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

Earlier this week, The Wasington Post reported that part of the investigation into Dusty Foggo's relationship with Brent Wilkes was that Wilkes had picked up the tab for a number of the vacations the two took together.

Foggo's lawyer countered that these weren't gifts: they shared the costs. "One time [Foggo] would pay the airfare. Another time Brent would pay it."

Wilkes' lawyer agreed - they traded off:

Wilkes's lawyer, Nancy Luque, backed that account yesterday, saying that on one trip to Europe the families stayed at Foggo's house in Frankfurt, while on another to Hawaii they stayed at a rental home paid for by Wilkes. In the latter case, she said, Foggo chipped in by paying for dinners.


Hmm. But what would you say if you heard that rental home cost $20,000 per night?

From the Wall Street Journal:

People with knowledge of the case have said the prosecutors also are looking at evidence that Mr. Wilkes had given Mr. Foggo expensive gifts in recent years, including lavish, expense-paid trips with his family to Hawaii and Europe.

One person with knowledge of the case said a European trip included the rental of a castle in Scotland, and a Hawaii trip included a stay at a resort that cost more than $20,000 per night for the two families.


Oh, but Foggo "chipped in by paying for dinners." I'm sure it all washed out in the end, right?

Deep in the Post's story on Friday's raid of Dusty Foggo's home and office, there was this:

Intelligence officials close to [Porter Goss] said yesterday that Goss had asked Foggo to resign early last week, several days before the White House announced that it was replacing Goss.

"Porter asked him to step down because of his concerns that the allegations against Foggo had become a distraction for the employees and had the potential to damage the agency's reputation," an intelligence official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The official said Goss had no knowledge that federal agents were preparing to issue search warrants at the time or even that his own resignation was only days away from being announced by President Bush.


The Times reports this too, attributing it to "intelligence officials." Whether you believe it or not, it makes it that much harder to believe that Foggo had "nothing whatsoever" with Goss's decision to step down.

The Los Angeles Times broke the story yesterday that federal prosecutors were investigating Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), particularly for his relationship with lobbyist Bill Lowery. This was a spin-off of the Duke Cunningham investigation, Peter Pae reported, but it wasn't clear just how closely related it was.

But it seems that you needn't look too far to connect Cunningham and Lewis. As Jerry Kammer and Dean Calbreath report in today's San Diego Union-Tribune, the two tag teamed to push through Brent Wilkes' contracts:

Lewis and Cunningham also worked in tandem on Pentagon funding requests that came before the Appropriations Committee, defense contractors and military analysts have told the Union-Tribune.

"Lewis and Duke worked together, exerting a lot of control. It was pretty frightening," said a San Diego military contractor who dealt with both Lewis and Cunningham.

The contractor spoke on the condition of anonymity because he didn't want to jeopardize his professional relationships in Washington, D.C....

According to government and defense industry sources, Lewis and Cunningham worked together to help Poway military contractor Brent Wilkes as he pursued contracts on Capitol Hill. Cunningham admitted taking bribes from Wilkes, who has been identified as co-conspirator No. 1 in Cunningham's plea agreement.

On April 15, 1999, three months after Lewis was named chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, he received $17,000 in campaign contributions from Wilkes and his associates. At the time, Wilkes was vying for a project to digitize military documents in the Panama Canal Zone, which the United States was about to return to Panama.

"If you can't go to people on Capitol Hill, it's very difficult to remain viable as a government contractor," said one of Wilkes' associates who contributed money to Lewis at the time. "You have to talk to people. And to talk to people, you have to give money."

But the Panama project hit a snag. The Pentagon did not want to give Wilkes as much money as he requested.

On July 6, 1999, Wilkes wrote to Cunningham saying "We need $10 m(illion) more immediately . . . This is very important and if you cannot resolve this others will be calling also."

Wilkes' memo - contained in federal documents accompanying Cunningham's guilty plea - then named two people whose names were blacked out by the prosecutors.


Laura Rozen points out that at least one of those two names looks like it starts with a J...

Update: There was even more on Lewis and Cunningham's bullying in this LA Times piece Monday.

