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

The Daily Muck

Burns Gets a Primary Challenge

Battling rumors that he'll be dropping out of the race, Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) just got hit with a big blow yesterday when a Republican, Montana state senator Bob Keenan threw his hat in the ring. Now Burns will be reminded of his ties to Jack Abramoff from both sides, left and right. (AP)

McCain No Longer Lily White

You heard it here first, folks. The Hill reports that the Democratic National Committee has gone after Sen. McCain (R-AZ) for his recent hiring of DeLay accomplice Terry Nelson, formerly of the RNC. Nelson had a central role in the laundering scheme for which DeLay and his money men were indicted. (TPMmuckraker, The Hill, DNC)

In other McCain news, the Baltimore Sun notices McCain's new insider strategy - though doesn't mention Terry Nelson. (Baltimore Sun) And Howard Kurtz notes the Democrats' new strategy to "malign" McCain. (WaPo)

DeLay Gets His Day in Court

Texas Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle's appeal will finally be heard today in Texas. A lower court dropped a conspiracy charge a number of months ago, and Earle appealed to have it reinstated. If it is, then Tom DeLay faces a stiffer case and possible sentence. And not to complicate things too much, but DeLay's co-defendants have appealed Earle's charges against them, and if they win their appeal, then that could ultimately lead to all charges being dropped against DeLay. So it's a big day tomorrow. (AP, Houston Chronicle)

MZM and the Silbermann-Robb Commission

Following up on's reporting yesterday on MZM employees on the Silbermann-Robb commission, which was charged with investigating pre-war intelligence failures, Laura Rozen does a great job on putting the pieces together and building the case that MZM's contracts with the White House had to do with the commission's report. (TPMmuckraker, War & Piece 1, 2, 3, 4)

Bob Ney - Dead Man Running

The Hill profiles Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) colorful (read: crazy) challenger in the primary. He's not a serious opponent, but on the other hand, he did invent the word "lobbymander." It describes "the intersection of lobbyists and lawmakers earmarking money to pay for small projects in congressional district." (The Hill)

In CA, McCain Mugs Hard for the Money

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gets blasted for appearing at a mega-donor fundraising event for CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger (R). For raising at least $50,000, supporters could have their picture taken with the straight-talking renegade campaign finance reformer. (SFChron)

Critics: White House Turns Grants Programs into "Slush Funds" for Friends

The Bush administration has handed out nearly $160 million in new grant money to conservative groups for abstinence programs, antiabortion efforts and other ideologically-aligned causes. (WPost)

IRS Moves to Let Tax Preparers Sell Your Personal Data

In a move lauded by absolutely no one, the IRS has proposed letting tax preparation companies sell clients' financial information. Just one more reason it's the best-loved agency in the federal government. (Philly Inquirer)

Covered Yesterday

Doolittle Wife's Cut...(link)

IRS v. Greenpeace - Republican Revenge?...(link)

Tauzin - Claims That He Began Negotiations With Drug Lobby Only a Month After Pushing Through Drug Bill...(link)

RNC Tries a Different Approach with The Firefighter's Union...(link)

Three MZM Staff Worked on White House Intel Panel...(link)

Burns Fights Rumors That He'll Drop Out...(link)