The Daily Muck

Facing Corruption Charges, Ney Helps Watchdog Group Fundraise
You’ve read a lot on this site about the Washington, D.C.-based group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). They’re the group that’s constantly pushing for documents and probes in cases of corruption on Capitol Hill.

They’ve been hounding Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), who’s been ID’d in four plea agreements as corruptly assisting disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Among the rebukes employed by Ney to defend against CREW is that they take money from conservative bogeyman George Soros, a progressive billionaire who funds a variety of causes.

Only problem was, CREW didn’t get money from Soros — until Ney and his people opened their mouths, anyway:

After Ney and his spokesman, Brian Walsh, repeatedly insisted her group was funded by Soros, Sloan brought their claims to Soros’ foundation.

“‘We kept saying, They say you are already funding us. Shouldn’t you?'” recalls Sloan, who said the group got its first grant in January.

(Cleveland Plain Dealer)F.B.I. Raid Divides G.O.P. Lawmakers and White House
Resentment boiled among senior Republicans for a second day on Tuesday after a team of warrant-bearing agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation turned up at a closed House office building on Saturday evening, demanded entry to the office of a lawmaker and spent the night going through his files. Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House majority leader, predicted that the separation-of-powers conflict would go to the Supreme Court. (NY Times, Reuters, Roll Call, WaPo, CS Monitor, Political Animal, War&Piece)

Former DHS Spokesman Pleads Not Guilty on Kiddie Sex Charges

Brian Doyle submitted his plea yesterday for the 23 felony counts he faces.

Despite Expectations, Troubled Jefferson Won’t Forefeit Committee Seat

The Louisiana congressman, under investigation, was expected to give up his seat on the House Ways and Means committee. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

House speaker protests to Bush over raid
House Speaker Dennis Hastert complained directly to President Bush on Tuesday about the FBI’s unprecedented raid on Rep. William Jefferson’s office, while officials said senior Democrats worked to ease the Louisiana lawmaker out of a powerful committee assignment, at least temporarily. (AP)

Busby: Jefferson Should Resign
CA 50 Dem candidate Francine Busby (D) today endorsed an ethical standard that Beltway Dems have so far found unpalatable. Busby, in a statement, “called on Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) to resign immediately from Congress.” (Hotline)

Senate Panel Endorses C.I.A. Nominee
The Senate Intelligence Committee strongly endorsed Gen. Michael V. Hayden on Tuesday to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, with all but three members, all Democrats, voting to send General Hayden’s nomination to the Senate floor. The panel’s 12-to-3 vote virtually guarantees that General Hayden will win confirmation by the full Senate, which is likely to vote on his selection before the end of the week. (NY Times, AP)

Use of Statistical Analysis in Data Mining Needs Attention
“The implications of this stuff are pretty far reaching. The American public and its representatives need to stop hiding from it and decide exactly how far they want it to go.” (Political Animal, Defensetech)

For telecoms, a storm of lawsuits awaits
From New York to Kentucky to Texas, lawyers specializing in class-action litigation are lining up to sue phone firms alleged to have handed over customer records to the National Security Agency without a court order. On Monday, for instance, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed suit against AT&T, charging that its actions in the NSA program violated customer privacy. (CS Monitor)

Gonzales Hints That NSA Got Call Data from Taps, Not Reports
Citing a 1979 ruling as percedent, the attorney general may have implied that the NSA program installed equipment on phone company technology to capture data. (WPost)

Before $400 Million Fine, Fannie Mae Fought Dirty Over Investigation
The lending giant enlisted Congressional friends to bully investigators off the case. (Roll Call)

Lobbying trial to look inside White House
The first trial in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal will offer a raw look inside a Washington lobbying operation, with prosecutors contending the results implicate the top procurement official in the Bush administration. (AP)

Paved With Good Intentions
Ken Silverstein details how his muckraking expose of a Texas oil firm exploiting a West African nation was eagerly seized on by investors as great news. (Harper’s)

Cheney Tries to Boost Calif. Republicans
Vice President Dick Cheney jetted into San Diego to boost the political fortunes and the campaign war chest of congressional hopeful Brian Bilbray, a Republican locked in a tight battle for what normally is a safe GOP seat. (AP)

Did Julie Doolittle make an easy $40K from the Cheney event?
Dump Doolittle cites a letter in the Sacramento Bee asking if Rep. John Doolittle’s (R-CA) wife collected on her 15% fundraising commission during VP Cheney’s recent visit. Cheney reportedly helped Doolittle raise $250,000. (Dump Doolittle, Sac Bee)

Church Leader Says He Was Lured into Abramoff Web
The pastor of a church in Maryland says he became tangled in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal through a member of his evangelical congregation. Chris Geeslin says that the man used him as a front for possibly illegal activities. (NPR)

Guilty Pleas All Around in Poaching Case Involving Former Burns Staffer
Former Jack Abramoff associate and Sen. Conrad Burns aide Shawn Vasell is caught up in a case completely unrelated to influence buying – poaching. (New West)

Ralph Reed’s Opponent Shows Poll Showing Lead
The campaign of Casey Cagle for lieutenant governor of Georgia on Monday released a self-funded statewide poll that shows Cagle – for the first time – with a lead over GOP rival Ralph Reed, 27 to 21 percent. (AJC)

FCC says it can’t investigate phone cos.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said in a letter that the agency doesn’t have the power to review classified information, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said Tuesday. (AP)

McConnell intervened in case, group says
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell helped a major campaign donor who was in trouble with the National Park Service for destroying Civil War earthworks, a watchdog group said yesterday. (Lex Herald Leader)