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

The defiantly innocent guy at the center of the Ohio Coingate scandal -- no hookers in this one, sorry -- has changed his mind. He might be a little guilty, after all.

Tom Noe invested millions of the state's insurance fund for injured workers in rare coins, then stole a bunch of them, then sold some and funneled $45,000 of his ill-gotten gains to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign (he raised over $100,000 for BC04, making him a "Pioneer"). Not guilty not guilty not guilty, he said.

Now, AP reports that "Noe's attorney and the U.S. attorney's office jointly filed a request Wednesday asking a federal judge to set a change of plea hearing as soon as possible."

Well, almost 400 TPMm readers guessed how many visits the Secret Service's White House visitor logs would show, and nobody guessed two. Only a handful of people even guessed under ten. Just goes to show that this administration always rewards cynicism.

But TPMm reader ML came in with a guess of four early on, and nobody got any closer - though a number of readers did subsequently guess zero.

So congratulations to ML, whose canniness will be amply rewarded with a mug or T-shirt.

We know of at least three visits by Jack Abramoff to the White House that aren't included in the recently-released visitor logs.

Remember that the only visits the Secret Service's records show are on January 20, 2004 and March 6, 2001.

That means these records don't account for any of the meetings the White House has publicly confirmed: Hannukah receptions in 2001 and 2002, as well as the infamous May 9, 2001, "$25,000 Meeting," of which we have a picture.

In short, the records are a joke.

For once, Scott McClellan was right.

Two! From Judicial Watch:

According to the "U.S. Secret Service Access Control Records Report," Abramoff visited the White House on two occasions. On January 20, 2004, Abramoff entered the White House at 10:42:20 a.m. and exited at 11:29:34 a.m. On March 6, 2001, Abramoff entered the White House at 16:23:35 p.m. and exited at 16:49:50 p.m. The documents provide no further information on the nature of these meetings. White House Secret Service logs previously obtained by Judicial Watch from the Clinton administration provided additional details such as the "Visitee" and "Room Number," along with the name of the person who requested the visit. The Secret Service had agreed to provide the documents without redaction. Moreover, the two documents provided are not consistent with each other in terms of format and content....

"At first glance, these documents seem incomplete when compared to other White House visitor logs obtained by Judicial Watch. We therefore have reason to believe there are additional details about Jack Abramoff's visits to the White House that have not been disclosed," said JW President Tom Fitton. "However, now we know there are at least two visits by admitted felon Jack Abramoff that the White House must explain. What was Jack Abramoff doing at the White House? With whom did he meet? The public deserves to know answers to these questions."

Aha! So Jack Abramoff, via the Mississippi Choctaw and Agua Caliente tribes, dumped $20,000 into New Hampshire just prior to Election Day, 2002, not $15,000, as had been previously reported.

The Mississippi Choctaw cut a $10,000 check, and now a GOP attorney has admitted that the Agua Caliente gave $10,000 too.

The good people at the "shadowy" Senate Majority Project think the money might have something to do with the phone jamming. The GOP calls that "ludicrous."

Yesterday HUD Secretary Alfonso Jackson revealed he was running a political patronage system out of his department.

We already knew his agency had a contract with the scandal-linked Shirlington Limo Company. . . Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, apparently did the math, and called for Jackson to "release all documents and communications in [his] possession pertaining to any HUD contracts with Shirlington Limousine."

Shirlington was the car service that Brent Wilkes allegedly used to bring prostitutes to his lawmaker-laden poker parties. In addition to its $519,823 contract with HUD, it had a much larger contract with the Department of Homeland Security.

Full text of Slaughter's letter below the fold:

Read More →

More on Nine Fingers.

Yesterday, we reported that Brent Wilkes had paid Brant "Nine Fingers" Bassett $5,000 while Bassett was a staffer with the House Intelligence Committee under Porter Goss.

Well, now we know what it was for. Bassett had been Wilkes' tour guide:

The $5,000 Bassett accepted from Wilkes was for helping him with a business trip to a part of Europe where Bassett knew "the lay of the land from before" -- presumably a reference to Bassett's earlier work for the CIA, said the person speaking for Bassett. Bassett "was not an employee of [ADCS]. It was a one-off consulting deal" this person said on Bassett's behalf. Wilkes' Washington attorney, Nancy Luque, said Wilkes has done nothing wrong and that Bassett was hired as a consultant "for his knowledge of the area they were working in and facility with the languages spoken there."


And there is another choice detail. Bassett didn't just work under Goss at the House Intelligence Committee. When Goss rose to CIA director, he tapped Bassett for "a second stint at the agency as a consultant in the directorate of operations." Brent Wilkes did indeed have some friends there.

One of them, his close acquaintance Kyle "Dusty" Foggo is finally communicating with the media, albeit through his lawyer:

Bill Hundley, an attorney for Foggo, who told colleagues this week that he will step down from the agency's number three position as Goss leaves, says Foggo denies wrongdoing and is "really more of a victim here." Hundley added that he has not had any inquiries from either the Justice Department or the CIA inspector general, who is investigating whether Wilkes' business received any special treatment from Foggo.

"To him this guy was his friend and he obviously knew he was in the defense contracting business," Hundley says of the relationship between Wilkes and Foggo. But Foggo "is just shocked, really, that he would -- if he did -- have given that amount of money to Cunningham." Hundley added that Foggo may have attended widely reported poker parties that Wilkes threw in a hospitality suite in Washington, "but there was no hanky panky" at these events, he said.

The desperate search for someone, anyone to oppose Katherine Harris for the Republican nomination has failed.

I noticed in the NCTimes Cunningham piece today that Brent Wilkes, the alleged Cunningham briber at the center of Hookergate, has traded up in legal representation, from his original San Diego-based lawyer.

He's now represented by Nancy Luque, a tough former federal prosecutor who's now a high-priced D.C.defense attorney. (Wilkes' company is reportedly near-defunct, but he recently borrowed $1.5 million against his house in February.)

Here's how Washingtonian magazine described Luque in 2004:

There is no more loyal defender of her clients than Luque, a vivacious native Californian. In the best tradition of criminal lawyers like Clarence Darrow, one of her heroes, Luque loves to fight for the underdog and the unpopular cause. She represented convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and, more recently, Muslim individuals and organizations in Northern Virginia accused by the Justice Department of helping fund alleged terrorist organizations. You don't hire Luque for just a case—once she’s on your side, it's usually for life.


Did Wilkes choose her for her credentials? No doubt. But it can't hurt that she's a "California native," like he is -- and the two attended San Diego State University together. (No word yet on whether they knew each other.)

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