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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: June 2009

Supreme Court to Review Campaign Finance Laws; States Can Challenge Banks; Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years in Prison

Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years Washington Post
Bernard L. Madoff, the mastermind behind one of the biggest and longest-running financial frauds in history, on Monday was ordered to serve 150 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 30, 2009; 9:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Stiff Sentence Urged for Madoff; GE Benefit From Bailout Loophole; Corruption Plays Key Role in Iraqi Justice

Stiff Sentence Urged for Madoff Associated Press
Victims who lost millions of dollars in the multibillion-dollar fraud perpetrated by Bernard Madoff described their ruined lives Monday to the judge sentencing the 71-year-old former Nasdaq stock market chairman.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 29, 2009; 9:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Senate Panel Hears of Health Insurers' Wrongs; Republicans: Fed Shielded Facts of Merrill Sale; 53 Indicted in Medicare Fraud Sting

Study Finds Database Overcharged Patients Billions New York Times
Congressional investigators said that two-thirds of the nation's health insurance industry used a faulty database that overcharged patients for seeing doctors outside their insurance network, costing them billions of dollars in inflated bills.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 25, 2009; 9:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Documents Back Saudi Link to Extremists; Rise in Native Contracts Eyed; DHS to Curb Spy-Satellite Program

Documents Back Saudi Link to Extremists New York Times
Documents gathered by lawyers for the families of Sept. 11 victims provide new evidence of extensive financial support for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups by members of the Saudi royal family, but the material may never find its way into court because of legal and diplomatic obstacles.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 24, 2009; 9:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

New Details in Madoff Case; White House to Nix Spy-Satellite Program; An Earmark-Stuffed War Funding Bill

Madoff Suits Add Details About Fraud The New York Times
Federal regulators contend that a prominent investor and a small brokerage firm both helped Mr. Madoff sustain the Ponzi scheme by steering billions of dollars into it, in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in fees and profits.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 23, 2009; 9:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Iran's Spying Aided by Western Technology; Blair Under Fire Over War Inquiry; V.A. Hospital's Rogue Cancer Unit

Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology The Wall Street Journal
The Iranian regime has developed, with the assistance of European telecommunications companies, one of the world's most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to examine the content of individual online communications on a massive scale.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 22, 2009; 9:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bailout CEOs Flew to Resorts on Firms' Jets; Obama's Pledge on Donations Faces Reality; Report to Detail CIA Secret Prison Program

Bailout CEOs Flew to Resorts on Firms' Jets The Wall Street Journal ($)
Flight records show numerous occasions when banks receiving federal money have flown their planes to destinations near resorts or executives' vacation homes, including spots in Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, south Florida and Aspen, Colo.

By Amanda Zamora | June 19, 2009; 12:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Insurance Fraud By N. Korea Outlined; U.S. Power Grid Scanned for Spies; DOJ Corruption Unit in Disarray

Global Insurance Fraud By North Korea Outlined The Washington Post
The North Korean government has collected hundreds of millions of dollars from some of the world's largest insurance companies on large and suspicious claims.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 18, 2009; 9:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Concern Over E-Mail Surveillance Grows; CIA Fights Full Release of Detainee Docs; White House Withholds Visitor Logs

Concern over E-Mail Surveillance New York Times
The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 17, 2009; 9:51 AM ET | Comments (1)

Gov. Audit Finds U.S. Overpaid Blackwater; IG Report: Regulators Failed Banks; CIA Mistaken on 'High-Value' Detainee, Document Shows

Gov. Audit: U.S. Overpaid Blackwater The Wall Street Journal
A government audit found that the State Department overpaid the contract-security firm once known as Blackwater Worldwide by tens of millions of dollars because the company failed to properly staff its teams in Iraq.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 16, 2009; 12:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments; CIA Fired Firms Aiding Interrogations; Financial Regulation Plan Detailed

Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments Washington Post
Almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments in a sector that could be dramatically reshaped by this summer's debate.

By Amanda Zamora | June 15, 2009; 9:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ethics Panel Embarks on PMA Probe; Tobacco Industry's Senate Ties; Miranda Issues Cloud Gitmo Cases

House Ethics Panel to Probe PMA Capitol Briefing
The House ethics committee is conducting a preliminary inquiry into the lobbying firm PMA Group's ability to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks for clients while steering millions of dollars in donations to key Democrats.

By Amanda Zamora | June 12, 2009; 11:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Pentagon Travel Policies Criticized; Lawmakers Invested in Bailed-Out Firms; U.S. Targets Exec Pay

Pentagon Travel Policies Criticized by Watchdogs » Pentagon personnel took more than 22,000 trips paid for by foreign countries, private companies and other nongovernmental sources over the past decade, according to watchdog groups. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | June 11, 2009; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

Online Poker Advocates Claim Seizure of Accounts

In the latest skirmish in the battle over Internet gambling, online poker advocates say the government has frozen more than $30 million in payouts affecting thousands of players.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 10, 2009; 3:56 PM ET | Comments (4)

Stimulus Spending Spurs Requests; Obama Drops Tough Pay Caps; House Seeks Merrill Documents

See what else we're reading by subscribing to our GoogleReader feed, or following us on Twitter. Stimulus spending spawns requests » As Democrats have defended the $787 billion stimulus package against accusations of pork-barrel spending, agency records show lawmakers working behind the scenes to try to influence how the money...

By Amanda Zamora | June 10, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

CIA Urges Judge To Keep Interrogation Documents Sealed; U.S. Troop Errors Resulted in Deaths of Afghan Civilians; Shell Settles Nigerian Human Rights Case

U.S. Troop Errors Resulted in Deaths of Afghan Civilians » The findings of a military investigation, presented yesterday to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, concluded that U.S. Marine troops violated or poorly followed military policies in Afghanistan that lead to the deaths of dozens of Afghan civilians. — Washington Post

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 9, 2009; 10:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Reform Advocates Hail Ruling on Elected Judges

Judicial reform advocates are hailing yesterday's Supreme Court ruling requiring elected judges to step aside in "extreme" cases where campaign donations may create the perception of bias. The 5-4 decision (PDF) will have wide-ranging consequences for state judicial election law, and highlights the growing role of special interest groups in campaign fundraising.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 9, 2009; 7:26 AM ET | Comments (2)

Tainted Syringes Slip FDA's Watch; Lobbyists Spend Millions Honoring Lawmakers; FEMA's Preparedness Gaps

Iraqi Security Forces Arrest Five American Contractors » Iraqi security forces have arrested five Americans in connection with the killing of a contractor last month in Baghdad's Green Zone. It could be the first case in which Americans face local justice under a security pact signed last year. — Washington Post

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 8, 2009; 9:54 AM ET | Comments (1)

Firms Tied to Murtha Have Troubled Past; Mortgage Pioneer Accused of Fraud; Banks Show Powerful Hand

Firms Tied to Murtha Have Troubled Past » Defense firm owner Bill Kuchera has won tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts with the help of Democratic Rep. John P. Murtha. Now he faces a federal inquiry into allegations of improper billing. But newly obtained documents show that the current probe is only the latest chapter in the troubled history of Kuchera business ventures. — Washington Post

By Amanda Zamora | June 5, 2009; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Grassley Complains of Library of Congress Interference

By Ed O'Keefe Washington Post Staff Writer Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) charged today that top officials at the Library of Congress have interfered with investigations conducted by its independent watchdogs and have frequently admonished investigators for the tone and focus of their investigations. "Your office's attempts to influence and/or control...

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 4, 2009; 3:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Telecoms Win Dismissal of Wiretap Suits; Google Executive's Ties to White House Questioned; Faulted Firm Gets Afghan Aid Work

Telecoms Win Dismissal of Wiretap Suits » A federal judge threw out more than three dozen lawsuits claiming that the nation's major telecommunications companies had illegally assisted in the wiretapping without warrants program approved by President George W. Bush after the 2001 terrorist attacks. — New York Times

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 4, 2009; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

McHugh's Defense Industry Ties

Much of the discussion following Obama's nomination of Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) as Army Secretary has focused on the opportunity it provides the Democrats to pick up a New York Congressional seat. But an examination of his campaign finance data suggests that McHugh has strong ties to the defense industry and lobbyists, including a firm at the center of a major FBI investigation.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 4, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Lawyer Says Abramoff's Family Living 'Just Above Poverty Line'

By James V. Grimaldi Washington Post Staff Writer Attorneys for imprisoned former lobbyist Jack Abramoff said yesterday that his wife and five children are living "just above the poverty line" and he should be permitted to continue spending a tax refund of more than $500,000 to pay back his lawyers...

By Amanda Zamora | June 3, 2009; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

DOJ Targets Tech Giants; Congress Helped Banks Defang Key Rule; A Shifting Earmark Eyed

Federal Antitrust Probe Targets Tech Giants » The Justice Department has launched an investigation into whether some of the nation's largest technology companies — including Google, Yahoo and Apple — violated antitrust laws by negotiating the recruiting and hiring of one another's employees. — Washington Post

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 3, 2009; 9:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Amid PMA Probe, Rep. Visclosky Relinquishes Chairmanship

Rep. Pete Visclosky (David Umberger / AP). Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) announced today that he is temporarily stepping down as chairman of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, just days after his office confirmed being subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating the now-defunct PMA Group. Visclosky confirmed...

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 2, 2009; 3:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Judge Orders Gitmo Docs Public; AP: Blago, Durbin Discussed Senate; A Push for FDA Data

Judge: Gitmo Docs Must Be Public » A federal judge ordered the United States on Monday to publicly reveal unclassified versions of its allegations and evidence justifying the continued imprisonment of more than 100 detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay. — Associated Press

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 2, 2009; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Potential GM Conflicts Abound; Cox Policies Undercut SEC; Visclosky Subpoenaed in PMA Probe

Potential Conflicts in Government Role » The administration put out a set of overarching principles Sunday meant to guide its interactions with GM and other companies in which the U.S. has an equity stake.Chief a among potential conflicts is the environmental arena, in which the federal government will be GM's largest shareholder and the chief regulator of vehicle fuel-efficiency standards. — Wall Street Journal ($)

By Sarah Fitzpatrick | June 1, 2009; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (0)


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