- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2009


Governor reviews hiring of Burris II

SPRINGFIELD | Gov. Pat Quinn is reviewing how the son of embattled Sen. Roland W. Burris got a state job as a housing-agency lawyer under ousted Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s administration, just weeks after he landed in tax and foreclosure trouble.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported in Thursday editions that the September hiring of Roland Burris II as senior counsel for the Illinois Housing Development Authority came six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped him with a $34,163 tax lien and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure lawsuit on his Chicago home.

Mr. Quinn said Thursday that his office is reviewing how Mr. Burris’ son got the job to “make sure everything is right and proper.”

“I think the matter deserves serious review, and quickly,” he said.

Mr. Quinn noted that the housing authority makes its own hiring decisions, but he said he might have some recommendations to make after looking into the issue. The Housing Authority oversees mortgage programs for low-income homebuyers and anti-foreclosure initiatives.

Authority spokeswoman Rebecca Boykin told the Sun-Times that Roland Burris II was given the $75,000-a-year job based on his qualifications and in response to a published job posting.


CIA executive gets 3-year sentence

The highest-ranking CIA officer ever convicted of a federal felony was sentenced to more than three years in prison Thursday as part of a bribery and fraud investigation.

Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, who as executive director held the CIA’s No. 3 rank from 2004 to 2006, had asked the judge to spare him jail time, citing his covert work on behalf of the country over two decades at the CIA, including a supervisory stint in Iraq after the Sept. 11 attacks.

But U.S. District Judge James Cacheris sentenced him to the 37 months prosecutors had sought for a scheme they said revealed Foggo as a crass opportunist who wrapped himself in a cloak of patriotism.

Foggo plead guilty to a single count of fraud last year as part of a plea bargain in which prosecutors dropped 27 other counts.


Mule drivers need clearance

EASTON, Pa. | A question has reached the halls of Congress about whether mule drivers at an eastern Pennsylvania historical park need the same federal security clearance as port workers.

Employees who operate a mule-pulled boat at the National Canal Museum in Easton have been told they need Transportation Worker Identification credentials.

A federal anti-terrorism law typically requires the clearance for workers who need unescorted access to secure areas of ports and ships.

Republican Rep. Charlie Dent represents Easton. He asked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at a congressional hearing Wednesday whether the regulations should apply to the crew of the mule-pulled boat. Ms. Napolitano said her department will look into it.


Stanford officer charged with lying

The chief investment officer for an investment company implicated in an purported $8 billion fraud was charged Thursday with lying to authorities investigating financier R. Allen Stanford.

Laura Pendergest-Holt, the chief investment officer of Houston-based Stanford Financial Group, was arrested by FBI agents in Houston.

According to authorities, Ms. Pendergest-Holt was coached by other employees of Mr. Stanford before speaking Feb. 10 with investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), contrary to what she later told investigators. She is also accused of lying about how much she knew about some of Mr. Stanford’s business dealings.

Mr. Stanford and his related companies have been charged with fraud in a civil complaint by the SEC. He has been under criminal investigation since June 2008 by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and Postal Inspectors, according to court records.


Stevens’ papers go to university

ANCHORAGE | The extensive papers collected by former Sen. Ted Stevens during his 40-year career will be housed at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

The 85-year-old Stevens was convicted of corruption in October and lost his bid for re-election the following month. Stevens is appealing his conviction. Under an agreement, there will be conditions on the use of his papers.

Researchers won’t be able to examine the papers until five years after Stevens’ death, unless special permission is granted. He is also excluding financial records and personal material like correspondence with family members. His son, Ben Stevens, is a former state Senate president whose legislative offices were among those raided by federal authorities in the ongoing probe of corruption in Alaska politics.

The state will maintain the archives, but the contract between the university and Ted Stevens exempts the archive from Alaska or federal public-records laws. If a judge were to rule these are public records, the agreement specifies the entire collection must be returned to Ted Stevens or his heirs as soon as possible.


Australian leader coming in March

The White House says Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will visit Washington next month.

Officials say Mr. Rudd will meet with President Obama on March 24 to discuss the global financial crisis, the war in Afghanistan and climate change. The leaders also are expected to talk about nuclear nonproliferation issues.

The White House announced the visit Thursday.


Bill would back stem-cell funding

Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, and Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, reintroduced legislation Thursday that would encourage federal funding of human embryonic stem-cell research - a bill vetoed by former President George W. Bush.

President Obama says he supports the research.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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