Saturday, May 27, 2006

New Speaker of the House Not Under Investigation?

Hastert, Justice Dept. Dispute Inquiry Story
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 26, 2006; Page A06

ABC News says federal investigators have put House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) "in the mix" of their corruption probe centering on convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty says the ABC report involving Hastert -- even the "in the mix" language -- is "untrue."

And Hastert, calling the story "absolutely" wrong, is demanding a retraction.

Who's right?

It is highly unusual for the Justice Department to confirm or deny that someone is under investigation. Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said that federal guidelines allow such statements in cases receiving "substantial publicity" and that the decision was based on the guidelines "combined with the inaccuracy of the information."

Brian Ross, ABC's chief investigative correspondent, said in an interview: "I think our story is accurate. We've gone back to our sources, and they believe what we reported was accurate as they knew it. There seems to be some disconnect between what the congressman thinks, what the Justice Department thinks and what the FBI thinks. . . . There may be a semantics issue here as to what constitutes being under investigation."


Semantics? Oh, so its more of a potato/potahto, invade/deliver democracy sort of thing?