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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.
— Posted by denamom, Obama's Quandary...

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Archive: May 2009

White House Pushes to Block Abuse Photos; NY Immigration Fraud Probe Expands; When Clout Goes to College

White House Pushes to Block Abuse Photos » The Obama administration asked a federal court of appeals in New York on Thursday to recall its order requiring the release of photographs held by the Pentagon that depict the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. — Washington Post

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | May 29, 2009; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (1)

Burris: 'No Pay-to-Play'; Obama Orders Secrecy Review; Military Gift-Tracking Faulted

Burris: 'No Pay-to-Play' » A day after the release of audiotapes revealing promises made to Rod Blagojevich's campaign fund, Sen. Roland W. Burris (D-Ill.) yesterday denied any wrongdoing related to his pursuit of Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 28, 2009; 10:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Burris Tape: 'Keep Me in Mind'; Report: Interior Botches Officials' Passports; G.M. as 'Government Motors'

Burris Tape: 'Keep Me in Mind' » According to a newly-released audiotape, Sen. Roland W. Burris (D-Ill.) promised to make a campaign contribution to then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) at the same time he was pressing the governor for a Senate appointment. The FBI recording contradicts a Jan. 5 Burris affidavit in which he swore he hadn't discussed the Senate seat with Blagojevich. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 27, 2009; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

'State Secrets' Showdown Looms; Intrigue, Discord at Parole Commission; Crackdown on Corporate Bribes

'State Secrets' Showdown Looms » President Obama vowed last week to rein in the use of a legal privilege that allows the administration to discard lawsuits involving "state secrets." But hours his pledge, a federal judge criticized Justice Department officials in a case that has delved deeper than any other into one of the government's most highly classified data-gathering programs. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 26, 2009; 9:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama Curtails 'Preemption' Policy;Mortgage Lending Oversight Faulted; Citizen Spies Target North Korea

Obama Curtails 'Preemption' Policy » President Obama continued to reverse his predecessor's policies this week by undoing a controversial Bush administration rule known as "preemption" that used federal regulations to override state laws on the environment, health, public safety and other issues. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 22, 2009; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Group Seeks Sway Over E-Records; Abuse at Irish Schools Detailed; Lawyer's Ways Spelled Murder, Feds Say

Group Seeks Sway Over E-Records Oversight » A health technology trade association has asked the Obama administration to require that any electronic health-record equipment receiving stimulus funding be certified by a group the association helped to start and run, documents show. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 21, 2009; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

U.S. Weighs Financial Watchdog; Congress Eyes Pension Oversight; Hsu Convicted in Corruption Trial

U.S. Weights Financial Watchdog » The Obama administration is actively discussing the creation of a regulatory commission that would have broad authority to protect consumers who use financial products as varied as mortgages, credit cards and mutual funds, according to several sources familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday overwhelmingly approved new curbs on the credit card industry, putting the landmark legislation closer to the president's desk. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 20, 2009; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mortgage Fraud Bill Passes; GAO Cites Abuse of Disabled Children; U.S. Joins Wyeth Lawsuits

Mortgage Fraud Bill Passes » Congress on Monday sent to President Obama a bill to clamp down on mortgage fraud and set up a $5 million independent commission to investigate the cause of the worldwide financial meltdown. Also this week, Democratic leaders hope to send Obama legislation on credit cards that would protect consumers from arbitrary rate hikes. — Associated Press, USA Today

By Amanda Zamora | May 19, 2009; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

Watchdog Digs Into SEC Conduct; Nuclear Cleanup Contracts Eyed; Blue Shield v. Dropped Policyholder

Watchdog Digs Into SEC Conduct » Inquiries into potential misconduct by Securities and Exchange Commission employees come as the agency is trying to lift its image out of a morass created by its failure to stop Bernard L. Madoff's massive fraud or prevent the collapse of major Wall Street banks the agency regulated. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 18, 2009; 10:17 AM ET | Comments (1)

A Power Broker's Web Revealed; Overhauling 'Dark Markets'; Countrywide's Mozilo Faces Charges

A Power Broker's Web Revealed » The case against Hank Morris, who stands accused of positioning himself to extract $15 million in kickbacks from fund managers seeking public pension business in New York, has reignited perennial questions about a nationwide network of pension investment brokers -- many of them from the world of political operatives. — New York Times

By Amanda Zamora | May 14, 2009; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Officials Knew of AIG Bonuses; Stanford Exec Indicted; U.S. Weighs Financial Pay Limits

Officials Knew of AIG Bonuses » Documents show that senior officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York received details about the bonuses more than five months before the firestorm erupted and were deeply engaged with AIG as well as outside lawyers, auditors and public relations firms about the potential controversy. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 13, 2009; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

U.N. Struggles With Infighting; Another Caught in NY Pension Probe; Murtha's Name-Dropping Nephew

U.N. Struggles With Infighting » As an October 2006 bombing goes unsolved -- a former U.N. weapons specialist accused of attempting to murder his colleague -- hundreds of pages of confidential U.N. documents reviewed by The Washington Post, as well as interviews with those involved in the incident, demonstrate how U.N. agencies turned against each other as they struggled to determine who was responsible for the explosion. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 12, 2009; 10:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Health Groups Pledge Cost Control; Obama to Bolster Antitrust Rules; Ex-Reporter Made Chevron Look Good

Health Groups Pledge Cost Control » Healthcare industry leaders are expected to announce $2 trillion in voluntary savings over the next decade, according to White House officials, who also said the implicit threat of public embarrassment will be the only mechanism to ensure that the groups live up to their offer. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 11, 2009; 9:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Pelosi Briefed on Interrogation Methods; NY Fed Chairman Steps Down; Resignations Amid Pension Inquiry

Pelosi Was Briefed on Interrogations » Intelligence officials released documents yesterday saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was briefed in September 2002 about the use of harsh interrogation tactics against al-Qaeda suspects, seeming to contradict her repeated statements that she was never told the techniques were actually being used. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 8, 2009; 9:14 AM ET | Comments (7)

Terror Watch List Lapses; Bush Lawyers May Avoid Sanctions; BofA-Merrill Probe

DOJ Cites Terror Watch List Lapses » The FBI has retained almost 24,000 names on the nation's terrorist watch list without current or proper justification, while failing to include people who are subjects of terrorist investigations, according to a Justice Department report (pdf) issued yesterday. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 7, 2009; 9:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bush Officials Seek to Sway Probe; Pentagon IG Withdraws Report; SEC Sues First Fund to 'Break the Buck'

Ex-Officials Seek to Sway Ethics Probe » Former Bush administration officials have launched a behind-the-scenes campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed harsh detainee interrogation tactics, according to two sources familiar with the efforts. Meanwhile, sources suggest Justice Department investigators will not seek criminal charges against the lawyers. — Washington Post, Associated Press

By Amanda Zamora | May 6, 2009; 9:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Murtha's Nephew Defends Contracts; Obama Targets Tax Evaders; DOJ on Defensive in Renzi Case

Murtha's Nephew Got Defense Contracts » The most striking feature about the quiet Glen Burnie, Md., headquarters of Murtech Inc. is its owner -- Robert C. Murtha Jr., nephew of Rep. John P. Murtha. Last year, Murtech received $4 million in Pentagon work, all of it without competition, for a variety of warehousing and engineering services. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 5, 2009; 10:23 AM ET | Comments (1)

Mentally Ill and in Immigration Limbo; Firms Face New Tax Curbs; Edwards Admits Inquiry

NY Fed's Goldman Ties at Issue » New York Fed chairman Stephen Friedman's Goldman Sachs connections illustrate what a tangle of overlapping interests can arise at a hybrid institution, especially as the U.S. government grows more deeply enmeshed in American business and banking.— Wall Street Journal ($)

By Amanda Zamora | May 4, 2009; 9:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Scapegoats of Abu Ghraib?; Report: Contractors Behind Waterboarding Program; One Town's Take on Big Banks

The Scapegoats of Abu Ghraib? » When the photos of detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq surfaced in 2004, U.S. officials portrayed Army Pvt. Charles A. Graner Jr. as the ringleader of a few low-ranking "bad apples." But Graner's lawyer contends that recently-released Justice Department memos show how guards were made scapegoats for policies approved at high levels. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | May 1, 2009; 10:23 AM ET | Comments (0)


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