An investigator found “insufficient evidence to prove” that Dep. MT state Aud. Walter Schweitzer, brother of MT Gov/DGA Chair Brian Schweizter, “illegally solicited political donations from employees in a state building, as an ex-employee charged.” Investigator Elizabeth Kaleva said she found “insufficient evidence to determine that Schweitzer was handing out invitations and accepting contributions” in the auditor’s office for a fundraiser for House candidate Dennis McDonald (D) (Johnson, Billings Gazette, 10/7).
Don’t Drink And Captain Boats
MT state Sen. Greg Barkus (R) “is facing felony charges” in the Aug. “boating accident that injured” Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and left his state dir., Dustin Frost, “in a coma for 10 days.” Barkus was charged with “criminal endangerment and two counts of negligent vehicular assault.”
Barkus “allegedly crashed a boat at high speed onto a rocky embankment” after “a night of drinking,” including “scotch and wine.” His blood-alcohol level was “twice the legal limit,” which Rehberg said he was “surprised” to learn, because “he didn’t appear to be impaired to me” (CongressDailyAM, 10/8).
Let The Possibly Fake Record Show
A NY state cmsn “fined” Darren Dopp, ex-comm. dir. for ex-NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), $10K for having “misused his official position in an effort to discredit Spitzter’s main political foe,” then-NY House Maj. Leader Joseph Bruno (R). The state Public Integrity Cmsn found Dopp “had the State Police create offiical looking documents” about Bruno’s “use of state aircraft” and then “gave the documents, which wouldn’t ordinarily exist, to a reporter.”
Dopp: “With this decision, I become the first public information officer in history to be sanctioned for releasing public records in response to a media request. This decision is unfounded, erroneous and tainted. I intend to sue” the cmsn (Bauman, AP, 10/8).
Fridge Would Be Nice, Boca Burger Boxes Would Be Better
Ex-Rep. Bill Jefferson’s (D-LA) attys “have a lien” on Jefferson’s DC home, “according to recent bankruptcy court filings,” but it’s “not clear whether the lien includes the home’s refrigerator, were buried in soy burger and pie crust boxes” was the infamous $90K in “unmarked bills” uncovered during the ‘05 FBI raid. The fridge “could bring in extra revenue from a collector” (Tilove, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 10/7).
Attys “for the man accused of murdering” ex-federal intern Chandra Levy “are trying to fend off testimony from jailhouse snitches as well as an academic expert” in the “esoteric” field of “geographic profiling,” which “aims to calculate the most likely locations where a serial offender will strike” (Doyle, McClatchy, 10/8).
A cousin of Karla Giraldo testified in NY state Sen. Hiram Monserrate’s (D) assault trial 10/7 that Giraldo “was ‘borracha’ rather than ‘mareada’ — more durnk than tipsy — the night her face was cut.” Monserrate’s attys “sought to cast doubt on the reliability” of statements Giraldo made “incriminating” Monserrate “as her deliberate attacker.” The defense “left open the possibility” it may call Monserrate as its final witness (Blumenthal, New York Times, 10/8).
Spared Some More Embarrassment
Ex-Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-FL) “and his wife of 24 years have agreed to a 50-50 split of their assets, keeping the contentious separation from going to trial,” an atty said 10/7 (Turner, TCPalm.com, 10/7).
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Agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives " used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account," according to a federal racketeering lawsuit filed by a group of tobacco farmers who claim they were "swindled out of $24 million." The agents allegedly used shipments of snack food disguised as tobacco. The Justice Department is reportedly investigating the matter, though as of now it is unclear how widespread the practice was or if it is still ongoing.
Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."
"Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months." Meanwhile, NPR has launched a "Trump Ethics Monitor" to track the resolution of ten ethics-related promises that the president has made.
Over a meatloaf lunch at the White House last week, Donald Trump offered the job of Labor secretary to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a longtime loyalist. Christie promptly turned down the offer, once again signaling that he has no desire to move to Washington, D.C. to join the Trump administration. The job ended up going to Alexander Acosta, who is expected to sail through the Senate confirmation process.