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The blotter


The US Capitol Police searched years of records and came up with no indication that the story of Foley showing up drunk in front of the House page dorm is true -- but the incident could have happened without any report being filed, noted the Saturday Washington Post.  Former Foley chief of staff Kirk Fordham was expected to tell the House Ethics Committee in his testimony last week that he believed the incident occurred. 

Another vulnerable Republican incumbent just became more so.  The Justice Department is investigating whether Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania "traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter...  The FBI has formally referred the matter to the department's Public Integrity Section for additional scrutiny.  At issue are Weldon's efforts between 2002 and 2004 to aid two Russian companies and two Serbian brothers with ties to former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic." 

The Sunday Los Angeles Times reported on recently disclosed e-mails from Abramoff and his associates, which "provide more detail than the Bush administration has acknowledged about how Abramoff and his team reached into high levels of the White House, not just Capitol Hill, which has been the main focus of the influence-peddling investigation."  One regular and apparently helpful Abramoff contact in the White House: Ken Mehlman, now chair of the [RNC].  "Mehlman said he did not recall the details of his contacts with the Abramoff team," but that "such interactions were part of his job as White House political director." 

On CNN yesterday, Mehlman denied the Times story's lead allegation that he saw to the 2001 ouster of a State Department official who was at odds with Abramoff, says the Financial Times. 

The Financial Times also reports, "A lobbyist associated with Jack Abramoff... met White House officials on 12 occasions in 2003 and 2004 on behalf of an association that represented PartyGaming and other online gaming websites, according to billing records released by Congress."  The Abramoff-engineered effort to scuttle anti-gaming legislation "was largely effective until recently, when Congress passed a bill that, in effect, criminalised gaming."