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Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
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Archive: August 2008

Monegan to Palin: 'Ma'am, I Need to Keep You at Arm's Length'

In his exclusive interview with the Washington Post on Friday, fired Alaska state police chief Walt Monegan detailed how Gov. Sarah Palin kept raising the issue of her ex-brother-in-law, state trooper Mike Wooten. Palin's sister, Molly, was involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle with Wooten.

By The Editors | August 30, 2008; 12:09 PM ET | Comments (111)

Prince George's Land Deals Lack Oversight

Auditors have found that officials in Prince George's County, Maryland, have transferred millions of dollars in surplus public land to developers without the proper paper trails and often without competitive bids, good-faith deposits or accurate land appraisals. The audit began as a Washington Post investigation was in progress into county...

By The Editors | August 30, 2008; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Picks of the Week: L.A. Labor Deals, Doctors and Insurers, Missing EPA Safety Data

In a regular feature of Post Investigations, our editors have combed through the in-depth and investigative reports from news outlets across the nation and selected the notable projects of the week. Get the complete list (in no particular order) after the jump....

By Derek Kravitz | August 29, 2008; 5:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

Exclusive: Chief Fired by Palin Speaks Out

The July firing of Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan by Gov. Sarah Palin, who was announced as John McCain's running mate on Friday, has unearthed a stream of soap-opera-like details about Palin, her husband, her family and top state appointees. The controversy has also cut against Palin's reputation for holding an ethical line and standing up to colleagues in the Republican Party over matters of principle.

By The Editors | August 29, 2008; 5:27 PM ET | Comments (383)

McCain's VP Pick Palin Facing Ethics Investigation

For most of her tenure as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has enjoyed widespread popularity and a reputation as a maverick who refused to stand by fellow Alaska Republicans facing their own ethics scandals.

By Derek Kravitz | August 29, 2008; 2:19 PM ET | Comments (651)

The Daily Read

A look at some of the major investigative news we're seeing across the Web this morning. See something we've missed? Drop us a line. The Campaign Trail » As Denver packs up the convention, a legal controversy is brewing over an attack ad linking Barack Obama to the radical Bill...

By Amanda Zamora | August 29, 2008; 9:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

New Orleans: Better Prepared This Time?

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina three years ago, reporters and other investigators revealed that government failures, from misspent dollars to poor engineering and planning, contributed to the devastation and the slow response in helping victims.

By The Editors | August 29, 2008; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Letters Paint Picture Of 'Humble' Abramoff

After more than two years at a federal prison facility in Cumberland, Md., Jack Abramoff is humble, remorseful and in the midst of the Jewish spiritual process known as "tshuvah" to apologize for his sins, according to 95 letters prepared by friends, family members and religious leaders in support of a reduction in his sentence of nearly six years.

By Derek Kravitz | August 28, 2008; 7:19 PM ET | Comments (30)

Measles on Rise as Parents Question Vaccine

Reports of measles are on the rise, with health experts attributing the increase to parents foregoing vaccinations for their children out of fears over suspected links to diseases.

By Derek Kravitz | August 28, 2008; 2:21 PM ET | Comments (29)

Biden Family Financial Connections Detailed

Newly-minted vice presidential pick Joe Biden appears to have some questions to answer surrounding his family's extensive lobbying and financial dealings.

By Derek Kravitz | August 28, 2008; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (24)

The Daily Read

The Campaign Trail » Some delegates of Sen. John Edwards happy to kick him to the curb (The Post) ... ABC News producer arrested while trying to film corporate donors in Denver (The Post) ... another look at Sen. Joe Biden's business ties (Los Angeles Times) ... Sen. Pat Leahy...

By Amanda Zamora | August 28, 2008; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (4)

Justice Dept Seeks Reduced Abramoff Sentence

Both prosecutors and defense lawyers are seeking to reduce the sentence of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff because of his cooperation with federal investigators.

By The Editors | August 27, 2008; 7:11 PM ET | Comments (19)

The Daily Read

The Campaign Trail » Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama sought more than $3.4 million in earmarks for clients of his running mate's lobbyist son, The Washington Post reports; meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal examines vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden's efforts to protect Delaware's sizable share of bankruptcy filings; and...

