Friday, May 12, 2006
That Mr. Jackson would commit an illegal act -- and rescinding government contracts for political reasons is illegal -- was strange. Stranger still was the fact that Mr. Jackson, a former head of the Dallas Housing Authority with many years of government experience, apparently didn't know that such behavior is illegal, since he bragged about it in public. Even more peculiar were the later justifications offered by his spokeswoman, Dustee Tucker, who, speaking as if she knew of the incident, told the Dallas Morning News that the contractor in question had been rude to Mr. Jackson, "trashing, in a very aggressive way," the HUD secretary and the president.Apparently this isn't the first time.
But hold on, because the story took an even more bizarre turn when Mr. Jackson issued a statement declaring that he -- and presumably Ms. Tucker -- had fabricated the entire story. "During my tenure, no contract has ever been rewarded, rejected or rescinded due to the personal or political beliefs of the recipient," he stated. It was, Ms. Tucker added, "a made-up story," intended to demonstrate how people in Washington "will come in, trash you, trash the president and then ask you for money."
Federal investigators are examining the activities of several members of the House Appropriations Committee, including Representative Jerry Lewis, the California Republican and chairman of the panel that wields influence over government spending, government officials said Thursday.
The officials said the inquiry was focused on the often-murky relationships among lobbyists, contractors and committee members, who are able to steer lucrative government contracts to favored vendors virtually free of outside oversight through a process known as earmarking.
Update -- More on Foggo here.
Music Row record label Universal South was specifically cited for wrongdoing as part of a $12 million payola settlement announced Thursday between its parent, Universal Music Group, and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
A 41-page consent decree spells out at least two instances of attempts by Universal South to improperly influence radio airplay. The settlement agreement cites a 2003 case in which a Universal South representative swapped a $2,500 laptop computer for additional record "spins" for certain artists on a Rochester, N.Y., radio station.
It also details an offer by Universal South to fly a radio staff member and a guest to any concert by singer Pat Green for a certain amount of radio airplay within a specific timeframe.
For poor criminal defendants, "justice is simply unavailable" in New Orleans now, concludes a Justice Department report that calls for a major overhaul of the city's public defender system.
The report, obtained by The [LA] Times, says the city needs 70 full-time public defenders, more than six times the number of part-time defenders it has now, and a $10-million infusion of cash to have an adequate system.
pleaded guilty in an ongoing federal corruption probe."
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Unfortunately, although McCain is loquacious about corruption, he is too busy deploring it to define it. Mr. Straight Talk is rarely reticent about anything , but he is remarkably so about specifics: He says corruption is pandemic among incumbent politicians, yet he has never identified any corrupt fellow senator.
Anyway, he vows to "complete the job" of extirpating corruption, regardless of the cost to freedom of speech. Regardless, that is, of how much more the government must supervise political advocacy. President McCain would, it is reasonable to assume, favor increasingly stringent limits on what can be contributed to, or spent by , campaigns. Furthermore, McCain seems to regard unregulated political speech as an inherent invitation to corruption. And he seems to believe that anything done in the name of "leveling the playing field" for political competition is immune from First Amendment challenges.
The administration's housing secretary sought to head off a furor Wednesday over his recent account of scuttling a government contract because the person who was about to get it was critical of President Bush.
Published reports quote Alphonso R. Jackson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, as telling a real estate forum in Dallas on April 28 about how he withdrew an advertising contract that was about to go to a deserving minority publisher.
The country has John G. Roberts Jr. as its newest chief justice. What it doesn't have is an answer to the mystery of the missing file of his work papers on affirmative action.
The file, compiled during Roberts's tenure as an associate counsel in the Reagan White House, vanished in July when lawyers from the Bush administration were reviewing the materials at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., as part of a vetting process before Roberts's formal nomination to the Supreme Court.
A newly released report from the National Archives inspector general's office shows that federal investigators failed in their first attempt to nail down what happened to the file, which became a flashpoint in Roberts's otherwise smooth confirmation process.