Thursday, June 07, 2007

Corruption Update

Well, it didn't take long for crooked Republicans to knock crooked Dem William "Freezer" Jefferson off the front pages of the corruption beat. First, from the Prosecutor Purge Scandal:

New Justice Department communications released tonight include an email from Monica Goodling, former counsel to Alberto Gonzales, directing another official to draw up a directive giving her unprecedented authority to hire and fire political staffers. Goodling tells the official, assistant attorney general Paul Corts, to “send [it] directly up to me, outside the system.”

Next, from the Trader Jack Abramoff scandal:

The Hill has learned that Italia Federici, a one-time political aide to former Interior Secretary Gale Norton, has agreed to plead guilty to tax evasion and obstruction of Congress as part of the investigation into the lobbying activities of Jack Abramoff.

The Republican activist will be the second person with ties to Norton to plead guilty in the Abramoff investigation. Former Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his relationship to Abramoff and Federici. He is to be sentenced later this month.

More from the Abramoff scandal:

WASHINGTON - House Democrats are expanding their investigation into ties between jailed GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the White House and have contacted several Abramoff associates recently about testifying to Congress.

The Government Reform Committee released a report last year saying that Abramoff and his associates had 485 lobbying contacts with White House officials between January 2001 and March 2004.

But Waxman, who became committee chairman in January after Democrats retook control of Congress, says important questions remain unanswered. These include whether White House officials paid for sports and concert tickets and meals they got from Abramoff and his associates, and whether they took official actions as a result, Waxman says.


Abramoff associates named in his committee's report last year as having extensive contacts with the White House include Neil Volz and Tony Rudy, who have both pleaded guilty to federal charges; Kevin Ring, a one-time Doolittle aide who is under federal investigation; and Todd Boulanger and Shawn Vasell, both still lobbyists.

Finally, just a good old bribery and extortion scandal involving the longest serving Republican in the Senate who became famous last year for building a $250 million dollar "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska:

Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, disclosed in an interview that the FBI asked him to preserve records as part of a widening investigation into Alaskan political corruption that has touched his son and ensnared one of his closest political confidants and financial backers.

Stevens, who is famous for bringing home federal earmarks for Alaska when he was Appropriations Committee chairman, was not previously known to be linked to the Justice Department's probe, which has uncovered evidence that more than $400,000 worth of bribes were given to state lawmakers in exchange for favorable energy legislation.

Two executives of a prominent energy company have pleaded guilty to bribery and extortion charges and are cooperating with the inquiry, which is being run by the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section and includes two federal prosecutors and FBI agents based in Anchorage.

"They put me on notice to preserve some records," Stevens said in a brief interview about his legal team's discussions with the FBI. He declined to say what kinds of records were involved but confirmed that he had hired lawyers and that his son, former state Senate president Ben Stevens, "is also under investigation."

After years of holding power, it seems the residual scandals and criminal investigations involving the White House and the Republican Party have yet to run their course.

Not by a long shot.

Thanks RBE, I really miss not being on top of this stuff.
Somehow I think there'll be corruption hearings against Republicans well into election year.
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