The Daily Muck

DeLay Prosecutor Wants Probe Details Kept Secret
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle is suing to block a request from the Houston Chronicle for paperwork associated with his investigation into Tom DeLay. Earle argues that fulfilling the request — which does not ask for secret information, like grand jury documents — would jeopardize his case. (AP)Novak Leak Case Testimony

Bob Novak says he’s finally been cleared by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. So now he’s telling his side of the story. In his column at Human Events, he reveals that his sources were Karl Rove, CIA information officer Bill Harlow, who he says confirmed the information given to him by an administration official who is “not a political gunslinger.” (Human Events)

There’s more at WaPo, AP, ThinkProgress.

FBI Forces Muslim Immigrants to Become Informants
“In one case reported by the [Wall Street Journal], a man was detained at a Canadian-U.S. border crossing and forced to travel to California by bus. He was given instructions on what he was to do after arriving in San Francisco. Once meeting an FBI agent, the gentleman was given the choice of becoming an informant or being deported back to Morocco.” (WSJ [sub. req.], Raw Story)

Big Firms Aided Abramoff Scams

Renowned law firms such as Patton Boggs and PR giant Edelman performed work on behalf of [Michael] Scanlon — and in many cases indirectly for his criminal associate, ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff — most of it coming on projects that the duo later would concede were part of their criminal conspiracy. . . .

Patton Boggs served as the legal counsel for Scanlon’s firm for most of his criminal run, apparently helping set up some of the contracts engineered with the tribal clients he and Abramoff bilked for some $40 million. Less than three weeks before the scandal broke in Washington, Patton Boggs lawyers sent a threatening letter to one of the tribes, the Saginaw Chippewa of Michigan, accusing it of a “serious breach” in refusing to pay an additional $2.8 million to Scanlon.

. . . Patton Boggs declined any comment about the work it performed for Scanlon, who paid the law firm more than $116,000. . . . Edelman declined to comment[.]

(Roll Call)

Restrictions of “527” Groups Still Holding Up Lobby Reform

“Republican leaders in Congress have made the political calculation that the pending lobbying reform bill cannot pass with language seeking to restrict so-called “527” soft-money groups. House and Senate GOP lawmakers, seeking a political victory heading into the November elections, are looking to move the lobbying bill without the controversial campaign-finance provision, knowledgeable sources say. But the plan, at least for now, is to bring lobbying reform with regulations on 527s to the Senate floor first for a vote that is expected to be filibustered by Democrats.” (The Hill, Roll Call)

Lawmaker Cleans Up On FL Real Estate Deal
Together with a longtime supporter, Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) bought interest in a Florida beachfront condo in 2003. The property, whose value has more than doubled since the purchase, did not show up on Feeney’s financial disclosures until last year. (Harpers)

Reed Plagued by Links to Abramoff in Lt. Govenor Campaign
“Reed seemed unstoppable last year when he first announced his intention to run for the seat. In his first campaign for elected office, he broke early fundraising records and scared other would-be Republican contenders out of running in the July 18 primary. Cagle, though, has gained momentum and name recognition since concerns over Reed’s ties with Abramoff have grabbed headlines across the state.” (AP)

Republicans Want Court To Hear DeLay Case
“Texas Republicans want a federal appeals court to quickly resolve a dispute over whether former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay should remain on the November ballot, saying they are running out of time for replacing DeLay with another nominee.” (AP)

Report on Lost Data Blames Supervisors
“The Veterans Affairs data analyst who lost sensitive information on 26.5 million veterans showed poor judgment by taking the data home, but his supervisors are also to blame for lax policies, investigators said Tuesday.” (NYTimes)

Republican Says US Readying Crackdown on Leaks
“The Bush administration is preparing a crackdown on intelligence leaks to the media and will try to pursue prosecutions in some recent cases, the chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Michigan Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra also suggested some unauthorized leaks could have been deliberate attempts to help al Qaeda. “More frequently than what we would like, we find out that the intelligence community has been penetrated, not necessarily by al Qaeda, but by other nations or organizations,” he said. “I don’t have any evidence. But from my perspective, when you have information that is leaked that is clearly helpful to our enemy, you cannot discount that possibility,” he added.” (Reuters)

House Passes Anti-Gambling Initiative
“The legislation would clarify and update current law to spell out that most gambling is illegal online. But there would be exceptions — for state-run lotteries and horse racing — and passage isn’t a safe bet in the Senate, where Republican leaders have not considered the measure a high priority. The House voted 317-93 for the bill, which would allow authorities to work with Internet providers to block access to gambling Web sites.” (AP)

