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The Blotter

Nevada gubernatorial nominee and Rep. Jim Gibbons has asked the House Ethics Committee to weigh in on "whether he failed to report a Caribbean cruise that was paid for by a military contractor who is also a major donor to the congressman's campaign," the Wall Street Journal reports.  "Mr. Gibbons sought the panel's advice after a page-one article in [the Journal] raised questions about his close ties to Warren Trepp...  The Journal reported Wednesday that [Gibbons] opened doors in Washington for Mr. Trepp's eTreppid Technologies LLC, a software maker that won millions of dollars in classified contracts...  It reported that Mr. Gibbons, who served on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees, helped the Reno, Nev., company secure federal contracts and in some cases helped direct federal money to the contracts." 

NBC's Jim Popkin reports that Dennis Montgomery, a software entrepeneur who is involved in civil litigation with former partner Trepp, issued a statement yesterday in the wake of the original Journal report charging that Trepp "has money and the influence that money can buy, which he has used to secure political muscle, from those few who can be bought" -- including Gibbons, Montgomery claims.  "For over nine months, I have kept quiet about the spurious lawsuits, about Mr. Trepp, and about his political influence with James Gibbons, and other individuals inside the federal government...  I do not believe that all in involved are corrupt, Gibbons excluded..."  He accuses Trepp and Gibbons of "using their political muscle to harass" him and cause him legal problems.

A source tells the AP that very vulnerable Rep. Don Sherwood (R) of Pennsylvania agreed to pay the women he is accused of abusing $500,000 "in a settlement last year that contained a powerful incentive for her to keep quiet until after Election Day…  While Sherwood acknowledged the woman had been his mistress, he denied abusing her and said he had settled her $5.5 million lawsuit on confidential terms."  

The New York Times writes that while most of the attention this year has been on a few corrupt (or allegedly corrupt) Republicans running for office this year, there are also Democrats -- like Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Jim Doyle and Sen. Bob Menendez -- who have had to deal with charges of ethical misbehavior.  "But while the Democrats' problems have certainly made these races tighter than they might otherwise be, they have for the most part not carried the lethal sting of the Republicans' missteps, independent political scientists and election analysts say."