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Doing Time | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Doing Time

Republicans may want to reconsider their current efforts to curtail habeas corpus, since it looks like they are intent on taking over yet another branch of government, the federal prison population. Leading the GOP charge is San Diego Republican Congressman, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who pled guilty Monday to charges of bribery, fraud, and tax evasion. Duke says he plans to make amends. He'd be better off planning how he's going to make friends with his cellmate.

Who that might be is the question buzzing around DC since former DeLay aide and lobbyist Michael Scanlon's plea deal. Federal prosecutors are charging that Scanlon and Jack Abramoff provided a stream of bribes to Republican Congressman Robert Ney of Ohio and members of his staff, including a "lavish Scotland golf trip in 2002," in return for legislation that favored their lobbying clients. Ney says he was duped. Let's hope he's not as gullible in prison.

And then there's Scanlon's former boss, Congressman Tom DeLay, the Energizer Bunny of K-street corrupt conservatism. He's already being indicted in Texas. Having his boy turn rat puts him in potential legal jeopardy on a second front.

But as every lobbyist knows for a good golf game you need a fourth. Here's a quote from Bloomberg News: "Senator Conrad Burns, a Montana Republican, helped win a three million dollar government award for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan to build a school. The Interior Department ruled the tribe was ineligible because its Soaring Eagle casino makes it one of the richest. The tribe, an Abramoff client, donated $32,000 to Burns from 2001 to 2003."

At this rate it won't be long before Leavenworth has enough Republican Congressmen for a quorum.

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