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

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) was a close political ally of disgraced former Representative Duke Cunningham (R-CA). So with the latest revelations in Duke's scandal, journalists are again posing uncomfortable questions.

Today local station in San Diego, KFMB, approached Hunter with an interview request. Steve Price, the reporter for KFMB, told us that Hunter's spokesperson said they'd get back to him. But instead of an interview, all Price got was this prepared statement:

"The congressman knows Mr. Cunningham very well and refuses to believe he would be unfaithful to his wife."

Calls for comment to Hunter's office were not returned.

As Josh mentioned over at TPM earlier, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) was reprimanded today for mispresenting her educational background on her campaign website - she claimed she'd received a second Bachelor's degree. Assuming that her site has it right now, it was only a teaching certificate.

Here's the public reprimand that the Ohio Elections Commission issued to Schmidt today.

I called the CIA this morning to get their reaction to Ken Silverstein's piece in Harper's that seems to put Goss in the poker-and-more parties thrown by Brent Wilkes. The parties were held in the Watergate and Westin Grand hotels -- and a third hotel, I'm hearing, which hasn't been reported yet -- as well as at the house of Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, a longtime friend of Wilkes' who is now #3 at the CIA.

After a long series of off-the-record phone calls with CIA spokespeople, I was finally given an on-the-record comment -- about Goss. Speaking on behalf of the director, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise Dyck said, "This is horribly irresponsible. He hasn't even been to the Watergate in decades."

When I asked if Goss had attended Wilkes' parties at the Westin or other locations, Millerwise Dyck repeated the denial. "It's horribly irresponsible. Flatly untrue."

She declined to answer questions about Foggo, but promised another spokesperson would call me and take my questions.

OK, we all knew Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) was in trouble, but today's news in the Times makes it look all the worse. At the center of Mollohan's problems is a system of nonprofits that he's set up in West Virginia - three of them have recently received word from the FBI that they'll be subpoenaed.

As a taxpayer, you can't feel good about the fact that over the last ten years Mollohan's been able to funnel via earmarks almost half a billion dollars to a handful of his choice nonprofits. Unfortunately, it's perfectly legal. What isn't legal - and, in Mollohan's case, not yet proven - is profiting directly from earmarks or scheming to rewire appropriations as campaign contributions.

We know that Mollohan had a tendency to go in for real estate deals with people who benefited from his earmarks, but so far that smoking gun hasn't emerged. Maybe the FBI has an idea of where to find it.

Details on Mollohan's nonprofits below the fold.

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Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), whose Armed Services panel recently found Cunningham clean as a whistle, has a history of helping out the Duke in times of trouble.

In 1998, the Pentagon picked several companies to digitize its documents. Cunningham's buddy, Brent Wilkes -- who's alleged to have bribed Cunningham and procured him prostitutes -- owned a company, ADCS, which wasn't chosen. Hunter helped Cunningham bring the full weight of their committee to bear on the matter, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

. . . [A]s a Defense Department inspector general's report later noted, the Pentagon reversed [its] decision and pushed $9.77 million into the ADCS program "after receiving inquiries from two members of Congress."

Those two lawmakers were Cunningham and Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, now chairman of the Armed Services Committee, according to the contractors and procurement officers directly involved.

Hey, Dukester, take heart. Federal prosecutors may have found enough evidence of bribery and malfeasance to lock you up for eight years -- and your errant sex life is now on public display.

But your pals on the House Armed Services Committee say you're clean -- at least from fiscal year 2004 through 2006.

The panel, led by former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's (R-CA) pal, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), reviewed Duke's recent-year activity when he was among them, and concluded that he didn't do anything wrong, according to CongressDaily's Megan Scully, who's followed this story doggedly from the get-go.

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Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) rolled the dice with prosecutors and won!... sort of.

Bob Ney is off the hook for charges relating to the SunCruz portion of the Jack Abramoff investigation (again, with a huge caveat), as the statute of limitations relating to those charges last night, Roll Call reports. Prosecutors had a choice: either get an agreement from Ney to extend the statute, or indict him then and there. Well:

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The Legacy of Pious Jack: Forced Abortions For Sweatshop Workers

Ms. Magazine visited the Northern Mariana Islands recently to determine the legacy of Jack Abramoff's work on behalf of sweatshop owners there. What did they find? Forced abortions, unemployment, and a thriving sex trade -- comprised mostly of unemployed garment workers. Nice work, Jacko.

Abramoff went to bat for the Islands' power brokers, so they could keep their sweatshops operating free of U.S. worker protection laws. With Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) help, he kept our laws off their island, which allowed these conditions to develop, the magazine concludes.

Meanwhile, Abramoff -- "who is praised by friends for his devotion to Judaism," the NYTimes tells us -- spent Passover at the luxurious 300-acre Turnberry Isle Resort and Country Club in Aventura, Florida. The disgraced (but devout) superlobbyist managed to scrape together more than $500 a night for his family's accomodations. (Alternet, NYTimes)

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Over at, Laura Rozen puts her excellent sources to work explaining how Wilkes' poker/hooker parties may have put Wilkes' longtime pal Kyle "Dusty" Foggo on Porter Goss' radar, and eventually landed Foggo the #3 spot at the CIA when Goss became its head:

I'm told these poker parties may have indirectly helped put Dusty Foggo on Porter Goss's radar through the person of Goss's deputy Patrick Murray. . . Writes one source, "...Wilkes and Foggo played cards together in washington in the late 1990s and early 2000s. . . It is apparently through this connection that Foggo came to the attention of Goss when Goss' first choice for executive director, Michael Kostiw, was nixed..."

More details this morning about the Brent Wilkes-Mitch Wade hooker ring, courtesy of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Several of Wilkes' former employees and business associates say he used the hospitality suites over the past 15 years to curry favor with lawmakers as well as officials with the CIA, where both Wilkes and Wade sought contracts.

Wilkes hosted parties for lawmakers and periodic poker games that included CIA officials as well as members of the House Appropriations and Intelligence committees. Cunningham, who sat on both committees, was a frequent guest, according to some of the participants in the poker games.

And I'll be darned: Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, now the executive director of the CIA, liked to come to those "parties." The same ones now-CIA Director Porter Goss may have attended:

People who were present at the games said one of the regular players was Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, who has been Wilkes' best friend since the two attended junior high school in Chula Vista in the late 1960s. In October, Foggo was named the CIA's executive director -- the agency's third-highest position.

In fact, Foggo didn't just attend, he occasionally hosted the parties at his Virginia home, the paper reports.

The SDUT has a couple other "names" of participants: Former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX) says he was there, although he never stuck around for the prostitutes, he says. Others tell the paper a CIA agent was present known as "Nine Fingers" because, yes, he only had nine fingers.

Who else? More lawmakers? As Young Sherlock Holmes might say: The game is afoot.