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'Dusty' Ethics

Some of you may have heard that Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, former CIA Administrator, was indicted on February 13 for allegedly accepting bribes of meals and lavish vacations in exchange for doling out government contracts to California businessman and Republican campaign contributor Brent Wilkes.

In my testimony [pdf] before the House Government Reform Committee, also on February 13, I cited one of the major problems contributing to ethics abuses in the executive branch is the lack of ethics oversight. Responsibility for monitoring and enforcing ethics rules are left to some 6,000 individual ethics officers scattered among all the various executive agencies. Many of these ethics officers are poorly trained, if trained at all.

What is less known is that "Dusty" was one of those ethics officers.

Sad tales of executive branch ethics officers embroiled in scandals because of lack of oversight are not unique to Dusty. Sue Ellen Wooldrige, former assistant attorney general in charge of environmental protection, dated and now lives with J. Steven Griles, former deputy interior secretary. Griles is under federal investiagtion for receiving payments from Jack Abramoff's clients while they had business pending before Griles' own department. For part of that time, Wooldridge served as an excecutive branch ethics officer - advising Griles, no less.

If that's not enough, Wooldridge, Griles and a lobbyist for ConocoPhillips last year bought a $1 million vacation home together - just months before Wooldridge approved a consent decree giving ConocoPhillips more time to pay millions of dollars in fines and meet pollution cleanup rules for some of its refineries. You guessed it: the vacation home purchase by the three was also approved by another executive branch ethics officer.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


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Last April Karl Rove gave a speech at the Republican National Assoc.
He ticked off 11 states that he said could be pivotal in the 2008 elections.

Bush has appointed 9 new US Attorney's in 9 of the 11 states. This sounds like a plan to me for 2008 and should be looked into. This is the reason for the firings and putting new US Attorney's in with out Senate approval.


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