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The Blotter

The AP covers newly released White House records showing that "[f]ormer associates of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff," including Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, "had dozens of appointments with Bush administration staff members... White House officials said they believe all their meetings that included Bush were group events, such as Christmas parties or policy briefings for GOP supporters." 

Roll Call suggests one reason why Rep. Bob Ney (R) might be refusing to resign just yet: "House Members are paid on the first of every month, and a resignation beforehand would deprive Ney - who has no personal wealth - and his family of a significant portion of his Congressional income."  

Meanwhile, NBC's Mike Viqueira says that Ohio Rep. Deborah Pryce, the fourth ranking Republican in the House, yesterday once again called on Ney to resign from Congress after he pleaded guilty to corruption charges. Pryce told reporters that she "believes very strongly that Bob Ney should resign" because he has "betrayed the trust" of the people of Ohio. It should be noted, of course, that Pryce herself is in a tight race for re-election in Ohio. At the same presser where Pryce made her feelings known, Rep. David Dreier (R) also indicated that he thinks it's time for Ney to step down.

And NBC's Joel Seidman reports that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's three-year CIA leak investigation has cost American taxpayers about $1.5 million since it began in December 2003 -- the least amount of any other Justice Department probe by an independent or special counsel in US history. By contrast, the decade-long probe of former Clinton HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros by David Barrett cost about $23 million. In fact, a cost comparison of expense statements filed with the GAO for the last four reporting cycles by Barrett and Fitzgerald clearly reveals the cost differences. From October 2003 to September 2005, Barrett's probe cost nearly $4 million; during that same period of time, Fitzgerald's cost about $900,000.