The WSJ reports, “Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall ‘Duke’ Cunningham supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites.” The FBI is “focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services,” which may have been provided at the Watergate Hotel.
Uninvited Guests. Rice and Rumsfeld’s trip to Iraq drew criticism from Iraqi politicians because they feared it might do more harm than good. “We didn’t invite them,” said Kamal Saadi, a Shiite legislator. “It would be more appropriate if they would leave us alone,” said Mahmoud Othman, a senior Kurdish legislator. “Let us solve our problems by ourselves.”
$320 billion: The cost of the war after the expected passage next month of an emergency supplemental spending bill. That total is likely to more than double before the war ends, the Congressional Research Service estimated this week.
Wang Wenyi, the protester who heckled Chinese President Hu Jintao recently at a White House ceremony, explained her actions. “The two national leaders who have the best chance at stopping this were right in front of me,” said Wang. “How could I not speak out at that moment? Hu Jintao needs to hear this, for his own sake, for the sake of Chinese people.”
A lawsuit has been filed against the Bush administration for failing to ensure that poor people were enrolled properly in Medicare’s new prescription drug benefit. The suit charges that Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt failed to make sure that many of the poorest people eligible for the benefit signed up for private insurance plans as Congress had required.
1 in 5. Number of people paying increased out-of-pocket costs under the new Medicare prescription drug program. Many of these beneficiaries are low-income, who had no co-payments for drugs under Medicaid but now pay $1 to $5 per drug.
A National Archives audit of the “25,000 historical documents withdrawn from public access since 1999 found that more than a third did not contain sensitive information justifying classification.” In some cases, the CIA classified “purely unclassified” documents “simply to obscure the removal of other documents they judged to be genuinely sensitive.”
$8.4 billion. Profits for Exxon Mobil in the first quarter of 2006, up more than seven percent from last year.
With skyrocketing gas prices and oil companies reporting record profits, the Senate Finance Committee has announced an investigation into the taxes paid by oil companies. “I want to make sure the oil companies aren’t taking a speed pass by the tax man,” said committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA).
And finally: Homeland Security has lifted its ban on cargo shorts for employees who check cargo and passengers coming into the United States. The workers’ union had pressed for the shorts, “arguing that they are more comfortable.” Restrictions on facial hair and hair color remain in place.