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

Despite the all-but-certain federal indictment hanging over his head, Abramoff money-and-favors recipient Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) is expected to win his congressional primary, being held today. His competitor, James Broadbelt Harris, is an unknown who hasn't campaigned -- he hasn't even filed with the FEC, which indicates he has raised less than $5,000, CQ's Greg Giroux tells me.

I called Giroux to get his take on the election. While he expects Ney to win, he said, he's curious about what kind of "protest vote" Republicans in the district will cast for Harris, reacting to Ney's ethical troubles.

"I'd be surprised if Harris got more than 20 or 25 percent," Giroux told me. "That would be a sign that there is a chunk of the Republican base that's disenchanted with the incumbent."

"If Ney gets in the 80s -- and he very well may -- that'd show that at least Republican voters are behind him, and they weren't willing to look at this alternative candidate," Giroux said.

What do we know about Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the highest-ranking CIA official to admit he attended poker parties thrown by crooked contractor Brent Wilkes? Thanks to a handful of enterprising journos, we know a surprising amount about the guy, whom the CIA insisted was undercover until late last year. Those facts help draw a line through history that leads Foggo -- and others -- from the jungles of Central America to the posh hotel suites where Wilkes did his questionable entertaining.

(A quick shout out to the San Diego Union Tribune, Laura Rozen and Jason Vest, whose work forms the basis for this post.)

In November 2004, newly-installed CIA chief Porter Goss reached down into the ranks of long-serving middle managers at the CIA to make Foggo the Executive Director of the agency. Thus the lifelong friend of Cunningham briber Wilkes found himself in charge of running day-to-day operations for the $5 billion spy outfit.

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Last week we rolled out a new feature called the Midterm Muck Project; it's a list of races where ethics and/or corruption will be a defining issue. We'll be following these this fall as part of TPM's broader Election 2006 project. In part, we're doing this to see how much ethics really does play a role this November; but also, we'll want to be on these races to catch incumbents when they try to spin their way out of trouble.

I had a preliminary list, but asked readers to send in more examples of ethically challenged Members that might be worth our attention.

And after combing through the entries, we've added two more to the tally: Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) and Rep. JD Hayworth (R-AZ).

Now, if your entry didn't make the cut, don't despair. We can still be convinced. But we want evidence that not only does your rep have serious ethical problems, but also that those problems will have a significant impact on the campaign. We will be watching mostly close races, but we're more than happy to make exceptions for rarities like Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), who is polling strongly despite his very considerable muckiness.

Again, to help, send in your rep's name, a brief description of the muck, and, if possible, a link to a supporting article.

Here's our running tally:

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The CIA confirmed to the Wall Street Journal what we knew already from multiple eyewitness accounts: Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the CIA's #3 official, attended Wilkes' poker parties at hotel suites around Washington, D.C. where prostitutes allegedly entertained.

But that's it, the agency says. He never saw any hookers -- at least not while they were playing cards.

"If he attended occasional card games with friends over the years, Mr. Foggo insists they were that and nothing more," CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise-Dyck told the WSJ:

She said Mr. Foggo says he never witnessed any prostitutes at the games and that any allegation to the contrary would be "false, outrageous and irresponsible."


Good to have that on the record. Foggo's an interesting character -- with ties to Wilkes that go back more than 30 years, and have stretched as far as Central America and the Middle East. More on the two later.

Tom DeLay Gets The Best Representation Money Can Buy

Former majority leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) has shelled out $1.3 million in legal fees in less than two years. He has four different firms helping him face money laundering charges in Texas, and federal investigators in D.C. They've received $400,000 from DeLay this year alone. Thankfully, he still has friends to pick up the tab, including Bob Perry, the main money man for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. (Boston Globe, Roll Call)

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From MSNBC:

Intelligence sources say Valerie Wilson was part of an operation three years ago tracking the proliferation of nuclear weapons material intro Iran. And the sources allege that when Mrs. Wilson's cover was blown, the administration's ability to track Iran's nuclear ambitions was damaged as well.


Unfortunate. Like a fly in your chardonnay.

The White House stonewalled for months, and maybe now we'll learn why. From the AP:

The Secret Service has agreed to turn over White House visitor logs that will show how often convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff met with Bush administration officials - and with whom he met.

U.S. District Judge John Garrett Penn last Tuesday approved an agreement between the Secret Service and Judicial Watch, a public interest group, that requires the agency to produce records of Abramoff's visits from Jan. 1, 2001, to the present.

Judicial Watch filed suit in February after the Secret Service failed to respond to its request under the federal Freedom of Information Act....

The visitor logs are to be delivered to Judicial Watch by May 10.

Kids and corruption. I guess they just go together.

We've written before about the DeLay Foundation for Kids, Tom DeLay's charity for foster children that was lavished with corporate generosity while DeLay was in power. The charity served his lavish lifestyle, its fundraisers providing him an excuse to tour the country's finer golf courses, teeing off with lobbyists and eager executives (here's a picture of DeLay with Jack Abramoff at a DeLay Foundation event).

Well, it appears that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. DeLay's operation must have seemed like a mighty good idea to Michael Scanlon, DeLay's former press secretary who pled guilty last year to bribery and fraud charges, because Scanlon formed his own version: the Scanlon Foundation for Kids. The foundation, incorporated in Delaware on December 16, 2002, was registered to the same address as Scanlon's $4 million home on Rehoboth Beach.

Scanlon was no slouch at creating shell companies. His American International Center, formed in early 2001 and also run out of his home, served to launder millions of dollars from Abramoff clients. And Scanlon, of course, worked closely with Abramoff, from whom he could have learned the fine art of the fake charity.

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