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Abramoff Pleads Not Guilty

Scandalized lobbyist and DeLay pal Jack Abramoff pleaded not guilty today to charges that he defrauded lenders in a casino cruise line deal. Abramoff and his partner, Adam Kidan, were indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury on conspiracy and wire fraud charges.

Going Back To Cali

LA Times headline: Lobbyist Tied to DeLay Indicted.

Abramoff Indictment Couldn't Happen To A Nicer Guy

The Miami Herald is reporting that Washington super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff (and a man DeLay once described as a one of his "closest and dearest friends") will be indicted in Miami today on bank fraud charges stemming from the purchase of SunCruz Casinos.

"Tom, Jack and Friends:" A "Cheat Sheet"

It can be hard keeping your Congressional scandals and the whole cast of characters straight. Luckily, TPMCafe.com has provided us with a cheat sheet. A who's who in the world of political scandal. In "Tom, Jack, and Friends," Josh Eidelson offers his nominees for scandalized lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s "top six associates of questionable repute."

Oh, The Times They Are A-Changin'

Democrat and Iraq War Veteran Paul Hackett may have lost the incredibly close race for the open Congressional seat in Ohio's second district, but there is much speculation over what it might mean for Congressional candidates in 2006. Bush won the district in 2004 with 64% of the vote. Republican Candidate Jean Schmidt won with 52%.

The folks over at MSNBC's First Read wrote this:

Job Opening

Chairman Doc Hastings's chief of staff need not apply.

[Update: I hear Jack Abramoff is interested.]

Sushi with a Side of Scandal

According to Glen Justice in today's New York Times, scandalized lobbyist Jack Abramoff's upscale restaurant Signatures might not be bustling now, but in its heyday, it was filled with high-powered elected officials and well-heeled lobbyists.

For example, Justice cites an e-mail that Abramoff wrote to his restaurant managers in May 2002 which gives instructions on how to handle VIP Majority Leader Tom DeLay and his wife.

Playing Politics with Ethics: Lots to Report

"The House ethics committee is back in business," according to The Hill today.

It was reported that Committee Chair Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Ranking Member Alan Mollahan (D-W.Va.) have reached an agreement over staffing the committee, an impasse that has rendered the committee useless for several months.

Four Watchdog Groups, Constituents Call on Hastert to Appoint Outside Counsel

Public Campaign today partnered with Common Cause, Public Citizen, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and two dozen of Rep. Hastert's constituents in calling on the Speaker of the House to appoint an outside counsel to investigate the House lobbying scandals surrounding Reps. DeLay, Cunningham, Ney and others.

You can read the full letter that was faxed to Hastert here.

Already they respond. Before getting the letter.

So, Public Campaign and allies are faxing a letter to Hastert tomorrow calling on him to step in, get the Ethics Committee back on track, and encourage the appointment of an outside counsel to investigate Tom DeLay. Here's a blurb from Congress PM today: