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The Politico notes the many scandals emanating from the Capitol and wants Hill staffers to be prepared in case another of their bosses gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar, so they've put together a handy little checklist: "Top 10 ways to know your boss is a crook." Take note: if the Senator or Representative you work for is asking for your freezer dimensions, it might be time to dust off that resume.

Legal Tender

Bad behavior pays...lawyers, that is. Scandals and corruption investigations on Capitol Hill have fattened the wallets of more than a few legal firms, as politicians on the hot seat (like former Reps. Conrad Burns and Curt Weldon, and Reps. John Doolittle, and Mel Martinez) for everything from Abramoff to Foley seek counsel.


Unpack Those Bags

A busier work schedule and fear of scandal have put the kibosh on a lot of the lobbyist-funded January junkets for members of Congress, according to this story from MSNBC. No more jetting off to Hawaii for "conferences" and a mid-winter tan, looks like actually legislating will take precedence. Dry your eyes.


Outsourcing Oversight

Among the reforms being considered by the Democratic leaders of the incoming 110th Congress is an independent ethics oversight panel, an apparent acknowledgement that Congress is no longer able to police itself. Yet, despite this interest in investigating new ethical breaches no major overhaul is being considered that would mitigate existing conflicts of interest.


Before the Clock Strikes Twelve

With their plan to make lobbying reform a priority once they take control of Congress, Democrats are looking to take advantage of a national mood that wants action on corruption, but before they get crazy with reform they're taking all the lobbyist money they can get their hands on, according to the Wall Street Journal. Is that like having one last piece of cake before you go on a diet?


Subpoena Profiteers

Help me out - I'm still trying to place this on the funny/sad continuum. TPMmuckraker is reporting that one law firm, Covington and Burling, anticipates such a high number of corruption investigations to be initiated by the new Democratic Congress that its circulating a memo touting its services to potential investigation targets (like big corporations).


Jack Goes to Jail

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff is set to report to prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania today to begin serving his sentence for his Florida fraud conviction. He'd received several extensions on his reporting date because of his continued cooperation with federal prosecutors on the wide-ranging probe into his influence-peddling scheme involving several members of Congress.


Ohio Scandal Nets Further Convictions

Corruption was a big issue on election night - and not just the national stories of Jack Abramoff, Duke Cunningham, and the like. Ohio has been wrapped up in the "Coingate" scandal since it broke last spring. Today the primary figure in the scandal,Tom Noe, a top Republican fundraiser, was convicted on 29 criminal counts related to his embezzlement scheme from a rare-coin investment fund he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.


Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) to head RNC?

CNN is reporting that Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) might be new Republican National Committee chair. Can't they pick someone without a connection to Jack Abramoff or a brewing campaign finance scandal?


Martinez is embroiled in a scandal involving PBS&J, a Florida-based contractor that receives lots of government largesse:


Not Your Classroom Democracy

David Donnelly, our national campaigns director, writes over at MyDD about visiting his son's class to talk about elections - and facing the difference between "classroom democracy" and the real power-brokering in Washington.


He writes: