Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Embattled House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel has spent nearly $280,000 in legal fees in the last quarter alone. The Politico newspaper reports the New York Democratic congressman's most recent financial disclosure report shows he paid that money to four different law firms. He has spent $928,000 in legal fees over the last year.
Rangel is facing a number of investigations by the House Ethics Committee. They include inquires into whether corporate-sponsored trips he took to the Caribbean complied with House rules and if he inappropriately used his official stationery to raise money for a public center in his name.
There are also questions over his use of four rent-subsidized apartments in New York and his failure to pay taxes on a vacation home in the Dominican Republic. House insiders say the investigations could drag on into next year despite assurances last November by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that they would be completed by the beginning of this year.
Over the Hill?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is said to be at odds with the White House over her selections to fill some key positions at the State Department. In a New York Times article entitled “For Clinton, ’09 Campaign is for Her Turf,” Mark Landler reports: "Mrs. Clinton's candidate to lead the United States agency for international development has been tangled up in a vetting process — and she has failed to get her choices into some plum ambassadorships… The White House recently scuttled Mrs. Clinton's effort to bring Sidney Blumenthal, a journalist and confidant... into the State Department."
Clinton has voiced her frustrations, saying July 16, 2009: "We are six months in and we don't have some positions filled. The process has become cumbersome and lengthy." But she insisted she has not been sidelined: "I broke my elbow not my larynx. I am confident in my relationship with the White House and my personal relationship with President Obama"
And a University of Oregon grad student is asking where are all the conservative professors? Dan Lawton writes in the Christian Science Monitor: "Nearly all my professors are Democrats. Isn't that a problem?"
He said despite millions of dollars invested by the university into a diversity program, there are just two registered Republicans out of 111 staffers across five departments. He says some faculty members have railed against his concerns. One told him: "If you like conservatism you can certainly attend the University of Texas and you can walk past the statue of Jefferson Davis everyday."
Another added: "You think you're so (expletive) cute with your little column. All you want is attention. You're just like Bill O'Reilly."
Lawton says he has received numerous e-mails from students at other schools who spoke of similar experiences.
— 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.