By Amanda Zamora | August 27, 2008; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (1)

Report: Google Aiding Governments After Concerns With 'Earth' Program

Google has been increasingly helpful to U.S. and foreign intelligence services in taking images from its popular Google Earth program down after concerns arose over terrorist suspects using the pictures for attacks, according to a government report prepared last month by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

By Derek Kravitz | August 27, 2008; 9:43 AM ET | Comments (4)

Michigan Governor Could Remove Detroit Mayor

The political fate of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who is facing perjury and other criminal charges, may now be in the hands of a fellow Democrat, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

By The Editors | August 26, 2008; 4:16 PM ET | Comments (25)

The Daily Read

Mortgage Fraud Spikes » The Mortgage Asset Research Institute reports that mortgage fraud cases jumped 42 percent nationwide this year, with nearly a quarter of all incidents occurring in Florida. — The Associated Press States to EPA: Regulate » New York and 11 other states have filed suit against the...

By Amanda Zamora | August 26, 2008; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

It's a Party at Political Conventions

Politics and partying often go hand in hand. And at the upcoming national political conventions, the amount of fun and frivolity afforded to lawmakers and staffers, or lack thereof, is being as closely watched as ever.

By Derek Kravitz | August 25, 2008; 3:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Daily Read

Hello and welcome to The Daily Read from Post Investigations. Each day we'll scan the Web for the latest in accountability journalism. We'll wrap up on Fridays with our picks of the top stories and investigations of the week. If you have a comment or suggestion, or see a great...

By Amanda Zamora | August 25, 2008; 11:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Edwards Affair and the Media

The hand-wringing, second-guessing, teeth-gnashing and crowing over the Edwards affair and the lack of MSM investigation into it continues unabated. The Enquirer is to be applauded for its investigative effort on the Edwards story -- the full-court press it pulled is the kind of manpower surge no one does anymore. But we mustn't forget what happens when the MSM does nail it.

By The Editors | August 25, 2008; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (16)

Picks of the Week: Milwaukee Schools Spending, Border Tracking, and Child Hunting Deaths

In a regular feature of Post Investigations, our editors have combed through the in-depth and investigative reports from news outlets across the nation and selected the notable projects of the week.

By Derek Kravitz | August 22, 2008; 2:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Michelle Obama, David Axelrod and the University of Chicago Medical School

The Post's Joe Stephens reports today about the many ties between Barack and Michelle Obama and the University of Chicago and its medical school. Michelle is currently taking a leave from her $317,000-a-year post as vice president of community and external relations to work on her husband's campaign.

By The Editors | August 22, 2008; 10:52 AM ET | Comments (12)

Report: Federal Helium Program Full of Hot Air

The federal government, the chief supplier of crude helium, has entered into sweetheart deals with a group of private refiners, potentially costing taxpayers more than $100 million, according to an inspector general's report (PDF) released this week by the Department of Interior.

By Derek Kravitz | August 21, 2008; 5:31 PM ET | Comments (5)

A New Report on Missing White House E-Mails

An internal White House document obtained by The Associated Press shows that as many as 225 days of e-mail dating back to 2003 from the Bush administration's time in office are missing.

By Derek Kravitz | August 21, 2008; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (17)

McCain Volunteer Tied to NRA 'Spygate'?

Gun control activists are taking issue with a "high-level" McCain volunteer for his ties to a division of the National Rifle Association that allegedly hired a woman to spy on the anti-gun lobby, ABC News reports.

By Derek Kravitz | August 20, 2008; 5:39 PM ET | Comments (5)

Another Blow to Bush's EPA

In a decision that environmental groups are calling a "significant victory," a federal appeals court yesterday ruled that an Environmental Protection Agency rule curbing state and local control of pollution monitoring violates the Clean Air Act.

By Derek Kravitz | August 20, 2008; 2:03 PM ET | Comments (11)

Exclusive: Hollywood Producer Brought Hunter into Edwards Camp

The woman who had a lengthy affair with former Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has said she met the former senator at the Regency Hotel bar in New York City, and thought he was giving off a special "energy."

By The Editors | August 19, 2008; 6:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

EDGAR Is Getting a Facelift

The Securities and Exchange Commission will be announcing today the successor to EDGAR, its Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system. EDGAR will be supplemented, and then eventually replaced, by IDEA, which is short for Interactive Data Electronic Applications.

