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September 27, 2007

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So many crimes, so many scams, so little time. Getting harder to keep track every day.

But Wilkes also appears to have been a clear recipient of a quid pro quo--where he supported an earmark for Wilkes in exchange for at least $43,500 in donations from Wilkes' employees.

Should that first "Wilkes" read "Craig"? 'cuz I'm not understanding it, otherwise.

Oh yeah. Craig, not Wilkes.

'splains the high-powered lawyering up he did, doesn't it? That was hardly a defensive team one would assemble for a little public nuisance charge...

Rayne

Possibly, though so long as he stays in the Senate, I assume the Senate Counsel will deal with the subpoena, as the House Counsel has dealt with their subpoenas.

OT - Fighting for the People, or Fighting for the God of his Ideology - what's first with this man?

Gen. Pace: "...we should respect those who want to serve the nation, but not, through the law of the land, condone activity that, in my upbringing, is counter to God's law."

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/27/pace.gays.ap/index.html

EW -- so did Arlen Specter counsel

Aug/Sept ? -- Craig talks with Arlen Specter

Sept 2 -- we hear Craig hires Michael Vick's atty, Billy Martin, although actual date of hire is earlier[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/09/02/craig-hires-michael-vick_n_62807.html]

Sept 4 -- audio recording of Craig leaving a message on wrong phone for Martin moments before so-called resignation speech indicates Craig is expressing intent, but not actually resigning, because of encouragement from Specter. {http://www.talkleft.com/story/2007/9/4/205257/9609]

Dates are jacked up, news lagging by hours and days; is part of the rest of the timeline jacked up, too? That is to say, was Craig tipped off earlier about the subpoena that he felt he should hire Martin? Or were the subpoenas to House members enough to tip him off?

agh! I cut off a sentence. I'd wondered whether the Scottish Haggis had tipped off Craig by counseling him to state put in the Senate?

Brent Wilkes' family is from Idaho. The family has a reunion there every summer. His ties to Craig go way back.

From a cached site (The Rest of Us)- sorry I can't link- here is a little outline of what Wilkes got for the $43,000 he and his associates gave to Craig:

Iran Contract Craig's history with Wilkes and his associates began in 1998, when Niki Trading Corp., a company started by Wilkes' attorney and lobbyist Richard Bliss, received a $500 million contract offer from the Government Trading Corporation of Iran to export wheat and other agricultural commodities to Iran. Craig took several actions to benefit Niki Trading, including introducing an amendment in the Senate expressing the "sense of the Senate" that the White House approve the wheat sale and, according to Niki Trading's website, lobbied Clinton security adviser Sandy Berger to give an export license to Niki Trading so that the contract could be consummated.

Document Conversion Funding
A few years later, in 2002, Craig again acted to benefit Wilkes and his associates. On July 29, Wilkes lobbyists Richard Bliss and Joel Combs met with Craig's office to request funding for Wilkes company ADCS to run a document conversion program in Afghanistan. (See Anatomy of an Amendment, Idaho Statesman) Two days later, Craig introduced an amendment authorizing $3 million in funding for digitizing and indexing captured foreign documents in Afghanistan.

Three weeks later, Wilkes and Duke Cunningham flew to Idaho for a Craig fundraiser at the Coeur D'Alene resort. And in the next two months, Wilkes associates Max Gelwix, William Bain Adams, and Richard Bliss all contributed to Craig's PAC, as did Wilkes company ADCS.

Illegal Funds
As we laid out in complaints filed with the Federal Elections Commission, the contributions to Craig's PAC from Gelwix and Adams helped push them over the $25,000 annual aggregate limits on donations to federal candidates and committees which existed in 2002. The complaints are currently under review by the Commission.

Prescient call EW. TPM lists Craig on the next batch of subpoena recipients.

Nope. Craig would be immune (assuming he were immune in the first place), even if he left the Senate:

See Miller v. Transamerican Press, Inc., 709 F.2d 524 (9th Cir. 1983) (holding that former congressman could invoke the speech or debate privilege as to questions about material he inserted into congressional record)

That comment above re: Miller v. TransAmerican was from me. Somehow my identify defaulted to a username that I use in another nonpolitical blog that apparently uses the same software, or something.

Here's some more good news for everyone:

-- The Dems did get enough Republicans to back both the college-money bill (which Bush has signed already) and the Matthew Shepard bill (which has a filibuster-proof margin) to get them passed.

-- The Dems passed SCHIP and while Bush will of course veto it, he's getting massive flak therefor, flak that will stick to the GOPers wanting to get re-elected next year.

-- Oh, and there's been another ruling from a Federal Court judge declaring the "PATRIOT" Act unconstitutional, three weeks after the ACLU won a ruling that deep-sixes "National Security Letters".

a serving congresshole can't collect money for their legal defense fund unless it is a campaign donation.

Good call EW.

Oh, and thanks for the airport update. Will the Senate Counsel will adopt the "wide stance defense" ...so one's pants don't slide down. Anyone who's worn pants and used a public restroom can relate to that. The foot tapping? Restless foot syndrome. Opposite arm under the stall wall? A contortion worthy of Harry Houdini no less.

Apart from the embarrasment of getting fingered for cruising for sex in a public restroom, does anyone have an informed legal opinion about wither the condistion of his arrest (prior to his plea) amount to entrapment?

While searching to find out if Virgil Goode was subpoenaed, I found some news on the Mitchell Wade/MZM front- Robert Fromm is to plead guilty to conflict of interest charges according to the Charlottesville Daily Progress..

While a Department of Defense employee, Fromm oversaw a computerized intelligence program at NGIC. Between 2002 and 2005, MZM contracted for about $10 million worth of work on that program, according to court documents.

Fromm, whose duties included overseeing some of those contracts, left NGIC in the summer of 2004 and was promptly hired as a senior vice president at MZM.

The company had also previously hired his son, according to court documents.

He is accused of working on MZM’s behalf to influence U.S. Army and Department of Defense officials regarding the program he previously managed at NGIC.

The motion to quash is now listed twice (once for Wilkes and once for John T. Michael ????)
on Judge Burns calendar for tomorrow (Fri).
There is also a status conference still scheduled for Monday.
http://www2.casd.uscourts.gov/calendar/burns/0928.pdf

Neil - If there is an entrapment argument at all, and I am not sure there is, it is wafer thin. The far better argument is that there was no conduct that could be criminal. Craig's actions may have appeared to track those of homosexual restroom grooming behavior; but they could just as easily been innocuous as well. It is really no different than a cop saying "well, I witnessed the defendant sniffle a lot, rub his nose a lot, and seemed nervous; as an experienced narcotics officer, I know those to be the behaviors of someone using cocaine". That may be true. They are also the symptoms of someone with severe allergies self conscious about the public spectacle of his misery. Do you arrest him? No, of course not. Craig is a first rate hypocritical wingnut jerk; good riddance. But his arrest and plea process were defective from the start from a probable cause and due process consideration. That doesn't mean he is going to get out of this, but he should; it was, regrettably, bogus.

There's a piece in the current New Yorker about how Craig's address in D.C. is a boat moored at the same dock where Cunningham docked his boat, and where Ted Stevens still docks a boat. (The Washington Post had a piece a couple of weeks ago about how Craig supported Stevens's admission to the yacht club late last year.)

What was that computerized intelligence program at NGIC? Did it have anything to do with the NSA program(s)?

I believe Craig is requesting that his plea be reversed while desperately hoping his request is refused. If so, he will blame the legal system for the inability to "clear his name" and claim a victory.
If he by some miracle is granted a reversal of his plea, he may have a good chance for acquittal of the disorderly conduct charge, which he will then misinterpret into a "not-guilty of homosexuality" verdict.
Seems like a lot of upside for him, by what I believe are his calculations and his values.

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