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WaPo Chat Tries to Clear Things Up

Tim Curran, editor of Roll Call, spent some time on a chat answering readers' questions about the DeLay indictment earlier this afternoon. Some interesting questions, and answers. Check it out.

Operation Corruption

Tom DeLay and the Republicans, shamed by DeLay’s comments that the federal budget was "pared down pretty good," have come forward with “Operation Offset” to propose a number of cuts to help pay for hurricane relief. The New York Times’ Carl Hulse covers it this morning, listing the following items as ones on the chopping block:

"Summertime, and the Living is..." Sleazy.

Something in the air seems to have politicians across the country behaving badly, according to the Associated Press.

"Ohio Gov. Bob Taft is hardly the only politician these days to be hit by scandal. He's just the only one to admit he was wrong," Andrew Taylor writes. "House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, is fighting ethics charges. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is too. And two federal lawmakers are under investigation over financial dealings. "

Lobbyists, Legislators Avoid Those Pesky Ethics

Jeffrey Birnbaum at The Washington Post today turns in an eye-opening and disturbing story, headlined: "There's Always a Way; Exemptions From Ethics Rules Allow Lawmakers to Accept Almost Anything."

He goes on to list the loopholes and exceptions that allow lawmakers and lobbyists alike to skirt what are supposed to be meaningful ethics rules. Exceptions are made for campaign events and charities.

Duke is Done

Scandalized Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) announced tonight that he will not seek re-election when his term is up in 2006, the North County Times reports.

Just two weeks after federal agents raided his home, Cunningham said that he can do his job and defend his honor, but "I don't think I can do either of these things effectively in the midst of a political campaign."

Don't you wish you could see the internal polling?

Democrats Run Ethics Ads in Six Republican Districts

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee will begin running ads today that target Reps. Tom DeLay (R-TX), Bob Ney (R-OH), Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) and three other Republican members for alleged ethics violations.

According to The New York Times, the total cost of the ads is $36,000.

No Pancakes, Just Search Warrants for Cunningham

Embattled Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham spent July 4th trying to avoid fireworks. Cunningham, whose home was raided over the weekend by the FBI, canceled his annual appearance at a pancake breakfast in his district.

The event was to have been Cunningham's first public appearance since the beginning of a federal investigation into shady financial dealings, including the sale of Cunningham's California home to a defense contractor whose company has benefited from numerous lucrative government contracts that Cunningham weighed in on.

Wait, There's More

In a bizarre new twist on the Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) scandal, Fox News reports that when the House Ethics Committee finally gets itself together and investigates Cunnigham, Democrats are expected to bring up Top Gun Enterprises, Inc., a business the Congressman owns that cashes in on his former life as a Top Gun pilot for the U.S. Navy.

Harris and MZM Inc.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), who recently announced her intention to run for Senate, has offered to return campaign contributions she received from MZM Inc., the defense contractor who bought scandalized California Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunnigham's mansion at an allegedly inflated price.

The sale is currently the subject of a federal grand jury investigation in Southern California.

CREW Calls for Citizen-Filed Ethics Complaints

In the wake of the scandals surrounding Reps. Tom DeLay (R-TX), Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) and Bob Ney (R-OH), Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) has called for an independent investigation into the House Ethics Committee, which has failed to act in any of these cases.