By Amanda Zamora | August 19, 2008; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (2)

FBI Stands by 'Powerful' Evidence in Anthrax Case

The FBI had a strain of the anthrax linked to the deadly 2001 mailings that killed five people, but destroyed it after it apparently "did not meet the standards investigators set out in a subpoena," The Post's Carrie Johnson and Joby Warrick report today.

By Derek Kravitz | August 19, 2008; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (29)

Potential Conflicts Cloud Government Procurement

In case you missed it, The Post's Robert O'Harrow Jr. reported today about some of the apparent pitfalls in allowing outside contracting "experts" help dictate government rules and policies.

By Derek Kravitz | August 18, 2008; 6:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Raleigh Editor: Edwards Went Big Time

Editors, media analysts and pundits are still grappling over how the mainstream press handled the sordid tale of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and his mistress, questioning everything from off-the-record chats with the onetime presidential candidate to wondering aloud about the credibility of the tabloid that broke the story, The National Enquirer.

By Derek Kravitz | August 18, 2008; 4:27 PM ET | Comments (25)

Army Makes Repairs in Wake of Soldiers' Complaints

Twenty soldiers told USA TODAY's Gregg Zoroya last week that complaints regarding mold at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla., went unanswered for months and that they were later ordered not to publicly speak about the facility's poor conditions.

By Derek Kravitz | August 18, 2008; 2:50 PM ET | Comments (4)

Words From (And Thoughts About) Our Fearless Leader

Last week, Downie was the opening day speaker at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. The notes he based his remarks on reflect his commitment to the craft of investigative reporting and his belief that such journalism has a future, on paper or on the Web.

By The Editors | August 18, 2008; 9:54 AM ET | Comments (0)

Condo Deal, Favors Outlined in Stevens Documents

Justice Department officials yesterday provided another look at the evidence collected against Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who was indicted last month on seven counts of falsely reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts. The original indictment accuses Stevens, 84, of concealing payments of more than $250,000 in goods and...

By Derek Kravitz | August 15, 2008; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Picks of the Week: Gun Mole, Iraq Funds and Wal-Mart

In a regular feature of Post Investigations, our editors have combed through the in-depth and investigative reports from news outlets across the nation and selected the notable projects of the week.

By Derek Kravitz | August 15, 2008; 4:31 PM ET | Comments (1)

PAC Payment to Edwards's Mistress Explained

The mystery of the $14,000 payment to John Edwards's mistress from the onetime presidential candidate's political action committee might have been solved. An associate of Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, told The Associated Press that the money was paid to 44-year-old videographer Rielle Hunter -- after she had stopped working for the campaign -- for 100 hours of unused "Webisode" videotape for which she had already received $100,000.

By Derek Kravitz | August 15, 2008; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (77)

D.C. Fires Construction Inspectors

In a follow-up to its Forced Out series about D.C. landlords mismanaging properties, Debbie Cenziper reports that Linda Argo, the head of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has fired seven commercial inspectors. The firings come a month after she fired half of the city's housing-code inspectors.

By The Editors | August 15, 2008; 11:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Murtha Goes to Bat for Troubled Company

The powerful chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee is defending a company that was convicted last year of illegally exporting military parts, The Post's Christopher Lee reports. Rep. John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, wrote State Department officials in late June urging them to meet with the president of...

By Derek Kravitz | August 15, 2008; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

Journalists Soul Searching Over Edwards Scoop

The National Enquirer's scoop of MSM (mainstream media) in reporting the story of John Edwards's extramarital affair has prompted some soul searching among pundits, analysts and journalists about the media's performance in getting the story.

By Derek Kravitz | August 14, 2008; 1:05 PM ET | Comments (47)

Hair Doesn't Match Anthrax Suspect, Fuels Speculation

A hair sample taken from a Princeton, N.J., mailbox linked to the 2001 anthrax attacks does not match that of Army scientist Bruce E. Ivins, leading to speculation about whether the federal government identified the right suspect.

By Derek Kravitz | August 14, 2008; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (16)

D.C. Can't Account for Repair Dollars

The Post's Debbie Cenziper for months has been writing about how D.C. landlords forced tenants out of rental buildings in recent years so they could be converted to condominiums. Now, Cenziper reports that the city can't say exactly how it has spent a $30 million repair fund meant to improve dangerous properties. Only a fraction of the money has gone to repairs, and much of that went to fix empty buildings.

By The Editors | August 14, 2008; 10:35 AM ET | Comments (1)

Sex, Lies and Videotape: Tabloids Persist on Edwards Story

Celebrity news programs are still closely following the story of former Sen. John Edwards's affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, talking with friends and family members in an effort to poke holes in the one-time presidential candidate's statements. In its latest issue, People reports that "behind the public show of...

By Derek Kravitz | August 13, 2008; 5:57 PM ET | Comments (143)

McCain Campaign Controversy

It's been three months since the McCain campaign imposed its no-lobbyist policy, but the candidate's lobbying ties continue to raise questions. The Post's Matthew Mosk and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum reported today on Sen. John McCain's April phone call to the president of Georgia. McCain was prepped for the call by...

By The Editors | August 13, 2008; 3:37 PM ET | Comments (181)

Clarification on McCain, Nonprofit Group

In a July 10 posting, the Post's Investigations blog referred to advertisements by Citizens Against Government Waste having been "on behalf" of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The advertisements did not mention McCain by name, but dealt with the Air Force's February decision to award a $40 billion contract for refueling...

By Derek Kravitz | August 13, 2008; 3:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

No Kidding Aside for the Edwards Affair

It seems like the ongoing saga over former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and his extramarital affair with a campaign staffer has taken yet another turn -- toward the humorous. Sarah Miller of The Los Angeles Times jokingly blames herself for Edwards's affair, saying an odd commonality between her and Edwards's...

By Derek Kravitz | August 12, 2008; 5:19 PM ET | Comments (73)

Author Defends Story on Disputed Iraq Letter

A week after the White House dismissed Ron Suskind's latest book as "gutter journalism," the author and journalist has taken the unusual step of posting a partial transcript of his interview with Robert Richer, the former No. 2 official in the CIA's clandestine service. In the transcript, Richer discusses the...

By Derek Kravitz | August 12, 2008; 12:50 PM ET | Comments (3)

Money as Weapons: $2.8 Billion In Iraqis' Hands

The U.S. Commander's Emergency Response Program, a little-known fund that uses a field manual called "Money as a Weapon System," has so far spent at least $2.8 billion to help in the Iraq reconstruction efforts -- without normal international redevelopment protocols or government purchasing rules, The Post's Dana Hedgpeth and...

By Derek Kravitz | August 11, 2008; 4:51 PM ET | Comments (3)

Fallout From the Edwards Affair

Fallout from former Sen. John Edwards's (D-N.C.) admission that he had an affair with a campaign videographer while his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, was in remission from cancer continues to play out in the press. A sampling of the follow-up stories about the affair and Edwards's future: -- Edwards told ABC...

By Derek Kravitz | August 11, 2008; 2:57 PM ET | Comments (253)

Anthrax Suspect's Funeral; Counselor Speaks

At a Frederick, Md., funeral service for Bruce E. Ivins, the Army scientist identified as the culprit behind the worst domestic terrorism attack in this nation's history, relatives and friends appeared to reflect on the best qualities of the man, even as new details emerged about his dark, troubled life....

By Derek Kravitz | August 11, 2008; 10:37 AM ET | Comments (54)

Update: McCain Returns $50,000 in Contributions

After a report by The Post's Matthew Mosk raised questions about one of Sen. John McCain's campaign fundraisers, the GOP presidential candidate decided to return about $50,000 brought in by a Florida oil executive. The McCain campaign acknowledged that some of the funds were collected by a foreign national and...

By The Editors | August 8, 2008; 1:01 PM ET | Comments (17)

Picks of the Week: Freddie Mac's Woes, Pesticides and Deadly Bridges

In a regular feature of Post Investigations, our editors have combed through the in-depth and investigative reports from news outlets across the nation and selected the notable projects of the week. Get the complete list (in no particular order) after the jump....

By Derek Kravitz | August 8, 2008; 11:43 AM ET | Comments (19)

Anthrax Evidence Getting Mixed Reaction

A day after federal authorities opened some of their files in the anthrax investigation, scores of colleagues, friends, family and observers continue to weigh in on the credibility of the government's evidence and the guilt, or lack thereof, of Bruce E. Ivins, the Fort Detrick, Md., scientist accused of carrying...

