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

Here is the "Information" - the facts to which Tony Rudy pleaded guilty today.

It can be hard to keep all these corrupt former DeLay aides straight - so let's go over who Tony Rudy is.

First, it's absolutely no surprise that Rudy is pleading guilty. He was identified in Jack Abramoff's plea agreement twice (as "Staffer A"). The most serious allegation was that he accepted $50,000 in payments through his wife in order to kill two key pieces of legislation while working for DeLay.

He worked for Tom DeLay through December, 2000, when he left to work for Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig. He was no doubt involved in some shady business there, and he left after a little more than a year to go work for Alexander Strategy Group, the lobbying firm run by Ed Buckham, another former DeLay aide. ASG, whose business was access to Delay, folded shortly after Abramoff pled guilty.

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Reports AP:

Tony Rudy, a former top aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, has agreed to plead guilty to charges in the widening federal investigation of lobbyist fraud, a law enforcement official said Friday.

Late Update: The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 AM, according to the Justice Department.

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is refusing to apologize for punching a policeman, the AP reports.

She has said she regretted the incident, but when an Atlanta TV station asked if she would apologize, she refused to comment. On her Web site, McKinney has posted the following comment:

"I know that Capitol Hill Police are securing our safety, and I appreciate the work that they do. I have demonstrated my support for them in the past and I continue to support them now."

No apology there.

Meantime, the CHP are weighing whether or not to bring charges against the congresswoman. And the Repubs are having a field day. Ron Bonjean, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), was so excited he channeled Bob Dylan: "How many officers would have to be punched before it becomes a big deal?"

Hell Hath No Fury

The sordid backstory of the Abramoff scandal finally gets a proper airing, thanks to the Wall Street Journal. The saga revolves around Emily Miller, the jilted fiance of Michael Scanlon, Abramoff's longtime business partner and confidant.

As the paper tells it:

As the [couple's wedding] date approached, Mr. Scanlon bought a $4.7 million oceanside mansion and guest house, formerly part of the DuPont estate, in Rehoboth Beach, Del. He furnished it down to the monogrammed towels and presented it to his bride-to-be.

Then, with the wedding a few months away, he called off the engagement and started dating a 24-year-old waitress.

Classy! Prosecutors went to Miller to get dirt on Scanlon; the feds flipped Scanlon, who gave up Abramoff. And the GOP establishment trembled.

Ah, the things we do for love, eh? Or for 24-year-old waitresses. Or for revenge. (Wall Street Journal)

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Has Howard "You're Being Really Picky" Kaloogian been improperly portraying support from a prominent Calif. GOP leader?

From a statement today by Calif. State Sen. Tom McClintock:

"It has come to my attention that a campaign mailing on behalf of Howard Kaloogian includes a picture and quote from me that suggests that I have endorsed his candidacy for U. S. Congress. I have not."

At the National Journal, Murray Waas rakes muck on how White House aides in 2003 plotted to hide the fact Bush knew of disputes over pre-war intelligence. In particular, they were worried voters would learn Bush knew the intelligence on the aluminum tubes was questionable when he used it as evidence of Iraq's WMD program:

. . . Bush had been directly and repeatedly apprised of the deep rift within the intelligence community over whether Iraq wanted the high-strength aluminum tubes for a nuclear weapons program or for conventional weapons. . .

"Presidential knowledge was the ball game," says a former senior government official outside the White House who was personally familiar with the damage-control effort. "The mission was to insulate the president. It was about making it appear that he wasn't in the know. You could do that on Niger. You couldn't do that with the tubes." A Republican political appointee involved in the process, who thought the Bush administration had a constitutional obligation to be more open with Congress, said: "This was about getting past the election."

Here's a new development in a story I've been puzzling over for the better part of a year: the Justice Department is prosecuting one of its own attorneys because, they say, he was too aggressive -- to the point of breaking laws -- in an effort to catch terrorists on U.S. soil.

It's a comfort to know the Justice Department has chosen to start reining in the government's more aggressive anti-terrorism practices. But I can't help but wonder if the administration isn't going after the guy for its own reasons.

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We flagged this today in the Daily Muck, but it really shouldn't be missed.

Roll Call reported today that Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) has put his D.C. home on the market, and it looks like he's leaving town.

Jefferson is the target of a long-running bribery probe, and all signs point to Jefferson being indicted if he does not plead guilty. His ex-aide Brett Pfeffer has already pled guilty to his roll in the scheme and is due to be sentenced May 26.

But his spokeswoman says the sale has nothing, nothing, nothing at all to do with the investigation, no: it's because "the housing market 'has gone flat and is expected to decline' and that the Congressman's house has 'seen a large appreciation,' so now is the time to sell."

At the very least, the $799,000 ticket price will help Jefferson pick up what must be some hefty legal bills.

Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele (R) is making a run for Senate there. The GOP loves him - he is after all, that rare thing, a Republican African-American, and there are signs he's finding his way into the GOP machine.

Today, Roll Call reports that he's just picked up Doug Heye as his communications director. Who's Doug Heye? Well, he comes to Steele by way of Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). Before that, he worked for Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), who's very close to Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff. TPM's cache of Abramoff emails showed Heye frequently using Abramoff's skybox back in 2000.