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Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 02:47 PM PDT

Obama faces the music

by jorndorff

The controversy surrounding Obama's campaign has been well documented. Some have said as a result that his campaign is now done. Over. Finished. Finito.

New polling from New Hampshire (after the jump) and two new interviews with
Obama should give Obama supporters and doubters reason to pay attention.

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Former US attorney in New Mexico David Iglesias did a phone interview on Hardball this evening wherein he divulged that three weeks ago he filled Hatch Act complaint with Scott Bloch and OSC against several Bush administration officials. Iglesias believes this complaint was at least partially the motivation behind OSC's current 'investigation' of Rove and other Bush administration officials. Given this disclosure, Congress has yet more reason to aggressively persue relevant documents and other records during the DoJ's decision-making process during the attorney purge and, more importantly, demand a real special counsel.

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With just two days before House Democrats elect their next Majority Leader, the fight between Jack Murtha and Steny Hoyer has taken a turn for the worst. Murtha, facing accusations of ethical infractions, fired back. An aide to Murtha told CNN that the origin of the press reports were part of a campaign on Hoyer's part and that Murtha was being swift-boated.

Sayeth Murtha:

"I am disconcerted that some are making headlines by resorting to unfounded allegations that occured 26 years ago. I thought we were above this type of swift-boating attack. This is not how we restore integrity and civility to the United States Congress.
Conversely, neither is ducking questions of corruption. Questions which don't simply stem from Abscam but from more recent actions while Murtha was on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

Murtha then took it a step further, changing the subject back to his stronghold (Iraq) and attacked his opponent.

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(HT to TalkLeft and How Appealing)

From the California Daily Journal:

An effort to restore habeas corpus rights for enemy combatants could be the first test of the Democrats' resolve to change course in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who is expected to become chairman, confirmed Thursday that he is drafting a bill to undo portions of a recently passed law that prevent terrorism detainees from going to federal court to challenge the government's right to hold them indefinitely.

More in extended.
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Republican media consultant and Abramoff friend Monty Warner recently wrote a letter to the editor of Montana's Whitefish Pilot, to "set the record straight so the people of Montana know the truth":
Mr. Burns' staff--and perhaps Mr. Burns--were known to eat free sushi/meals often at Mr. Abramoff's DC restraurant, Signatures, and the joke was if they didn't, they would have starved to death.

Frankly, it was widely viewed in DC that Mr. Abramoff effectively exerted implicit control over Mr. Burns whenever he and his team needed to get something accomplished.

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Howdy folks, this diary covers the results of the following elections: NJ-Sen, CT-02, CT-04, CT-05, NJ-05, NJ-07, VT-AL.

If you have questions, please contact FleetAdmiralJ. See in particular this series.

For the master Election Live Blogging diary, click here.

NJ-Sen - 99% reporting
Bob Menendez* (D) 1,152,978 53%
Tom Kean, Jr. (R) 970,381 45%
CT-02 - 100% reporting
Joe Courtney (D) 121,321 50%
Rob Simmons* (R) 121,151 50%
CT-04 - 100% reporting
Diane Farrell (D) 99,913 48%
Chris Shays* (R) 106,558 51%
CT-05 - 97% reporting
Chris Murphy (D) 116,985 56%
Nancy Johnson* (R) 90,766 44%
NJ-05 - 100% reporting
Paul Aronsohn (D) 86,216 44%
Scott Garrett* (R) 108,897 55%
NJ-07 - 99% reporting
Linda Stender (D) 92,480 48%
Mike Ferguson* (R) 95,739 49%
VT-AL - 95% reporting
Peter Welch (D) 136,718 54%
Martha Rainville (R) 113,617 45%

(* denotes the incumbent.)
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For supposed proponents of limited government, the current Republican crowd seems to hate independent scrutiny of federal contracts for cases of waste, fraud and abuse. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the recent firing of 60 contracted investigators from the Surveys & Investigations Staff (S&IS) of the House Appropriations Committee. The S&IS has been an active component of the House Appropriations Committee for 63 years, made up of former employees of the FBI, CIA and other federal investigative bodies. The bulk of its work is done covertly, its findings largely classified and rarely published.

On October 16th, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) unilaterally fired the 60 contractors, leaving the unit gutted with only 16 permanent investigators remaining in the unit. (Lewis himself has spent over $50k on lawyers over the course of this past month, as federal investigators continue to look into his history with the Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez, Denton and White lobbying firm and more specifically former disgraced congressman-turned-lobbyist Bill Lowery.)

More of the back story in extended.

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US News & World Report provides a much-needed update on the federal investigations surrounding the corrupt lobbying practices of Jack Abramoff and company:
"We thought it was wrapping up, but they've indicated that it is really about to expand," said one source involved in the case. "It's not ending anytime soon or even when he goes to jail."
Recently, US N&WR reported that Abramoff now has his very own FBI desk to work at. He spends "up to four hours a day detailing his shady business to agents eager to nail more congressmen in the scandal."

More in extended.

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Per TPM Muckraker and dcg2's diary we learn: a round of calls Monday evening, Lewis fired 60 investigators who had worked for his committee rooting out fraud, waste and abuse, effective immediately. As in, don't bother coming in on Tuesday.

The investigators were contract workers, brought on to handle the extraordinary level of fraud investigations facing the panel. Sixteen permanent investigative staff are staying on, according to CQ.

The question, obviously, why?

I venture to guess after the jump.

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Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 06:14 AM PDT

Let's Help Expand the Playing Field

by jorndorff

Top Democrats said yesterday that they are planning to significantly expand the number of GOP House seats they will target during the final 20 days of the campaign but that financial disputes and fundraising problems are hindering the effort.

Democrats said private polls have convinced top party officials that they could pick up 40 or more seats -- nearly double their internal projections from a week ago -- if they spend enough money on television advertising for long-shot races. Strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg are among those pleading with party leaders to go deep into debt to run ads in as many as 50 GOP-held districts.

Inside, how you can help.

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As Republican incumbents and challengers alike run away and claim independence from the failed policies and priorities of the Bush administration, there is an important strategic imperative from every Democratic politician to use to their advantage. That is--that every single election in the House and the Senate between a Republican and a Democrat isn't just a choice between two candidates but a choice between a Republican majority or a Democratic majority. Particularly in the wake of Bill Frist's 'retreatist' Taliban statements and the ongoing furor over Dennis Hastert's foreknowledge of Mark Foley's improper behavior, now more than ever is the time to hammer away at the failed Republican leadership in both the Senate and the House.
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Newly-disclosed e-mails from the Minority Chair of the House Government Reform Committee Henry Waxman provide new areas of insight into Jack Abramoff's closeness to the Bush administration. Most shocking of all (at least of those I've been able to read so far) is that Abramoff off-handedly mentions "the upcoming war in Iraq." The date--March, 2002.
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