A prominent fund-raiser for Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been charged with fraud and attempted extortion, prosecutors said on Wednesday. Antoin Rezko, 51, a real estate developer and restaurant owner who lives in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, Illinois, was named in two separate grand jury indictments unsealed by U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald. Rezko was charged with 24 counts, including fraud and attempted extortion, for demanding millions of dollars in kickbacks from investment firms and a construction company vying to build a hospital.
For planning purposes, the Army is gearing up to keep current troop levels in Iraq for another four years, a new indication that conditions there are too unstable to foresee an end to the war. Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, cautioned against reading too much into the planning, which is done far in advance to prepare the right mix of combat units for expected deployments. He noted that it is easier to scale back later if conditions allow, than to ramp up if they don't.
The man who recently departed as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ordered his staff to help with his nephew's high school homework, wasting the agency's time and violating ethics rules, an inquiry found Wednesday. The nephew's project _ a documentary about the ATF that took 10 months to complete _ was one of a half-dozen examples of lapses in judgment Carl J. Truscott committed before he resigned in August, says the report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.
Pew Hispanic Center director Robert Suro compared current Latino demographic trends to his teenage son. It is growing in many directions and "getting bigger and getting different at the same time." Suro was addressing hundreds of participants attending the youth-focused Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute issues conference here earlier this month. Three days stoked with strategy sessions, fancy meals and plenty of laughs helped set a national Latino agenda.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show. In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.
That stench that makes you want to puke is coming out of a political sewer called Washington - a place littered with the rotting corpses of American idealism and drowning in the blood from a wounded and dying republic.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office may have learned of ex-Rep. Mark Foley's inappropriate conduct toward male pages in 2002, 2003 or 2005, depending on who is telling the story. This week, the House's internal investigators are starting to sort it all out. Kirk Fordham, Foley's one-time chief of staff, is scheduled for questioning Thursday before a House ethics committee investigative panel. He said he notified Hastert chief of staff Scott Palmer in 2002 or 2003 about Foley's inappropriate conduct, and that he subsequently learned that Palmer met with Foley.
President George W. Bush and Republicans are sinking under the weight of the Iraq war and the Capitol Hill sex scandal, according to a flurry of polls, endangering their control of Congress in the November 7 elections. Democrats hold a growing advantage heading into the final four weeks of the campaign, with analysts moving more Republican-held seats into the high-risk category and improving the odds of Democrats seizing control of at least the House of Representatives.
Now that so many supporters of the Iraq war have moved beyond denial, anger, bargaining and depression, and accepted the fact that the war is being lost, the elaborate dance preceding the withdrawal of American troops has begun.
For decades, America's elected public servants have paid great lip service to the grand political principle of hearing and heeding the vox populi. And for decades, America's politicians had little trouble doing this. Because in election after election, the voice of the people has been loud and clear: "Please lie to me!"