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The Daily Muck

Santorum: My Charity? What Charity?

On national television, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) opts to foresake his own charity, Operation Good Neighbor, which spent much of its funds on what appear to be campaign-related expenses for him. (SantorumExposed)

Update: KBR Still Crooked, Waxman Still On Its Tail

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) yesterday released more damning internal documents showing Kellog Brown and Root overcharged the Pentagon for its services. (Washington Post)

In Polls, FL Voters Reject Harris Like A Baboon Heart

Rep. Katherine Harris' (R-FL) Democratic challenger for Senate in Florida is trouncing her by 28 points in recent polls. Go, Katie, go. (The Hill)

Reform Lumbers On

The Senate, in its consideration of a lobbying bill, voted down a resolution that would have established an Office of Public Integrity to supervise the Congress and enforce ethics laws. The charge was led by current members of the Senate Ethics Committee, from the left and right, who argued that the ethics committee is doing its job. The Center for Public Integrity has some good numbers to show why that's not the case. (CPI, AP, WaPo)

The Senate should vote on the reform bill today. About the bill:

The measure being put to Senators today bans gifts from lobbyists and increases reporting requirements for lobbyists while doubling the frequency of those disclosures. It also tightens revolving door restrictions between Congress and K Street by expanding the one-year cooling-off period for former staffers and lawmakers who go to work as lobbyists. The bill also includes new disclosure requirements for groups that engage in grass-roots lobbying.

Public advocacy groups are, to say the least, not very happy with the bill. (Roll Call, WSJ)

Meanwhile, Chris Cilizza notes that the Republicans' backdoor effort to slip in 527 reform could hurt Democrats in the mid-term elections. The Hill reports that Republicans are deadset on pushing this through. (The Fix, The Hill)

Unlikely Duo Work Together for Lobby Reform

Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), from opposite sides of the political spectrum, have teamed up to cosponsor five amendments to the Senate's current lobbying reform package. (The Hill)

More from Abramoff's Friends

Roll Call quotes more extensively from the letters written to Judge Paul Huck in Florida. The letters from Abramoff's children are especially striking:

Daniel Abramoff went on to express his guilt at having received so many great gifts that were obviously from his father's ill-gotten gains, and wishing he could "give it all back."

But he still places much of the blame on “crooked and heartbreaking journalists" for twisting the facts about his father- facts that Abramoff himself has now pleaded guilty to in federal court - and distinguishes his father's deeds from "robbers, rapists, pedophiles."

"I know the truth about this man, about how everyone wanted a piece of him because he was at the top of his game," Daniel wrote.

Denial of Abramoff's basic guilt is a theme for some other family and friends. "My father has never wronged anyone in business or in life and he seems to be taking the blame for a crime he did not commit," wrote Alex Abramoff, his second oldest child.

According to Levi Abramoff, 18, the lobbyist's oldest child, his father used "most of the money he made to start schools, kosher restaurants and helping many people in the Jewish community with anything and everything possible."

...Abramoff's daughter, Sarah, seemed resolved to the fact that her father had made mistakes that would force him to go to prison, but she held out hope that her family wouldn't be separated for too long.

"I know that my dad has made a mistake but if all the people who made mistakes were going to jail, then everyone would be in jail," Sarah Abramoff wrote. "Please, Judge Huck, please don't sentence my dad for too long."

Abramoff Scandal Haunts Baseball too

The Post reports that the Washington Nationals are feeling the hurt from Abramoff fallout. Lobbyists just seem not to be in the mood to buy so many tickets this year. (WaPo)

In Other Muck

The Miami Herald has a look at earmarking in Florida...(link)

The Hill takes a look at lobbyists who represent foreign governments. (link)

Also in The Hill -- Abramoff's ghost wins exemptions for former clients in new anti-gambling bill. (link)

Covered Yesterday

Just how sweet was Rep. Jim Ryun's townhouse deal?...(link)

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) loses lawsuit filed by Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)...(link)

Former Delay Aide Tony Rudy Day Traded in Capitol office...(link)

Conrad Burns - an appreciation for "plain-speaking"...(link)

Dubai Port Exec Pulls his nomination...(link)

In Abramoff Scandal, Wives play key role...(link)