Companies Use Non-Profit Lobbyists Without Disclosing Their Support
” Reliant, Intuit Inc. and Pfizer Inc. are among companies that increased their lobbying and other efforts to influence public officials by funding nonprofit groups to promote corporate goals without publicly disclosing backers. Intuit, which makes tax-preparation software, was the top donor to a group seeking a new tax break for health-care costs. Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugmaker, funded groups backing a Medicare prescription-drug plan. The donations “appear to be in clear evasion of the intent of lobbying disclosure laws, even if they are legal,” said Taylor Lincoln, a researcher at Washington-based Public Citizen, which lobbies for more disclosure of corporate spending on politics.” (Bloomberg)

National Intelligence Director Says Revelations Undermine National Security
“Recent media exposure of secret U.S. intelligence programs has made it harder for the Bush administration to collaborate with private businesses in combating terrorism, intelligence chief John Negroponte said on Monday.”
“Negroponte cited no specific intelligence programs. But the Bush administration has been angered in recent months by the disclosure of two sensitive initiatives: the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program and the
Treasury Department’s tracking of private banking records.” (Reuters)

New Teleservice Company Looks A Lot Like GOP Marketplace
“At the December 2005 trial of James Tobin, phone jamming co-conspirator Allen Raymond testified that his firm, GOP Marketplace, went out of business in 2003.” “Raymond now heads up Telus Communications, LLC. According to Telus’ web site, the company “brokers outbound teleservices” for “government” and “political clientele”. Telus’ web site states that the company “was founded in April 2000 as a political teleservices broker”. Understandably, Raymond may have gotten mixed up when he wrote that sentence, as GOP Marketplace was founded in April 2000, and Telus was not incorporated until March 2003.” (Senate Majority Project)

Judge Deemed Too Partial To Preside Over Native American Lawsuit
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth was removed Tuesday from a 10-year-old lawsuit in which thousands of American Indians claim the government mismanaged billions of dollars in federal trust funds. Siding with the government, a panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that Lamberth had lost his objectivity and ordered the case reassigned to another judge.” (AP)

Coulter Hit With More Plagiarism Charges
“An ongoing RAW STORY examination of possible plagiarism and failure to cite sources by conservative pundit Ann Coulter in her best-selling book Godless has uncovered more examples that have yet to be reported or viewed by her publisher. In addition to the three examples identified by plagiarism expert John Barrie (commissioned by The New York Post), three other examples cited by The Rude Pundit, and a list of fifteen items already reported by RAW STORY, the continuing investigation has turned up four more examples.” (Raw Story)

Bush Adviser to Pay $10,000 Over Impermissible Billing Suit
“Thomas A. Scully, former administrator of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, took the trips in 2003 when he was one of the administration’s lead negotiators as Congress was moving to add prescription drug benefits to Medicare, the insurance program for elderly and disabled Americans. According to the settlement agreement, the travel represented an inappropriate mingling of Scully’s government work and his private job search. Scully, however, said in a statement, “I never did anything inappropriate,” adding that he was agreeing to reimburse the government for disputed trips in order to avoid costlier litigation.” (WaPo)

Opponents of Internet Gambling Also Oppose Abramoff
“Some opponents of Internet gambling offered an unique argument about why the House should pass a bill clarifying that Internet gambling in the U.S. is illegal: It’s a vote against disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.” (WashWire)

Casinos Bank Another Record Revenue Year
“Tribal casinos pulled in $22.6 billion in gambling revenue last year, double the take of Nevada gambling, as Indian casinos recorded another record year, the industry trade group reported Tuesday.” (AP)

Rep. Pete Sessions Trip Sparks Investigation
“Lake Placid, New York was the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics. Last January it was also the site for the Congressional Winter Olympic Challenge. The trip included three days of snowshoeing, skiing, skating, and gondola rides for congressmen, their families and lobbyists… all paid for with public money. Dallas congressman Pete Sessions, his wife and son, were among those attending. So who paid for their trip? Sessions’ office says New York states Olympic Regional Development Authority picked up the airfare. The authority says that’s not true, and that the trip was paid for by the United States Olympic Committee. Keep in mind the USOC is a private company that means picking up the tab would violate house rules on gifts and travel. USOC officials say the New York Authority footed the bill.” (CBS 11)

Watchdog: Homeland Database Too Faulty
“A Homeland Security database of national monuments, chemical plants and other structures vulnerable to terror attacks is too faulty to accurately help divide federal funds to states and cities, according to the department’s internal watchdog.” (AP)

Ex-Florida Prisons Chief Pleads Guilty
“Florida’s former prisons chief pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a prison contractor, blaming some of his actions on alcohol abuse.” (AP)

Defense Department Funds Law School’s Project to “Rewrite” The Freedom of Information Act
“It is dismaying that St. Mary’s [Law School] proposed this study. The law school’s defense that this will be non-political, purely academic research is ridiculous in today’s fearful, security-conscious, anti-press climate. There is a bitter irony in St. Mary’s proposal. The member of Congress working hardest to strengthen the weakened FOI Act is U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the San Antonio Republican and 1977 graduate of St. Mary’s law school. Cornyn’s bill is supported in the House by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, also a San Antonio Republican.” (Austin American-Statesman)

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