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Report Repercussions?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Report Repercussions?

CBS’ so-called document expert, Marcel Matley (search), who said the signatures on those now discredited, Bush National Guard memos appeared to be real, is now complaining that his credibility has been damaged by the independent panel’s report on the CBS story.

Matley accuses the panel of, "professional defamation," insisting their report contains 18 inaccuracies or defamatory statements, including two that say he is not a typography specialist. And two that describe him during interviews as "timid and hostile." Which Matley insists is, "A subjective judgment that is entirely false." Matley, quoted by Editor and Publisher magazine (search) is demanding the panel issue corrections for "all lapses in accuracy."

Presidential Payroll

Another conservative commentator has now been found to have been on the Bush administration’s payroll. Syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher (search) wrote a number of pieces endorsing President Bush’s marriage initiative a few years ago. But she did not mention that she was under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (search), and paid $21,00 to research and write about benefits of marriage.

She now says she should have disclosed that. But says, "It simply never occurred to me." In a column, she apologized to readers, but she says her case is, "very different from that Armstrong Williams," who was paid by the Bush administration specifically to promote one of its initiatives, the No Child Left Behind Act (search). President Bush today said such payments are a mistake.

Protest’s Particulars

Turns out that one of the protestors arrested for disorderly conduct, during President Bush’s inaugural address last week, is a staffer and Senate minority in Harry Reid (search) so-called "war room" that uses media to launch attacks on Republicans. Toward the end of President Bush’s speech, a group of protestors, including war room TV producer Nathan Ackerman, allegedly held up a sheet saying, "No war" and blocked the audience’s view.

They then began arguing with members of the audience. Capitol Police told Ackerman and others to lose the sign, but they refused so they were arrested. Ackerman, quoted by The Hill newspaper, insists he wasn’t doing anything illegal and was acting as an individual, not as a Senate employee.

Paid for Work They Didn’t Do It

The National Taxpayers Union (search) complains that more than two-dozen senators and congressmen were illegally paid for work they didn’t do. By law members of Congress are not to be paid for workdays missed while out campaigning or during other unexcused absences.

The law has been largely un-enforced since 1971, but according to the Taxpayers Union, that does not excuse Congress from doling out more than $310,000 to congressmen and senators for days they missed over the past two years.

John Kerry, by the way, topped the list paid more than $90,000 for 146 days missed. Former Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt came in second. Numerous Republicans members who ran for higher office were on the list as well.

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume