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Hefley: DeLay ‘dragged party down’

A year after being bounced as chairman of the House ethics committee, Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., seems relaxed and upbeat.

Many believe that party leaders ousted Hefley because he rebuked former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who had come before the committee on ethics questions and quit the leadership job after being indicted on charges of laundering campaign funds.

Bush wants even more power

President George W. Bush will soon make a formal request to Congress for a line-item veto — authority that would give him power to cancel specific spending items in budget bills, an administration official said on Sunday.

Federal court secrecy up sharply on Bush’s watch

By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN and JOHN SOLOMON

Despite the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of public trials, nearly all records are being kept secret for more than 5,000 defendants who completed their journey through the federal courts over the last three years. Instances of such secrecy more than doubled from 2003 to 2005.

Army launches criminal probe of Pat Tillman’s death

The Army said Saturday it will launch a criminal investigation into the April 2004 death of Pat Tillman, the former professional football player who was shot to death by fellow soldiers in Afghanistan in what previous Army reviews had concluded was an accidental shooting.

A Band-Aid fix that makes things worse

By DALE McFEATTERS

Perversely, the Guantanamo Bay detainees may be worse off under a new law designed to protect them from abusive treatment.

The McCain amendment to the Detainee Treatment Act quite rightly restates the longstanding American prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. In short, we don’t torture.

But that same law limits the detainees’ access to U.S. courts. They may challenge their enemy combatant status and appeal the verdicts of military tribunals but they may not seek habeas corpus or protest their treatment.

Education Department bent rules to award grants

By BEN FELLER

The Education Department bent the rules to award grants worth millions of dollars to hand-picked applicants in 2001 and 2002, congressional investigators have found. The moves were not characterized as illegal and no corrective action was required.