They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Democrats Fight DeLay over Residency

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay voted absentee in Virginia on Friday, while Democrats in his longtime home state claimed he is still a Texas resident and belongs on the fall ballot....

Under the Texas Election Code, DeLay must "conclusively" establish by public record that he is a resident of another state, said Chad Dunn, an attorney for the state Democratic Party. Democrats contend he hasn't done so because he still has a Texas driver's license, was registered to vote in Fort Bend County, Texas, as of Thursday and gets a Texas homestead exemption.

DeLay told reporters Thursday he is a Virginia resident and planned to vote next week. Flaherty said he obtained a Virginia driver's license and registered to vote in Virginia in late April or early May. She said he voted absentee because he will be traveling Tuesday, the state's primary day.

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Allen Raymond, the GOP businessman who arranged the jamming of Democratic phone banks in New Hampshire on Election Day, 2002, emerged from prison ten days ago. And in his first ever interview about the jamming, he sounds like a man who's gained some clarity from his three months in the slammer:

... [Raymond] said he got caught up in an ultra-aggressive atmosphere in which he initially thought the decision to jam the phones ``pushed the envelope" but was legal. He also said he had been reluctant to turn down a prominent official of the RNC [James Tobin], fearing that would cost him future opportunities from an organization that was becoming increasingly ruthless.

"Republicans have treated campaigns and politics as a business, and now are treating public policy as a business, looking for the types of returns that you get in business, passing legislation that has huge ramifications for business," he said. "It is very much being monetized, and the federal government is being monetized under Republican majorities."


For those of you who wonder whether Raymond will be getting back into politics like Chuck McGee (another ex-con who recently helped to put on a "GOP Campaign School") -- not to worry. He says he's going into real estate investment.

ABC says:

New details on the government's case against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former Chief of Staff for Vice President Cheney, and new clues in the ongoing investigation of Karl Rove may be revealed next week. A conference with presiding Judge Walton, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the Libby defense team is set for Monday afternoon to discuss issues in the case[.]

Curious to see more of the Little House of Scandal -- the million-dollar Capitol Hill home purchased by lobbyist and former "earmark queen" Letitia White and a defense contractor, which is the listed address of a defense-related PAC run by Rep. Jerry Lewis' (R-CA) stepdaughter?

Reader WD sends a link to an online "virtual tour" of the home, probably circa 2003 when White and her co-owner, Trident Systems CEO Nick Karangelen, bought it for $50,000 over asking. Take a peek.

Ken Silverstein over at Harper's has new dirt on Letitia White and Trident Systems Inc., two names that rarely come attached to good news for House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA).

For one, Ken says sources inside Trident are telling him that the defense firm, which hired White to cajole fat earmarks out of Lewis' committee, was paying Letitia White (a former Lewis staffer known as "the queen of earmarks") what amounts to a commission based on the amount of the Pentagon contracts she secured. That's a big no-no.

Silverstein also said that contrary to insistences from White and Trident owner Nick Karangelen, his sources say White did not pay for half of the house the two co-own (along with their spouses) on Capitol Hill (see the Little House of Scandal). "[S]ome of the Trident officials have said that Karangelen actually put up the entire amount, along with additional monies for furnishings," Silverstein writes.

If true, that's very bad news for White and Karangelen. And with a federal investigation creeping up on Lewis, bad news for those two is bad news for him. If there's anything to be had on Lewis, investigators are going to get it through folks like them: close aides and business partners who are willing to avoid jail by turning on an old pal.

Guess who picked up nearly $2 million last year from his old lobbying firm? Jeffrey Shockey, the senior committee aide to House Approps Chair Jerry Lewis (R-CA) who left the Hill to lobby his old boss, then returned to work for him again.

Shockey's career been held up as one of the most egregious examples of the "revolving door" phenomenon, where folks leave government service and immediately cash in from lucrative posts in the private sector. Shockey has now shown one doesn't actually need to leave the Capitol to take money from private interests.

Now it's clear that Shockey's set up more of a "drive-thru window" arrangement.

Update: My colleague Paul asks a salient question: who's ever gotten a $2 million severance package -- for quitting?

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog reports:

While [the] White House has distanced itself from [Jack] Abramoff, a March 2003 invitation lists press secretary Tony Snow as “Master of Ceremonies” at [a] fund-raiser for the lobbyist’s Capital Athletic Foundation. Snow has “no recollection” of the event but did charity appearances while at Fox News. “I don’t think I’ve even met” Abramoff, Snow says.


Snow can't recall the event because it never took place. The tony affair -- an elaborate "Spy Game Gala" to have been held at the International Spy Museum -- was cancelled because of the Iraq invasion.

But oh, what the night would have been -- a sham fundraiser to beat all sham fundraisers: Fox's Brit Hume was coming, and so was Hardballer Chris Matthews. Then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) was planning on attending, as well as Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

It was even organized by a sham fundraiser: Julie Doolittle. That's right, Abramoff paid the so-called "fundraising consultant" wife of Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) to put the whole thing together. (John gives Julie a cut of his campaign donations as "payment" for having "raised" them.)

It would have been a night to remember. Or, come to think of it, a night most would try hard to forget.

Democratic leaders took the first step in ejecting Jefferson from a choice committee seat last night, and Congressional Black Caucus members have responded with more threats of a battle.

The CBC believes that a congressman has a right to keep $90,000 cash in his freezer, and if you have a problem with it, well just keep it to yourself -- at least until the indictment comes down. So if the leadership wants Jefferson gone from the Ways and Means committee, it's gonna be ugly. "It's about to blow up in their face," says the CBC's chair.

Jefferson's rolling up his sleeves and getting ready to box, too. His spokeswoman says: "this is not a take-one-for-the-team situation.... It's a fight if that's what it becomes."

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Paul reported yesterday on Richard White, the husband of aide-turned-lobbyist Letitia White, who's getting a piece of the action through his wife's connections to House Appropriations Chair Jerry Lewis (R-CA).

But Richard isn't the only spouse getting cut in because of ties to the world of Jerry Lewis. Alexandra Shockey, the wife of another Lewis aide-turned-lobbyist, Jeffrey Shockey, is also doing well for herself as a lobbyist with extraordinary connections to Lewis.

After several years as a Lewis aide, Alexandra dropped out of her political career to raise a family, returning only when her husband gave up his million-dollar-plus lobbying gig to work for Lewis again. She scooped up his clients -- and a lobbyist's income -- to push their interests in front of Lewis, while her husband, now a senior aide on Lewis' committee, helps her old boss dole out $900 billion in federal money every year.

According to the Shockeys' attorney, longtime political finance lawyer William Oldaker, Jeffrey recuses himself from any decisions involving Alex's (formerly his own) clients. And Lewis has defended the couple, saying they "have gone out of their way to make sure they are strictly adhering to the spirit and the letter of the law."

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As if domestic wiretapping wasn't a bad enough idea, or purchasing millions of call records wasn't a big enough waste of time and money, or asking AOL and other service providers to retain years' worth of customer data: Now, according to a report in New Scientist, the NSA is working on how to scrape personal data and "social network" information from sites like MySpace and Friendster.

The idea is farcical on its face, of course. No terrorist would list his network affiliations on those sites. They use Terroristster.com.

Update: Now I hear the CIA has been tampering with vote averages of suspected terrorist babes on amihotornot.com.

Late Update: What will happen to this man if the NSA finds out terrorists love Will and Grace? (Somebody stop me!)

Even Later Update: My bad. It turns out Al Qaeda has discovered MySpace. That's probably how the military found Zarqawi.

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