Some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Web of Entanglement
Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, reportedly steered almost $80,000 dollars in campaign cash to his son's Internet company for a pair of Web sites between 2004 and 2007. The Politico newspaper reports an expert says one of the sites should have cost no more than $100 to create.
Rangel paid more than any other House member, during that election cycle, for Web sites. He is currently the subject of a House Ethics Committee probe for his failure to pay taxes on rental income and his alleged use of House stationary to solicit contributions for a public policy center bearing his name.
Alaska Democrat Mark Begich defeated long-time Senator Ted Stevens just days after the Republican's corruption conviction. But Begich now tells the Politico, putting Stevens behind bars would be wrong: "I think for an 85-year-old man to serve time in jail, that's not an appropriate thing to do. There are some real bad characters in there."
Stevens, who was convicted in October of making false statements on his financial disclosure form, requested a new trial Friday, asserting misconduct by government prosecutors and at least one juror.
An official for the Obama transition says the president-elect's chief speechwriter has offered an apology to Hillary Clinton.
The Washington Post reports photos of Jon Favreau appeared briefly on the Web site Facebook. One shows him groping a cardboard cutout of the secretary of state-designate while a friend is offering her a beer. Another has Favreau dancing with a cutout.
A spokesman says Clinton is pleased to learn of Favreau's "obvious interest" in the State Department.
Politicians in New South Wales, Australia could face breathalyzer tests before voting on legislation. The proposal follows several incidents involving alcohol.
One lawmaker resigned this week after shoving a female colleague following a Christmas party. And a police minister was removed in September for allegedly performing a striptease after an office party.
Australia Green Party Member John Kaye was quoted in the Daily Telegraph saying, "If you are going to have breathalyzers for people driving cranes, you should have breathalyzers for people writing laws."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.