Archive for ‘inspectors general’

August 8, 2009

Lieberman, Collins, Grassley express ‘serious concern’ about ITC’s IG

Scored a minor scoop today from Capitol Hill:

Three senators, including Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, have sent a letter to Shara L. Aranoff, chairwoman of the International Trade Commission, expressing “serious concerns” about the contractual terms under which the ITC’s inspector general is hired.
The letter, signed by Lieberman, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — the committee’s ranking Republican — and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), complained of the ITC’s unusual practice of hiring the agency’s IG under a six-month contract, which the senators suggest may undermine the watchdog’s independence.

Read the whole thing. What is significant is that this is the first evidence that Lieberman’s committee is willing to cooperate with Grassley, who has been bulldogging IG-Gate for nearly two months.

July 31, 2009

IG-Gate: York Scores a Scoop

Following up on my scoop about Matsui, the Examiner‘s man pushes the story forward:

Now, investigators are trying a new route, examining the role of the Justice Department. Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has asked the committee chairman, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, for a hearing on the AmeriCorps/Walpin affair, focusing specifically on the role of Brown and his bosses at Justice.
According to a senior Republican aide, Sessions’ interest was piqued by a statement made in a late March television interview by Rep. Doris Matsui, the Democratic congresswoman who represents Sacramento. Asked whether Johnson’s problems could prevent the city from receiving stimulus funds, Matsui said that, at Johnson’s request, she had “been in conversation with officials at the White House and OMB [Office of Management and Budget] and others to ensure that we don’t lose any money at all.” . . .

Read the whole thing. “According to a senior Republican aide,” eh? Got to make a call to D.C.

July 28, 2009

IG-Gate Update:Walpin wonders about Matsui’s role

Guess who reads The American Spectator?

In a telephone interview today, Walpin said he noticed last week’s report that Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) had contacted White House officials in March, publicly vowing that sanctions against Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson didn’t prevent the city from getting its share of bailout cash.
Questions about what role Matsui may have played in Walpin’s dismissal are being asked on Capitol Hill, and the ex-IG himself is curious about the Sacramento congresswoman’s intervention, which drew attention after it was highlighted by California blogger Eric Hogue.
On the larger question — whether political pressure over his investigation of Mayor Johnson’s St. HOPE Academy was a factor in the June 10 quit-or-be-fired ultimatum from the White House — Walpin is certain.
“I have no doubt about that,” Walpin said. . . .

Read the whole thing, and expect updates.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: Eric Hogue’s all over the involvement of Matsui in IG Gate, with audio and lots, lots more.

July 27, 2009

IG-Gate: All Your Indexing Are Appreciated By Us

by Smitty

Stacy is driven by a desire to earn a living as an old-school journalist, back when they were more into investigating the laundry than dirtying it:

Bob Belvedere’s personal motives are unknown to me. Yet his personal fascination and indexing of all things pertaining to IG-Gate is appreciated.

He has now unveiled a separate blog just to handle the load:
IG-GATE: The Inspector General Scandals – Linkage Site

And just because I’m feeling SOCAL at the mo’ here’s sometime fellow-Eagle Felder with a parting jam set on a haunted B-17:

Could the evil green ball from Heavy Metal have something to do with IG-Gate?
In either case, I pick Felder over Henly as the theme song for the effort to protect Inspectors General from creeping Chicago-ism.

July 26, 2009

Geithner and the Scapegoat Sweepstakes

Thanks to Smitty for watchdogging the latest headlines about SIGTARP Neil Barofsky while I was on the road to Richmond yesterday. It’s important to see the big picture in this battle between Barofsky and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner:

The Wall Street bailout has been unpopular from its inception. . . . Now, we see unemployment soaring (more than 15% in Michigan, near 12% in California) and consumer confidence falling, while the stock market surges upward. You can’t blame people for suspecting that massive taxpayer-funded assistance to financial giants like AIG, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America might have something to do with this widening chasm between prosperity on Wall Street and misery on Main Street. . . .
Polls indicate a growing perception that the Obama administration is mismanaging the economy, with special favors for politically connected Wall Street fat cats at the expense of ordinary American taxpayers. . . .
With another approaching crisis in banking and forecasts that unemployment will continue rising for months to come, Obama will eventually start looking for a scapegoat. Though once hailed as an economic savior, the nominee who was “too big to fail,” Geithner is now odds-on favorite to win the Scapegoat Sweepstakes. SIGTARP Barofsky’s watchdogging of the bailout “black hole” may be enough to push Geithner across the finish line.

Read the whole thing, which includes a “document dump” with Barofsky’s quarterly IG report and other important documents on this important aspect of IG-Gate.

July 22, 2009

Rule 3 on IG-Gate (Plus, Notes forNewbies on Aggregation Method)

There’s a Memeorandum thread this morning linking the Hot Air IG-Gate Update, which got Instalanched. and is also linked by Frugal Cafe. Note that the Memeorandum thread also includes Joe Weber’s Washington Times interview with fired AmeriCorps IG Gerald Walpin:

“For a second I was thinking, ‘Why do I need all of this?’ I’ll just resign and go back to my good legal practice in New York,” Gerald Walpin told The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show Tuesday.
“But I would then be part of the apparatus that is totally torpedoing the inspectors general,” Mr. Walpin said. “The watchdog would not really be a watchdog. He’d just be afraid of his shadow.” . . .

That’s new stuff, see? It was linked together with the IG-Gate Update in a post at Right Wing News. If several different blogs aggregate that stuff together, it creates sort of a center of gravity in the ‘sphere that is picked up by the Memeorandum algorithm.

And the Right Wing News post also includes today’s Washington Post story about Neil Barofsky — SIGTARP, special inspector general for the TARP bailout — who raised hell on Capitol Hill yesterday. As of 7 a.m., that story was not included in the Memeorandum thread, but given that Sen. Chuck Grassley has been defending Barofsky’s office against Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, (see Grassley’s June 17 letter to Geithner in PDF) it’s very much part of the same story.

Building up a Memeorandum thread, with everybody commenting on the same news stories and cross-linking, is what Rule 3 is about. Newbies should always hat-tip Memeorandum when they do this. Even if the increase in your traffic is not immediately significant, every time somebody links your blog, it boosts your Technorati ranking — you did remember to install Technorati, right? — and, eventually, you’ll be showing up on Memeorandum’s radar.

Think of it this way: When one dog in the neighborhood starts barking, they all start barking. That’s why Jimmie Bise dubbed us The Million Hit Squad.

If you need more background on the IG-Gate story, try the Mother of All Updates.

UPDATE: Yet more juicy SIGTARP goodness:

Barofsky testified that taxpayers aren’t being told what most TARP recipients are doing with their money or what their investments are worth and may never be told exactly how their taxpayer dollars are being used.
At a Government Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, one lawmaker compared Treasury to convicted Ponzi scheme artist Bernie Madoff, accused Treasury of trying to undermine Barofsky’s independence and threatened to haul Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner before the panel if he didn’t adopt the IG’s recommendations.
“For us to get past this economic situation that we find ourselves in, the public has to believe that we’re doing the right thing,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). “If we can’t show them that we are doing the right thing with their money, we’re going to have problems.” (Emphasis added.)

When Democrats start talking like that, you know it spells trouble for Geithner.

UPDATE II: Text of closing statement by Chairman Towns:

Earnings at the largest banks and the bank holding companies such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are up, yet lending remains down. It is unacceptable that profits go up, while lending goes down. The taxpayers have invested very large amounts of money in these banks, but what have we gotten in return? It remains unclear.
The taxpayers deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent.
The Treasury Department needs to publish full and detailed information on the use of TARP funds and publish the value of the TARP portfolio on a monthly basis. They have that information and they should make it public.
Moreover, Treasury also requires the largest banks to file monthly reports showing the dollar value of their new lending. That should be made public also.
If Treasury doesn’t put this information up on its website, this Committee will. And if Treasury doesn’t turn over this information voluntarily, Secretary Geithner will be brought before the Committee to explain.
What we have heard today convinces me that one of the best things Congress did when it created the TARP was to also create the Special Inspector General to oversee TARP spending. I can now understand why the Treasury Department would like to rein in the SIGTARP. But we are not going to let that happen.


UPDATE III: Just got off the phone with a source on Capitol Hill who tells me yesterday’s Hot Air IG-Gate Update is a big hit with Republicans. Speaking of Republicans, here’s Rep. Darrell Issa:

The Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) Neil Barofsky testified today at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that the Treasury Department has “repeatedly failed” to implement SIGTARP recommendations that would reveal how Treasury is using taxpayer dollars. At the conclusion of the hearing, Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) asked Chairman Towns to bring Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner before the Committee to address the questions raised by SIGTARP’s report. . . .
“We heard today that full transparency, which we called for, the President asked for and this Administration promised, is being blocked by the bureaucracy which often says ‘just trust and we will deliver,’” Issa said. “Until we have full transparency, we will never be able to know how much risk Treasury is assuming on behalf of the taxpayers. This Administration promised an ‘unprecedented’ level of accountability and transparency. They set their own standard. Now we’re going to hold them to it.”

Click here for Issa’s statement.
Click here for Neil Barofsky’s testimony.
Click here for a copy of the SIGTARP Report.

July 22, 2009

The Mother of All IG-Gate Updates

On the Internet, stuff gets scattered around so that you never see it all in one place. Today’s IG-Gate Update at the Hot Air Green Room pushes the story forward:

Behind closed doors on Capitol Hill last week, I asked a Republican source about the investigative efforts of Democratic staffers for the House Oversight Committee.
“Honestly?” the source said. “They’re useless.”
More than three weeks have passed since Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) joined the committee’s ranking Republican, California Rep. Darrell Issa, to launch an investigation into the case of former Amtrak inspector general Fred Wiederhold Jr. . . .
Despite the “grave concerns” expressed by Towns and Issa three weeks ago, however, Republican sources on Capitol Hill have complained that Democratic staffers on the Oversight Committee have not shown much zeal for the investigation. Sources say Democratic staffers have skipped meetings and conference calls to which they were invited by GOP investigators, who are attempting to work with Grassley’s staff in order to prevent unnecessary duplication of efforts. Sharing documents and scheduling interviews with witnesses, allowing Republican and Democratic investigators from both chambers an opportunity to question these witnesses, is a demanding logistical task. And GOP staffers complain that this task seems to be lacking in terms of bipartisanship. . . .

Read the whole thing, because toward the end, I make this point:

This is a huge story, involving multiple investigations, and 1,200 words here don’t even begin to summarize the 1,400 words there [at The American Spectator on Monday], to say nothing of the 400 words I did last night about the SIGTARP report.

Like I said, read the whole thing, and follow the links, because this is one big sprawling mother of a story. The best I can do in any single chunk is to bring in new facts, new quotes, new angles, and link to as much other the other stuff as possible. (That Green Room article includes more than 25 links, including the link to the Spectator article, which has more than a dozen links.)

If you’ll go to Bob Belvedere’s WWU-AM and scroll down, he’s got a huge IG-Gate link dump with my reporting, Byron York’s reporting, columns by Michelle Malkin, reports from ABC News, the Washington Post, etc. There’s a lot of stuff out there, in other words, and you need to see it all if you want to try to understand this thing.

“Try,” I say, because I don’t even claim to understand it all yet. My sources talk about things and sometimes I can tell they’re trying to drop me a hint of something they want me to write about, e.g., “Who Is Eleanor Acheson?” It’s important to ask the right questions, as one of my sources said.

On the one hand, there is the temptation to focus on one aspect of the story — the Washington Times keeps calling this “WalpinGate,” which is too narrow — but on the other hand, you’ve got to be careful not to waste time playing “connect-the-dots” with things that might not really be connected. Yes, there’s a pattern, but that doesn’t mean there’s a conspiracy.

Still, as I predicted on June 18 — right after Michelle Malkin’s first column on the Walpin case slapped me upside the head — this story isn’t going away anytime soon. June 18 was the same day IG Fred Wiederhold delivered his report to the Amtrak board and suddenly retired, and also the same day Chuck Grassley made public his letter about the International Trade Commission IG, Judith Gwynne.

So barely a week after Walpin got his June 10 quit-or-be-fired ultimatum from White House lawyer Norm Eisen, there were two other IG cases. Then we have the case of the watchdog who’s still hanging tough, SIGTARP, Neil Barofsky. The bailout watchdog showed yesterday how much trouble he can cause, and it’s therefore no mystery why Treasury’s giving Barofsky a hard time. (My money’s still on Barofsky as the IG most likely to get a Cabinet secretary sent to federal prison.)

IG-Gate is a big mother, you see. Because I’m on deadline for a print magazine article, there’s no time for me to do a complete aggregation now, but here are the major IG-Gate articles I’ve done so far:

Each of those items is chock-full of links to other items. As you can see, just six weeks into this story, there’s a lot of stuff out there — and, no doubt, a lot more to come. Just keep hitting the tip jar.

One of these days, I plan to hit the American Spectator with the mother of all expense reimbursement requests — “$800 for fireworks?” “Promotional activity. Perfectly legitimate, Al.” — but in the meantime, Daddy needs a new pair of shoes.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Just in case you’re wondering why Professor Reynolds loves this story so much, I once again remind you to read the whole thing. The professor’s drooling at the prospect of The Mother of All Chris Dodd Updates.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IG-Gate Rule 3 memo, which offers more tasty watchdog morsels.

July 20, 2009

IG-Gate: Behind Closed Doors

From my latest report at The American Spectator:

Those familiar with the investigations caution against “playing connect-the-dots” with these three distinct cases. However, some informed Republican sources are beginning to call attention to other evidence of a concerted effort to blindfold, muzzle or neuter watchdogs — especially those who dare to growl at Democrats.
Why, for instance, did Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) rush through the House a bill that would give President Obama power to hire or dismiss five inspectors general — including the IG for the Securities and Exchange Commission — who under existing law report to the agency heads?
The IGs themselves have protested against the Larson bill, which has yet to be debated in the Senate, and it has not escaped notice on Capitol Hill that Larson is a prominent “Friend of Chris.” That would be Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Dodd is under intense scrutiny for a number of shady-looking activities — “Chris Dodd Update” has become a regular feature at Professor Glenn Reynolds’ popular Instapundit blog — and Dodd is also facing a tough re-election bid next year.
No one on the Hill has yet directly suggested that the Larson bill — which could effectively muzzle watchdogs at five federal financial agencies — was specifically intended as assistance to the embattled chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. But as liberal bloggers used to say about the Bush administration’s activities, some Republicans have begun to “question the timing.” . . .

There’s lots more juicy goodness where that came from — today’s article is more than 1,400 words — so please read the whole thing.

I’m very grateful to those loyal readers who have helped fund my trips to Capitol Hill by hitting the tip jar. There are some things that can be accomplished only by the skilled application of shoe leather, such as accidently walking into the wrong office — but there are no accidents.

By the way, something I omitted from the “citizen-journalist” account of my Friday trip. After I missed my lunch appointment because of the Tourist Drivers Damned to the Fiery Pit of Hell, I found myself with time to kill because the next person I was supposed to meet was (of course) caught in tourist-infested traffic. Noticing the grody condition of my shoes, and observing the nearby location of a shoeshine stand, I decided to indulge myself: $7 for a shoeshine while I read the newspaper and tried to relax.

The cheerful gentleman did such a thoroughly professional job that when he was done, I handed him $10 and said, “Keep the change.” A foolish indulgence. Little did I suspect, however, that a few minutes earlier, a homeschooling mom had hit my tip jar with . . . $10.

Coincidence? Right. Somebody ask The Anchoress who she was linking Sept. 24, and why.


July 20, 2009

SIGTARP Strikes: IG Barofsky Report SaysTreasury Not Tracking Bailout Cash

The watchdog bites Tim Geithner:

The top watchdog over the financial bailout package said the Treasury Department is rejecting “common sense” by not requiring banks receiving billions of dollars in government money to say how they are using the money.
In a report to be released on Monday, Neil Barofsky said banks that have received money from the $700 billion bailout package passed last year are able to indicate how they are using taxpayer money and that Treasury should require banks to be more transparent. . . .
Barofsky is the Special Inspector General over the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) that was passed by Congress in October. . . .

Read the whole thing. This SIGTARP report is a perfect example of why the Obama adminstration hates IGs. The Democrats just want to shovel money out the door and don’t care who gets it, except to be sure their well-connected friends get their share.

According to the liberal neo-Keynesian economic gospel, as long as the federal government does X-billion dollars of deficit spending, that will produce X-plus-Y amount of stimulus value (where Y = Magic Government Spending Multiplier Effect) without regard to whether the money ends up feeding orphans or supplying the mistresses of Goldman Sachs executives with bustiers and garter belts

Unfortunately for liberals, the stupid taxpayers can never seem to comprehend the nuances of neo-Keynesian theory the way Nobel Prize-winning genius Paul Krugman does.

No matter how many times they’re lectured about this “stimulus”/bailout brilliance, the idiots who pay the taxes get a little miffed to discover that their great-grandchildren’s future has been hocked to pay for new wallpaper and wainscoting in the executive lavatory of a giant banking conglomerate which — as every expert in Washington explained last fall — was so frantically in need of cash that the branch managers were sending tellers to sell plasma to the blood bank, merely to prevent a complete catastrophic meltdown in the global finance system.

Those stupid taxpayers are like that. They have a habit of remembering irrelevant minor details like those 90-point headlines on the front pages of all the newspapers:


Damned idiot taxpayers. What do they know about economics and budgets and stuff that only people with Ivy League Ph.Ds can ever hope to understand?

(H/T: Memeorandum.)

July 18, 2009

While I was off the grid yesterday . . .

. . . AmeriCorp IG Gerald Walpin filed a federal lawsuit demanding to be reinstated (hat-tip to Ed Morrissey, who doesn’t give me any credit or linky-love).

My trip to Capitol Hill yesterday was extraordinarily fruitful. People who don’t want to deal with reporters can dodge an e-mail or a phone call, but they get their salaries from the American taxpayer. They claim to be “public servants,” so they don’t have much choice in the matter when a citizen-journalist walks in the front door and says, “Serve me.”

Yesterday, because of screwed-up D.C. traffic — the Beltway was a parking lot and the side streets were gridlocked by freaking tourists who don’t know how to drive — I missed my 1 p.m. appointment with an important source. Even as I pulled into the parking garage at my destination, the source called me at 1:20 to explain that it was too late to wait any longer.

Grrrrrr. OK, fine, I had lunch with a friend of mine who just happened to be in town. And then I headed out to Capitol Hill.

Rejection and Revenge
My first visit was to an office where Smith at the desk smiled when he saw me walk in the door. He went into the next room to announce my arrival and, without saying a word, I walked right in behind him. I saw the initial look of horror on the source’s face when Smith said I was back, but then the source saw me behind Smith and smiled: “Oh, hi, Stacy!”

Nothing beats shoe leather. What I wanted from this source was to confirm the name and office location of the guy who hadn’t responded to my e-mail the day before. (Hint to public servants: When I send you an e-mail saying “call me at [my personal cell phone number] at your earliest opportunity,” you should RSVP ASAP.)

So I got the information and added a little extra hassle for good measure. This particular source is also a friend. If your friendly sources object to journalistic harassment, what kind of friends are they?

Understand that I was completely stressed out at this point. If these public servants would return my phone calls and e-mails, I wouldn’t have to drive 150 miles round-trip and walk all over Capitol Hill like this. After three hours of sleep and four cups of coffee, I’d driven like a maniac through Northwest D.C. — River Road to Wisconsin Avenue to Porter Street to Rock Creek Parkway and then into tourist-infested gridlock hell — only to find myself pleading on the phone to my source: “Please, I’m almost there, I’ll be there in two minutes, if this g–d—-d busload of f—ing tourists would just get out of my f—ing way.”

And being told “no.” Like a salesman doing cold calls or a teenage boy asking for a date, a reporter must learn to cope with rejection. But it hurts every time.

Like I’m Chopped Liver
When I was a pimply teenage boy and got rejected, I’d find myself thinking, “Would she say this to Andy Gibb?” (Back in the day, his poster adorned the wall of every college girl’s dorm-room.) Arrogant? Maybe. But I didn’t care how famous Andy Gibb was. He ain’t got nothing on me.

OK, so now I’m an award-winning journalist, a published author and the founder of the online posse whom Jimmie Bise dubbed “The Million-Hit Squad.” Just because I’m not famous doesn’t make me chopped liver. So when a potential source blows me off, my reaction is, “Would she do this to George Stephanopoulos?” (Who also ain’t got nothing on me.)

