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

Responding to a query I made yesterday to the department, Homeland Security spokesman Larry Orluskie emailed me to confirm his department did in fact present a "recognition award" to Shirlington Limo in April 2005. The company has flirted with bankruptcy, had its federal licensing revoked, and is run by a longtime felon. It is currently being investigated for allegedly transporting prostitutes and lawmakers to parties hosted by alleged Congress-briber Brent Wilkes.

"Shirlington Limousine and Transportation was recognized for their prompt and courteous service to DHS Headquarters employees in the form of shuttle service and sedan drivers," he wrote.

"Regardless of the criticisms on blogs and slanted reports, this contractor is delivering a much needed service to this department with utmost professionalism, and the contract solicitation and award was completely up-and-up in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation."

Here's a timeline of gaffes by the youngest Kennedy in Congress, courtesy of the Boston Herald.

The paper also found a woman at the Capitol Hill favorite Hawk and Dove bar who said Kennedy had been drinking, after all. Sleep-drinking, perhaps.

BONUS: The courageous Wonkette has published Kennedy's police statement from his car accident outside a CVS three weeks ago. It looks like he was sleep-writing. Damn those pills.

In addition to stopping by the Watergate Hotel yesterday, I hit up a number of other hotels to see what anyone could tell me about Shirlington Limo, which reportedly ferried hookers and congressmen to parties hosted by crooked contractor Brent Wilkes.

The trip was largely a bust. Doormen and concierges at the Hilton Washington (a.k.a. the Hinckley Hilton), the Fairmont, the Ritz-Carlton, the Watergate, the Westin Grand and the Marriott Washington all said they'd never heard of the company.

I spoke to maybe a dozen limo and shuttle drivers, also, most of whom stared blankly when I mentioned Shirlington Limo. Two drivers recognized the name, and one offered to put me in touch with friends who'd driven for the company. We'll see what pans out.

Pentagon Official Suspected of Aiding Iraq Fraudsters

Every scam needs an inside man, and federal prosecutors think they may have found at least one in the Navy.

Douglas Combs served as assistant to Navy Secretary Hansford Johnson during the Iraq invasion. From that post, it's believed he tried to steer high-dollar contracts to Custer Battles, a company recently found to have used front companies and fake paperwork to bilk the military for millions of dollars.

Combs and Johnson, now outside of government, jointly purchased the remnants of Custer Battles. The company continues to operate in Iraq. (WSJ)

Read More →

This one just rose to true comedic heights. According to the latest report, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) says he wasn't drunk driving -- he was sleep-voting. We'll let Roll Call take it from here ...

"Last Tuesday, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress treated me for Gastroenteritis," a stomach illness. According to Kennedy, the attending physician prescribed Phenergan, an anti-nausea medication, which in addition to treating gastroenteritis, "I now know [it] can cause drowsiness and sedation."

"Following the last series of votes Wednesday evening, I returned to my home on Capitol Hill and took the prescribed amount of Phenergan and Ambien, which was also prescribed by the Attending Physician some time ago and I occasionally take to fall asleep. Some time around 2:45am, I drove the few blocks to the Capitol Complex believing I needed to vote.

"Apparently, I was disoriented from the medication. At that time, I was involved in a one-car incident in which my car hit the security barrier at the corner of 1st and C St, SE. At no time before the incident did I consume any alcohol."

AP reports:

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday he's not surprised by allegations of prostitution in the corruption case involving former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a former committee member.

Chairman Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., said he has discussed the matter with authorities and expected to raise the issue with an independent investigator he has hired to review Cunningham's committee work.

"If I'm trying to connect dots, this is not a surprising outcome," Hoekstra said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Hoekstra also said he expected his committee to wrap up its investigation into Cunningham's activities within "weeks."

I stopped by the Watergate Hotel this afternoon and chatted with Josh Graham, the assistant general manager, about the recent stories swirling around his establishment.

According to Graham, the Watergate has received multiple subpoenas in connection with the Wilkes Hookergate scandal. He went on to say that the hotel is complying with those subpoenas but that he couldn't discuss the content of the orders, nor could he discuss details of the investigation, "out of respect for our guests' privacy."

The Wall Street Journal had originally reported that investigators "had requested, and been given, records relating to the investigation and rooms in the hotel," but not that they had used subpoenas.

I put in a call to the Westin Grand -- the other hotel reportedly used by Wilkes to entertain lawmakers with poker, food, drink and possibly prostitutes. No one there could immediately confirm it had received similar subpoenas.

This does not look good.

From Roll Call:

Police labor union officials asked acting Chief Christopher McGaffin this afternoon to allow a Capitol Police officer to complete his investigation into an early-morning car crash involving Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.).

According to a letter sent by Officer Greg Baird, acting chairman of the USCP FOP, the wreck took place at approximately 2:45 a.m. Thursday when Kennedy's car, operating with its running lights turned off, narrowly missed colliding with a Capitol Police cruiser and smashed into a security barricade at First and C streets Southeast.

"The driver exited the vehicle and he was observed to be staggering," Baird's letter states. Officers approached the driver, who "declared to them he was a Congressman and was late to a vote. The House had adjourned nearly three hours before this incident. It was Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy from Rhode Island."

Baird wrote that Capitol Police Patrol Division units, who are trained in driving under the influence cases, were not allowed to perform basic field sobriety tests on the Congressman. Instead, two sergeants, who also responded to the accident, proceeded to confer with the Capitol Police watch commander on duty and then "ordered all of the Patrol Division Units to leave the scene and that they were taking over."

Baird said he had been advised that after the officers departed, Capitol Police "House Division officials" gave Kennedy a ride home.

Baird has called for a "complete and immediate investigation."

A man identifying himself as "Sam Johnson" from Shirlington Limousine called me this afternoon, returning my message from this morning. After identifying myself as a reporter, I asked what he could tell me about the company and the allegations that have been reported in recent days.

"What I can tell you is I can have someone from my public relations call you," he said. He took my name and number -- odd, I thought, since he had just called me -- and promised to pass it along. My fingers are crossed.