More News:

  • The Washington Post follows up on the report issued by the Minority Office of the House Committee on Government Reform on contracting abuses by the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root. According to the Post, “Pentagon auditors have challenged $45 million worth of company costs, out of $365 million in charges that were reviewed. … In one case, the government’s contracting officials reported that KBR attempted to inflate its cost estimates by paying a supplier more than it was due. In another, KBR cut its cost estimates in half after it was pressed on its true expenses. In a third, KBR billed for work performed by the Iraqi oil ministry.”
  • The Government Accountability Office released a report warning that, “Incentives for oil and gas companies that drill in the Gulf of Mexico will cost the federal government at least $20 billion over the next 25 years,” according to the New York Times. The government could also lose “$80 billion in revenue … over the same period if oil and gas companies won a new lawsuit that seeks a further reduction in their royalty payments.” The GAO notes that “the Interior Department, which runs the offshore leasing program, had never carried out a ‘robust’ cost-benefit analysis of the original program or of incentives added in the last five years.”
  • Raw Story reports that a biography of Jack Abramoff prepared by his lawyers as a plea for leniency states that the lobbyist is ashamed of the profanity used in a 1980s anti-communist movie he produced titled “Red Scorpion.” Abramoff, however, is not ashamed of making the movie in South African-occupied Namibia or from using money and assistance provided by the apartheid regime of South Africa. Cast and crew members also allege that many of them were never paid for their work.
  • The Cincinnati Post reports that, “A federal appeals court Tuesday ordered a Washington congressman [Rep. Jim McDermott (D)] to pay West Chester Republican John Boehner $700,000 for leaking an illegally taped phone conversation between Boehner and then-Speaker Newt Gingrich.”
  • The head of the Environmental Protection Agency was the featured speaker at a Colorado fundraiser for Rep. Rick O’Donnell (R-CO). The Denver Post reports that, “The guests included representatives from El Paso Natural Gas, the Colorado Mining Association and the Colorado Petroleum Association. El Paso and member companies of the two associations have activities that come under federal environmental regulations.”
  • The revolving door continues to spin as TNR’s The Plank reports that former Senator Howard Baker, who, until last year, was our ambassador to Japan, has registered to lobby for “Toshiba Corporation on ‘Consultations with eh [sic] appropriate members of the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government, and the applicable agencies on CFIUS and antitrust matters, all related to Toshiba Corporation’s acquisition of Westinghouse Electric Company.’”