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The Istook Earmarks

Taxpayers for Common Sense released a list on Tuesday of possible earmarks that were referenced in the charging documents filed against the former chief of staff to retired Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) on Monday as the most recent guilty plea in the ongoing investigation of jailed GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The recipients of these member-requested projects were not named in the court filing, so the watchdog group has used the dollar amounts listed in the documents to guide their search of the transportation spending bill from 2004 that Istook managed as an Appropriations Committee cardinal.

The projects include $1.425 million for a road project for the Mississippi band of the Choctaw and two million dollar-plus road projects for the Saginaw Chippewa tribe, both Abramoff clients overseen by Kevin Ring, a former Abramoff deputy at Greenberg Traurig and ex-aide to Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) who is referenced frequently in the charging documents, although not by name. Greenberg Traurig represented each of the entities listed as recipients of this transportation money, and Ring signed all of the disclosure forms.

John C. Albaugh, Istook's former chief of staff, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy for soliciting campaign donations on behalf of his boss and accepting meals and tickets to concerts and sporting events in exchange for legislative favors. The charging documents include numerous references to e-mails and conversations between Ring and the former Istook chief of staff about these transportation projects.

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