3 years and $3 million later, it seems that the Republican National Committee finally stopped paying James Tobin's legal bills after he was convicted for his role in the New Hampshire phone jamming in December.

I've been trying unsuccessfully for weeks to get the RNC to tell me whether they're paying for Tobin's appeal - which was mounted right after his conviction - but Peter Overbye of NPR reported yesterday that the RNC wasn't paying for it. When I called him up today, he said he'd gotten that straight from the RNC.

I find it hard to believe that the RNC has taken so much heat for supporting Tobin over the last six months without disclosing this. But if what they told Overbye is true, it would appear that they finally balked at the point when Tobin's "innocence" act was no longer tenable. They drew a line in the sand when it came to supporting a convicted felon.

Now that the heat is really on Dusty Foggo, the CIA's #3 man and Brent Wilkes' longtime best buddy, it would seem that now's the time for him to get his story straight.

Investigators are reportedly focused on one contract in particular, a multi-million dollar deal to provide water to CIA operatives in the Middle East which was cut while Foggo was responsible for purchasing in the region.

Mark Hosenball of Newsweek reported earlier that "official sources" say Foggo didn't sign the contract -- but that Foggo told friends "he may have tipped off Wilkes that CIA contracts were coming up for bid."

Now Foggo's lawyer is saying nearly the opposite: Foggo may have signed the contract after all, but he had "no idea that Archer Logistics was associated with Mr. Wilkes."

Hmm. So which version is right? Maybe the answer is in one of the many boxes of evidence removed from Foggo's house and office today....

For the last few days, the Pentagon's lead criminal investigator in the Duke Cunningham corruption probe has made cryptic public complaints of non-cooperation about the now-imprisoned lawmaker.

The investigator, Rick Gwin, made more comments yesterday, this time to the San Diego Union-Tribune. He won't come out and say it -- yet -- but it sounds like he's not complaining about Duke as much as he is the prosecutors.

[Gwin's] agents haven't been able to get to the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina to start the interrogation.

"We're just looking for the opportunity, in the future, to come down and debrief him," said Rick Gwin, special agent in charge of the Western regional office of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, one of three agencies investigating the case . . .

Gwin said his agency has asked the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego for an opportunity to question the former congressman.

"I think that's under way," he said.


Sound to anyone else like Gwin's subtly accusing the San Diego U.S. attorneys of foot-dragging?

Congressional Quarterly's Jeff Stein reports:

Russ Tice, an NSA intelligence analyst fired last January in the wake of revelations about the agency's warrantless eavesdropping program, is finally getting his chance to tell what he says are even more explosive secrets to Congress.


Tice has made a public issue for weeks out of the fact that no one in Congress has asked him to tell them what he knows about the NSA's domestic programs. Yesterday -- after a USA Today piece on the NSA programs made major waves -- the Senate Armed Services Committee asked him to come testify, he told CQ. The date will be sometime next week, according to Tice.

From the San Diego Union Tribune:

Federal agents Friday morning raided the home of Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, who stepped down this week from the No. 3 post at the CIA amid accusations of improper ties to a defense contractor named as a co-conspirator in the bribery case of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

One agent told reporters that Foggo was not at the modest home in a quiet suburban neighborhood near the CIA's Langley headquarters and had not been detained. The agents refused to answer other questions about the raid, including what agencies were involved.




Update: CNN is reporting that Foggo's office at CIA headquarters was raided as well.

James Tobin, the biggest wig yet to fall for the 2002 New Hampshire phone jamming, is up to be sentenced next Wednesday.

Yesterday, the Justice Department requested a sentence of 18 to 24 months in the clink.

Tobin's lawyers have countered with a request for "probation, a fine, and community service." And, as is usually the case with such requests, to show the judge that Tobin deserves his mercy, Tobin's lawyers have wrung his life of every last good deed. So he conspired to deprive New Hampshirans of their right to vote. Did you know that he also leads a group of volunteers at a soup kitchen? Not bad for a political saboteur.

You can see the tally here. Or, if that whets your curiosity, you can read the whole thing over at The Senate Majority Project.

Update: For the sake of balance, here's the sentencing memorandum by the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

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