By Derek Kravitz | August 7, 2008; 4:09 PM ET | Comments (30)

Detroit Mayor Jailed for Violating Bond

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, embroiled in a sex and perjury scandal, was ordered to the county jail today for violating the terms of his bond. Kilpatrick's troubles began early this year when the Detroit Free Press published highlights from sexually explicit text messages between him and then-Chief of Staff Christine...

By The Editors | August 7, 2008; 1:52 PM ET | Comments (21)

Exclusive: Gerald Ford, JFK and the FBI

Two members of the Warren Commission were initially not convinced that President John F. Kennedy had been shot from the sixth floor window of the Texas Book Depository, according to confidential FBI files released this week to The Post's Joe Stephens. The files detail the inner workings of a secret...

By The Editors | August 7, 2008; 12:20 PM ET | Comments (25)

McCain's 'Florida Money Man' Finds Unlikely Donors

Sen. John McCain's "Florida Money Man," former naval officer and oil-trading company owner Harry Sargeant III, has raised vast sums of money for three presidential candidates, largely from the unlikeliest of donors. Sargeant, 50, has emerged as a major player in Florida fundraising for McCain. He has also become a...

By Derek Kravitz | August 6, 2008; 7:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

A Strong Circumstantial Case

With today's release by federal prosecutors of the search warrant applications and affidavits in the FBI's Amerithrax case, the evidence against deceased government bioweapons scientist Bruce E. Ivins finally comes into view. Is it strong enough? Pundits, lawyers and historians will debate for years whether the FBI and the U.S....

By The Editors | August 6, 2008; 6:17 PM ET | Comments (19)

To Our Readers

Due to software maintenance, all Washington Post blogs were unable to accept comments or post new items beginning yesterday morning and continuing through much of this afternoon. We are back and fully functional, and apologize for the problem....

By The Editors | August 6, 2008; 5:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Case Against Ivins: DNA, E-Mails and a Poem

Federal authorities today unsealed some of the evidence collected against Bruce E. Ivins, the Fort Detrick, Md., bioweapons researcher who died in an apparent suicide after being told he was the prime suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks. The documents, posted on the Department of Justice's Web site this afternoon,...

By Derek Kravitz | August 6, 2008; 4:35 PM ET | Comments (49)

Abramoff Associate Avoids Halfway House

Italia Federici, 38, was sentenced to 60 days in a halfway house. (Melina Mara/twp - Twp). Italia Federici, a figure in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal who acted as a conduit for Abramoff's dealings with the top ranks of the Interior Department, will not have to spend time in...

By Derek Kravitz | August 5, 2008; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (1)

GAO: Fake Companies Approved Under Medicare Program

The government is putting millions of Medicare dollars at risk by allowing phony sellers of wheelchairs, prosthetics and other medical supplies to submit reimbursement claims, according to a Government Accountability Office report released today. Government investigators uncovered the weakness in accounting controls when they sought to follow up on oversight...

By Derek Kravitz | August 4, 2008; 5:08 PM ET | Comments (2)

Details Emerge Slowly in Anthrax Case

With lingering unanswered questions surrounding the anthrax case and the suicide of its chief suspect, scientist Bruce E. Ivins, one law enforcement official told the New York Times that the evidence that led the bureau to its latest theory of the case could be released as early as Wednesday. Other...

By Derek Kravitz | August 4, 2008; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (27)

Long, Crooked Road of the Anthrax Probe

The bioweapons lab at Fort Detrick north of Washington, where anthrax suspect Bruce Ivins had worked since 1990, became a focus of federal investigators soon after anthrax-laced letters [pictures of the letters here] arrived at media organizations and Senate offices following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Five people died...

By The Editors | August 1, 2008; 4:40 PM ET | Comments (44)

A Stealth Investigation

The amazing thing is that it did not leak. Until now. Today's Los Angeles Times blockbuster report that the Justice Department was about to indict a top government biodefense scientist in the 2001 anthrax attacks is the first indication a solution was close in a case that has baffled investigators...

By The Editors | August 1, 2008; 12:33 PM ET | Comments (11)

Picks of the Week: Anthrax; Diploma Mill; Ex-Con Brokers

In a regular feature of Post Investigations, our editors have combed through the in-depth and investigative reports from news outlets across the nation and selected the notable projects of the week. Get the complete list (in no particular order) after the jump....

By Derek Kravitz | August 1, 2008; 11:17 AM ET | Comments (0)


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