Trust me, I understand people are busy. My inbox is overflowing, I seldom have a chance to check my voicemail, my desk is a mess, and if it weren’t for abundant assistance from Smitty and my sexy wife — both of them answers to prayer, whom I seldom thank as often as I should — I’d be even more of a hopeless mess than I already am.

So if I miss your phone call or don’t reply to your e-mail, please don’t take it personally. Maybe I didn’t see your e-mail, and maybe (as is the case at this very moment) my cell phone is dead and I left the charger in the car that my wife is driving today.

Given my notorious disorganization and many other shortcomings, I try to be forgiving, to have empathy like Sonia Sotomayor, and to remember that other people have their own problems. Still, on the other hand . . .

Who’s zooming who? The salaries of congressional staffers are a matter of public record. You’re getting paid good money to deal with the media, and you can’t play favorites, as if The American Spectator was less deserving of your attention than Politico or The Hill. You’re making a heckuva lot more than I am, sweetheart, and the taxpayer is footing the bill, see?

Furthermore, I’m working longer hours than you are. The taxpayers don’t give me a computer loaded with whatever software I want, and I don’t have a free T1 connection. Nor do the taxpayers give me a Blackberry and a parking pass. I’ve got no interns or assistants to boss around. Therefore, when I’m hustling for every dime, burning the midnight oil and dodging bill collectors, my empathy for a 26-year-old public servant . . . well. it is not infinite.

But I digress. I’ll finish this saga of Friday on the Hill, but Byron York’s got an Instalanche and Powerline is also non-linking me, and so I guess I need to get this post online now before I’m the last blogger on the Memeorandum thread.

To quote the eminent political philosopher Rodney Dangerfield, it ain’t easy bein’ me. Please hit the tip jar.

Who’s The Man?
At 4 p.m., I walked into the office of the man I was looking for. I made a joke to the guy at the front desk as he went to fetch my source. A minute later, I was sitting on a leather sofa in a large office behind closed doors.

Explanation. Conversation. Interrogation. Quote of the Day. I repeated the word to my source, just to make sure I could use it. When your source is talking off the record, you put the pen down, let him talk — just two guys talking. If he says something you want to use, then you ask if you can use it as “background” (anonymously) and, if necessary, negotiate what can and cannot be used.

But you never burn a source. If you start hot-dogging, divulging stuff that your source doesn’t want to be published, just so you can claim to have it first, you’ll get a bad reputation and people won’t help you.

The source had something in another room I wanted to see, so he went to get it and I talked to the guy at the front desk again. “Hey, your guy there — he’s The Man.” Which led to a bit of joking (“No, you’re The Man!”) and off I went, across Capitol Hill, looking to find the source I’d missed at lunch.

Well, as I often remind readers, there are no accidents. All those tourist S.O.B.s I’d cussed into the fiery pit of hell while desperately trying to make it to lunch? “Angels unaware.” Being 20 minutes late for that appointment set up an amazing sequence of events that Lynn Vincent would call “providential,” but which Michelle Malkin once called “coinky-dinks.” (Coded message to Michelle: Ixnay on that ordway.)

The Man is in charge. Never doubt it.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! I’d meant to finish this account of my Friday on Capitol Hill. However, today the citizen-journalist must take his sons — Jefferson, 10, and Emerson, 8 — to a Monster Truck Jam at Hagerstown Speedway.

So you’ll be left wondering who was behind that umarked door I opened by mistake Friday afternoon. However, I beg you to pay attention to this:

Any Senator, officer, or employee of the Senate who shall disclose the secret or confidential business or proceedings of the Senate, including the business and proceedings of the committees, subcommittees, and offices of the Senate, shall be liable, if a Senator, to suffer expulsion from the body; and if an officer or employee, to dismissal from the service of the Senate, and to punishment for contempt.

For the record, the only thing the deputy press secretary could tell me was that she plays catcher on Joe Lieberman’s staff softball team. But that was another door.

Please hit the tip jar. I’m wearing out a lot of shoe leather doing it this way, and my boys will want some sno-cones at the Monster Truck Jam.