, Los Angeles Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said “we will not stand idly by while society’s most vulnerable are dumped in the gutters of Skid Row.” (Associated Press)

Free American Citizens, an independent conservative political group, created a misleading legal defense fund for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to raise funds off her popularity. The organization’s home page provides a link to donate which pleads, “Sarah Palin needs your support!!!” — an apparent reference to the $500,000 in legal fees that Palin owes thanks in part to the Troopergate probe — but directs the potential donor to the Free American Citizens website. Palin cannot take donations from the organization to cover her legal debts because it is not an official legal defense fund. A spokeswoman for Palin said that the organization did not coordinate with Palin’s office before beginning the funding campaign. (Politico)