December 02, 2005

AP has NOT been “proved wrong” on Dorgan

Sen. Byron Dorgan is no babe in the woods on Jack Abramoff money, as this AP story says.

"Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), acknowledges he got Congress in fall 2003 to press government regulators to decide, after decades of delay, whether the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts deserved federal recognition."

Uh, last I checked, Massachusetts is not in North Dakota. It's not Sioux or other High Plains tribes.

What it is, though, is a New England tribe with gaming interests. In fact, the tribe was trying to get federal recognition to pursue a casino at the very time Dorgan got Abramoff money, as this Cape Cod Times story says.

And the AP story makes clear the tribe appreciated Dorgan's help:
But the Mashpee say the lobbying paid off because Dorgan's provision prompted Interior to speed its decision-making process. The tribe credits Dorgan and one of his colleagues, Sen. Conrad Burns (news, bio, voting record), R-Mont., another frequent recipient of Abramoff tribal donations, for the provision.

"Both Senator Burns and Senator Dorgan were helpful," Mashpee spokesman Scott Ferson said.

So, yes, let's be like Phoenix Woman over at Daily Kos and all give ourselves a pat on the back for proving the AP wrong.

Or, let's take a realistic approach and say that, while it certainly appears the Republicans were most tightly connected to Abramoff, it is quite possible one or more Democrats (Reid? -- about who I diaried over there two weeks ago as well as on this blog ) also have at least some degree of dirt on their skirts.

December 01, 2005

Morning Snooze still peddles BushCo party line on Iraq

The Dallas Morning News still says it’s morning in Iraqon the training of Iraqi replacement troops.

Here’s the nut graf, up front as the lede:
Analysts say U.S. trainers are making major progress in creating new Iraqi security forces, as President Bush asserted Wednesday, but the effort could shatter along religious and ethnic fault lines.

As I pointed out in an e-mail to reporter Richard Whittle, there’s two problems right off the bat with this.

First, a single person is an “analyst,” not “analysts.”

Second, McCaffrey’s a known and big suck-up.

Beyond that, he ignores the fact that Rummy is claiming we have trained 100,000 Iraqi troops and police — the same figure he threw out a year ago.

November 29, 2005

Democrats have no right to complain about Birnbaum piece on Congressional corruption

Over at Talking Points Memo a reader claims Washington Post reporter Jeff Birnbaum is biased against Democrats in his article on Congressional corruption because he doesn’t say it’s a Republican-only thing.

Wrong, Mr. TC. I previously blogged about Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s moral and political obtuseness in continuing to hang on to Jack Abramoff-connected money — money that he received in multiple donations.

Now we also have the revelation that Senate Democrat Byron Dorgan, ranking member of the Senate Interior Committee, has also received one Abramoff-connected donation, at least.

So, no TC (and Josh), Congressional Democrats don’t have a right to complain.

And they won’t have a right to complain until they adopt a Congressional accountability clause as part of a Democratic version of a Contract with America.

November 28, 2005

Crap, like cream, floats to the top — the latest DeLay files

The name of Tom DeLay, along with wife Christine, is circulating along with Ohio’s Bob Ney as being officially under the gun in the Jack Abramoff lobbying corruption scandal. Here’s why Christine DeLay is drawing scrutiny:
Alexander Strategy Group is run by former DeLay senior staffers Edwin A. Buckham and Tony C. Rudy. Rudy served as DeLay's deputy chief of staff until 2001, when he took a job with Abramoff, and later moved on to join Buckham.

Investigators are looking into whether Rudy aided Abramoff's lobbying clients while he was working on the Hill, the sources said, and are reviewing payments from Abramoff clients and associates to Liberty Consulting, a political firm founded by Rudy's wife, Lisa. The Washington Post reported last month that Rudy, while on DeLay's staff, helped scuttle a bill opposed by eLottery Inc., an Abramoff client, and that Abramoff had eLottery pay a foundation to hire Liberty Consulting.

Richard Cullen, an attorney for the DeLays, said Christine DeLay was hired by Buckham, an old family friend, to determine the favorite charity of every member of Congress. She was paid $3,200 to $3,400 a month for three years, or about $115,000 total, he said.

But really, this is all a misunderstanding, her attorney says.

“It wasn't like she did this 9 to 5, but it was an ongoing project,” Cullen said. He said Christine DeLay’s work was commensurate with the project and had nothing to do with her husband or any official congressional business. “This was something that she found to be very interesting, very challenging and very worthwhile,” Cullen said.

Oh, I’m sure she found it interesting to get $3,000 a month for three-four hours a week of work, along with her husband getting free trips to Scotland and other trashy trinkets and sordid payoffs.

Woodward’s “confession” was just a lucky break

Howie Kurtz says that if Washington Post Executive Editor Len Downie hadn’t asked Bob Woodward to stop writing a book long enough to do a newspaper story on Plamegate, we still might not know that some White House insider had been leaking to him.
In fact, it was when Downie asked Woodward to work on the CIA leak case last month that the reporter acknowledged that a senior administration official had told him in 2003 that Valerie Plame, the wife of White House critic Joseph Wilson, worked for the CIA.

So, Downie is hoist by his own petard for letting Woody run around without a leash. No wonder (among other things Kurtz details) not everybody at the Post is in his corner.

And, here’s the $64 question: How long would Woodward have sat on the fact that he had received Plamegate leaks if Downie hadn’t asked him to do a newspaper story? Would Woody be popping up, so to speak, during Libby pretrial motions? During the start of his trial, if it goes there?