Seth Hettena spills the beans on the names of the five lawmakers that Mitchell Wade provided information on to federal... View ArticleContinue reading
The chief witness in the investigation into former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham may have spilled the goods on more lawmakers... View ArticleContinue reading
It’s August here in Washington -- although if it weren’t for the classical architecture and the lobbyists wearing reflective sunglasses you’d think it was Pakistan from the temperature -- and members of Congress are fleeing the city, running back to their districts to do anything that will help their reelection chances with an electorate that’s looking for head’s to roll (or as President Bush might call it, to have their “accountability moment”). Some candidates may have an easier time than others. For instance, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) is running uncontested allowing him to go on The Colbert Report and proclaim that he enjoys cocaine because it’s a fun thing to do. On the other hand we have another Floridian, Rep. Katherine Harris (R) who is running to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).Continue reading
If Jack Abramoff were a horror movie monster I would not want to be Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio), AKA Bob Ney. Last night, the former wonderboy of the Right Ralph Reed lost convincingly in the Georgia Lt. Governor Republican primary to Casey Cagle, 54%-46%. Reed saw his stock plummet as the lobbying and grassroots work he did with his buddy Jack Abramoff poured out of Senate hearings and court documents into the newspapers. The former head of the Christian Coalition, his eyes set on the Presidency, felled himself by showing his true colors. Mike Crowley at TNR’s The Plank writes that “Jack Abramoff can so far be officially credited with destroying three careers (Reed, Tom DeLay, and David Safavian).” Despite what some have said the money-in-politics scandals are taking their toll on Washington.Continue reading
Vanity Fair reports on the ongoing Cunningham investigation and where it will go next. The article notes that Cunningham was seeking bribes days before he pled guilty; Brent Wilkes, the defense contractor at the center of the investigation, made connections in Washington by introducing congressmen to women in Honduras; Bill Lowery, the former congressman and current lobbyist embroiled in the scandal, introduced Cunningham to Wilkes. So who goes next in the investigation: Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, [sw: Katherine Harris] (R-Fla.), Wilkes, Lowery, or Rep. [sw: Virgil Goode] (R-Va.)?Continue reading
- I'm confused. First, Duke Cunningham is said to not be cooperating with the federal investigation into bribery by defense contractors. Now he states, through his lawyer, that he will cooperate fully with a House Ethics Committee investigation and has been cooperating all along with the federal investigation. So, what's the deal here?
- We do know that Mitchell Wade, the contractor convicted of bribing Duke Cunningham, is talking to prosecutors. The Boston Globe looks into who he might be talking about. Two lawmakers, who both received illegal campaign contributions from Wade and tried, one successfully and the other unsuccessfully, to secure federally earmarked funds for his MZM, Inc., look like ready targets for this expanding investigation. They are Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), who successfully earmarked funds for an MZM office in his district, and Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), who, after dining with Wade to the tune of $2,800, attempted to insert an earmark that would established an MZM site in her district.
- That loophole is so big I could fit a few hundred million dollars through it. (Wall Street Journal)
- The Torch is back! Former Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) is back in the news, and as you would expect it's bad news for the Torch. The Financial Times reports that Torricelli is now being connected to the UN oil for food scandal. Just recently I read a piece about how Torricelli was still a player and was doling out advice to Democratic Senators and consultants. That will probably stop if this report proves true. I think the guy might become even more radioactive than he used to be.
- TPM Muckraker reports on the Democrats' choice to have Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) as the top Dem on the House Intelligence Committee. "That's right: Pelosi wants to replace House Intel Committee Ranking Member Jane Harman (CA) with Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), who "was forced to surrender his job as a federal judge after being indicted in 1981 on bribery charges," as the LA Times reports it. He beat the rap, but "was impeached in 1988 by the House for conspiracy and making false statement" in connection to the case."
- On the emergency supplemental front Mark Tapscott reports that there may be a victory at hand with the Senate agreeing to "cap spending in the emergency spending bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Gulf Coast hurricane recovery to $94.5 billion."
Last night Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) went on Hannity & Colmes and denied that there was a quid pro quo with her appropriation for the felonious defense contractor Mitchell Wade. From Crooks & Liars:
COLMES: Did Mitchell offer to hold a fundraiser for you? And did you ask for $10 million that would have gone to benefit his company? HARRIS: I asked for an appropriation for an authorized naval program in Sarasota, Florida, which would bring a lot of new jobs. So, clearly -- and, in the future, I had hoped that he would host one for me. COLMES: So there was a quid pro quo? HARRIS: There was no quid pro quo, ever.$32,000 in illegal campaign contributions. $2,800 meal at Washington's finest dining establishment. $10 million earmark for naval facility to be built by the guy who gave the illegal campaign contributions and paid for the French-American cuisine. Going on Hannity & Colmes so you can say incredibly stupid things. Priceless. Continue reading
The trouble for Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) continues to mount over her lavish dinner with bribery contractor Mitchell Wade and the $10 million appropriations request she filed for his company MZM. Today the Associated Press reports that Harris' staff initially rejected the MZM appropriation before being overruled by Harris:
Former senior members of U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris' congressional staff say they initially rejected a defense contractor's $10 million appropriation request last year but reversed course after being instructed by Harris to approve it. ... "She said, 'It's important to me, so submit it,' " said an ex-staffer who was involved in the process. "She wanted it in." ... "Katherine was pretty adamant about it," the former staffer said.Wade has already pled guilty to giving Harris illegal campaign contributions. The story of Harris and Wade has progressively gotten worse for Harris. Last year, she dined with Wade to the tune of $2,800 (the House Ethics Manual states that members should not accept gifts over $100). At that dinner she received tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions from Wade. Then she insisted, over her staffer's objections, on inserting a $10 million appropriation - the largest earmark on her plate - weeks late into the defense appropriations bill. Continue reading
The description of the conversation between Wade and Rep. Harris, as it is described in the Statement of Offense, suggests that Harris took official action to obtain funding and approval for this military project in exchange for the offer of MZM's holding a fundraiser for Rep. Harris. The official action taken by Rep. Harris to insert a funding request for a counterintelligence project that appears similar to a program which Wade and Rep. Harris discussed in the same conversation as the fundraiser, as it is described in the Statement of Offense, suggests that Rep. Harris violated U.S. Code 18§201, which states: (b) Whoever - (2) being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for: (A) being influenced in the performance of any official act; shall be fined under this title or not more than three times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, whichever is greater, or imprisoned for not more than fifteen years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States. Based on publicly available documents, we believe there is sufficient evidence to suggest that Rep. Harris has violated U.S. Code 18§201. We request that the Public Integrity Division investigate whether Rep. Harris violated U.S. Code 18§201.Continue reading
Last year Katherine Harris shared a $2,800 dinner with bribery contractor and recently convicted felon Mitchell Wade in, what seems to be, violation of House rules. She has claimed that the tab was so high because Wade bought $1,000 bottles of wine and took them home uncorked - the restaurant owner has stated that they do not allow anyone to leave the restaurant with opened wine bottles as it is against the law. Harris has claimed that her portion of the meal cost $100 and she has donated $100 to a charity of her choosing. That charity happens to deliver people from "demonic possessions". From The Ledger of Lakeland, Florida:
The group to which Harris donated $100 is Jacksonville-based Global Dominion Impact Ministries, Harris spokesman Chris Ingram said. A Web site for a group named Global Dominion Impact Ministries based in Jacksonville states that one of the group's founders, pastor Sandra Jones, "has an inspiring testimony of her deliverance from being sold to devils as an infant. She also shares her miraculous healing from her breast cancer as well as being raised from the dead."Continue reading