In Broad Daylight: Another Day of Congress News

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Follow up on Curt Weldon’s Russian ties and the Pentagon contracts he tried to secure, a “dead beat congresswoman,” one Pennsylvania lawmaker gets sick of earmark criticism, and, yes, this is the Summer of Abramoff 4 (I know, more sequels; don’t the investigators at the FBI have any new ideas). This is your congressional news:

Former Rep. Curt Weldon’s dalliances with Putin-linked entities and Russian mobsters are back in the news as the federal investigation into the ex-congressman’s activities heats up. Sharon Weinberger and Nathan Hodges, writing at Wired’s Danger Room, show that Weldon facilitated a contract with Putin-linked IEG and the Pentagon for an “anti-missile project.” That contract was ultimately scuttled by Doug Feith.

Senators Chuck Schumer and Claire McCaskill introduced a bill today to close loopholes allowing lobbyists for foreign clients to avoid disclosure.

Recent developments in the Jack Abramoff investigation are centering on ex-Rep. John Sweeney. Roll Call reports that the Sweeney investigation may have spun off of the Abramoff investigation as federal agents began to look at dealings involving spouses of members of Congress. Sweeney’s ex-wife was paid by the lobbying firm that was raided the other day by the FBI and is a central focus of the investigation.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is conducting a hearing today into their recently released report on White House ties to Jack Abramoff.

Monday is release day for lawmaker’s personal financial disclosures. It is likely to be another embarrassing event for Rep. Laura Richardson, as she has been the focus of negative media attention for the foreclosure on her house, which was not listed on her previous personal financial disclosures, and her efforts to regain her house after seizure.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over the campaign finance filings of Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

And, Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle doesn’t want his “monument to me” anymore. Doyle wants the Doyle Center for Manufacturing Technology, created in 2003 by an earmark secured by, you guessed it, Mike Doyle, to be renamed. It turns out that the congressman is sick of being the punchline in attacks against the earmarking practice.

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