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Thursday, Jul 31st

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MPs' expenses scandal spreads to the US: Capitol Hill snouts also in the trough?

Politicians spending taxpayers' money to lease a 2008 luxury Lexus hybrid sedan, a digital camera and two 46-inch Sony TVs, a top-of-the-line laptop for use in hostile environments.

Representative Howard Berman - $84,000 worth of personalised calendars, printed by the US Capitol Historical Society, to be sent to his constituents

Representative Alcee Hastings - $24,730 to lease a 2008 luxury Lexus hybrid sedan

Representative Michael Turner - $1,435 for a digital camera

Eni Faleomavaega, House delegate - $2,946 for two 46-inch Sony TVs

Representative William Jefferson - $2,793 for a Panasonic Toughbook laptop

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Senate Rejects Limit on Credit-Card Interest Rates

Despite complaints that banks and credit card companies are gouging customers by charging outrageous interest rates, the Senate on Wednesday easily turned back an effort to cap interest rates at 15 percent.

The effort by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, drew only 33 votes and needed 60, with a bipartisan group of 60 senators opposing it as the Senate pushed its credit card overhaul toward the finish line. Some Democrats and consumer groups have said that an interest cap is needed to put real teeth into an otherwise solid bill.

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Democrats were routinely briefed on Bush ‘torture’ techniques, document shows

The CIA has released a devastating document detailing the dates and explicit details of secret Congressional briefings in which members of Congress were told of the Bush administration’s torture techniques and when they had been used.

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ntelligence Report: Pelosi Briefed on Use of Interrogation Tactics in Sept. ’02

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah in September 2002, according to a report prepared by the Director of National Intelligence’s office and obtained by ABC News.

The report, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Capitol Hill officials Wednesday, appears to contradict Pelosi’s statement last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special interrogation tactics.

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SIBEL EDMONDS: In Congress We Trust...Not

The former FBI translator and whistleblower suggests blackmail may be at the heart of Congressional refusal to bring accountability and oversight to its own members - such as both Hastert and Harman - in matters of espionage and national security.

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Top Senate Democrat: bankers "own" the U.S. Congress

Sen. Dick Durbin, on a local Chicago radio station this week, blurted out an obvious truth about Congress that, despite being blindingly obvious, is rarely spoken:  "And the banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place."  The blunt acknowledgment that the same banks that caused the financial crisis "own" the U.S. Congress -- according to one of that institution's most powerful members -- demonstrates just how extreme this institutional corruption is.

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CIA ‘Whistleblower’ Told Hastert About Suppression of Harman Wiretap

Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert says he learned from a CIA-connected “whistleblower” in 2006 that Bush administration officials were suppressing the existence of a wiretapped conversation between Rep. Jane Harman and a suspected Israeli agent.

John D. Negroponte, former head of the then newly established Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), had blocked then CIA Director Porter J. Goss from briefing Hastert, according to the account the whistleblower gave the former Republican House speaker.

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