The Note: Oh, Somewhere in This Favored Land the Sun Is Shining Bright

The AFL-CIO's clout here is somewhat unusual for an organization in decline, but the President's allies haven't found a way to combat this particular tactic yet.

Leader DeLay:

The Washington Post's James Grimaldi reports that the Senate Finance Committee, led by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Max Baucus (D-MT), opened an investigation yesterday into the activities of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and non-profit organizations, including paying for overseas trips for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay . The panel is also looking into whether contributions from Indian tribes were used to influence lawmakers. LINK

AP reports that there may be a conflict of interest if the House ethics panel investigates Leader DeLay, as Rep. Lamar Smith helped raise money for TRMPAC. He has not said whether he'd recuse himself. LINK

Roll Call's Jennifer Yachnin reports that House Ethics Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) is looking to expand his panel's outreach, staff, and budget.

Roll Call's Chris Cillizza and Erin Billings write that Democrats are wasting no time in trying to paint DeLay and the GOP as stewarding an era of corruption and special interests in Congress. DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel reportedly vowed to leave no "ethically challenged Republican" unattacked at Tuesday's leadership lunch.

And as such, the DCCC is looking for squeaky-clean candidates "to challenge prominent GOP incumbents who have been tainted by news reports of their allegedly unseemly connection to lobbyists" in 2006, The Hill's Hans Nichols writes. LINK

Bush agenda:

Gridironer Maureen Dowd thinks the confident, easy, wink-y, second-term President's attitude belies ominous Administration policies, like renditions, fake news, and more. LINK

The Senate voted 51-49 yesterday in favor of opening ANWR to oil drilling, giving the measure budget protection rules and keeping opponents of the bill from blocking it by filibuster. LINK; LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Julie Cart and Ralph Vartabedian look at the long-standing battle over ANWR. LINK

The Washington Post's John Mintz reports that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said yesterday he plans to make some changes. LINK

Included: a "disciplined" approach to publicizing information about terror threats, USA Today's Mimi Hall reports. LINK

The President nominated Kevin J. Martin, "one of the Federal Communication Commission's leaders in the crackdown on indecency," to succeed Michael Powell at the FCC yesterday. LINK

Wolfowitz and the World Bank:

Writes Todd S. Purdum in the New York Times: "Mr. Wolfowitz's career has hewed to . . . unshrinking precepts, and in nominating him for the presidency of the World Bank, President Bush simultaneously removed one of the most influential and contentious voices in his war cabinet and rewarded one of his administration's most dogged loyalists with an influential and contentious spot in a wholly new realm." LINK

The Washington Post's Paul Blustein and Peter Baker call President Bush's nomination of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz "an aggressive move to put the administration's stamp on the World Bank," Noting that it surprised many. LINK

We Note that it didn't surprise the Washington Post's Al Kamen, who touted it in yesterday's paper, pre-announcement. That Kamen is very much in the loop.

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