Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The nephew of Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha has received $4 million in Defense Department contracts all awarded without competition. The Washington Post reports Robert Murtha Jr., who owns Murtech, says his company provides what he calls "necessary logistical support" to Pentagon testing programs.
He says it is "unfortunate" that some will assume his company received federal contracts because of his uncle's influence. Congressman Murtha has sway over Pentagon spending as chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
But sources close to the congressman say he has had no substantial contact with his nephew for at least three years, and has not weighed in on any contract decisions for his company. But this is just one of many eyebrow-raising controversies that have engulfed Murtha in recent years.
Air Farce One
Photos of an Air Force One backup jet flying over New York City will not be released to the public, despite costing almost $330,000 of your taxpayer dollars. A White House aide tells the New York Post: "We have no plans to release them."
Last week's flight, which was described as a training mission and photo opportunity, caused panic among some New Yorkers as it brought back memories of the September 11 attacks. New York City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. says: "The photos are classified — that's ridiculous." Wall Street trader Frank Antonelli adds: "So we're not gonna see the fruits of this cruel joke?"
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs side-stepped the question today saying he will look into it. The New York Post report comes after the FOX News Channel requested the photos through the Freedom of Information Act.
In the Money
Former President George W. Bush is off to a big start for his presidential library. Time magazine reports that $100 million have been raised in just 100 days. A projected $300 million are needed to construct the library at Southern Methodist University, which means organizers are already a third of the way to their target.
The report says Mr. Bush has outpaced his recent predecessors. It took former President Bill Clinton two years to raise the same amount for his library.
And Republican Senator Jim Bunning has lashed out at fellow Kentuckian and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports Bunning said: "He wants to run everybody... under our dynamic leadership of our leader, we have gone from 55 and probably to 40 Senate seats in two election cycles... we will wind up with about 36 after this election cycle. You don't lose... approximately 19 seats in three election cycles with good leadership."
We've reported previously that senior Republicans, including McConnell, are reportedly trying to keep Bunning from running for re-election, because they are worried about his chances.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.
Bret Baier is the Chief Political Anchor of Fox News Channel, and the Anchor & Executive Editor of "Special Report with Bret Baier.” His book, "Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission," (William Morrow) is on sale now.