The Washington Times - May 19, 2011, 09:06AM

A DEVELOPER WHO PLEADED GUILTY in connection with a federal investigation into former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson also appears to have given tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions through “straw donors” to former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele and former Rep. Albert Wynn, The Washington Times reports.

Patrick Q. Ricker pleaded guilty in 2009 to providing cash, meals, tickets, trips and sexual services to county officials from 1997 through 2008, according to a plea agreement unsealed Tuesday — the same day Johnson pleaded guilty to soliciting thousands of dollars in bribes during his eight years as county executive.


A GOP PLAN REJECTED IN THE U.S. SENATE on Wednesday would have expedited the issuance of drilling permits to oil companies. Virginia’s lease sale was scheduled for this year but was  delayed until at least 2017 after last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst offshore spill in U.S. history. Many Democrats said the spill was reason for caution. Virginia Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner, both Democrats, voted against the proposal, largely for its failure to ensure the state would receive at least half the revenue from lease sales, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

VIRGINIA DEMOCRAT TIM KAINE said he is not sure whether he has the authority to release documents from his archives as governor that could provide details about his decision to transfer convicted murderer Jens Soering to the custody of German authorities. “I don’t even know whether I have the power or not, but I’m glad to answer anybody’s questions about it,” Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, told The Washington Times at a fundraiser Tuesday night for his campaign to win the seat of Sen. Jim Webb, who is not seeking re-election.

Republicans are pursuing records from Mr. Kaine’s last year as governor that they say could shed light on why he tried to return Soering instead of allowing him to serve a life sentence in a U.S. prison. Drawing attention to the issue could play well for Republicans. Their front-runner in the 2012 Senate race is George Allen, a former U.S. senator and governor who is known for being tough on crime.

D.C.’S OFFICE OF THE CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER has lost its national accreditation because the agency’s chief lacks board certification, weakening the prosecution of criminal cases in court, city officials said. The agency conducts autopsies in homicide cases and urine analyses for suspected drunken drivers, the Washington Examiner reports.

A DOG FOLLOWED AND ATTACKED P.G. COUNTY CHILDREN on a school bus Wednesday morning. Four students from Fort Washington Forest Elementary School were taken to a hospital. Three have been released, a school spokesman said. The bus driver is being hailed as a hero, according to The Washington Post.

MARYLAND GOV. MARTIN O’MALLEY is signing a first-of-its-kind bill today that would require the French rail company SNCF to disclose its role in transporting Holocaust victims to concentration camps, if the company seeks a procurement contract to provide train service in the state, the Associated Press reports. The bill requires any company pursuing a procurement contract to provide MARC commuter rail service to disclose all activity it undertook in transporting people to Nazi death camps during World War II. Keolis Rail Services America, a majority of which is owned by SNCF, won a contract last year to run Virginia’s commuter rail.

A VIRGINIA RESTAURANT OWNER is due in court today related to criminal charges after several women who agreed to be spanked in exchange for financial support complained that he assaulted them, according to the Associated Press. The defendant, Henry Allen Fitzsimmons, 54, owns the oceanside Envy Bar and Grill in Virginia Beach. He faces 11 assault, sexual assault and abduction charges. The women claimed they were beaten with leather straps or a horse riding crop. Prosecutors say Mr. Fitzsimmons employed or supported the women, who entered into agreements that allowed them to be spanked if they broke certain rules. Mr. Fitzsimmons’ attorney says the spankings were consensual.