Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Scare Tactics

House Judiciary Committee member Lamar Smith is lashing out at the Justice Department for what he says is an attempt to mislead Congress. The Texas Republican was responding to a Washington Times article that says at least one Justice Department official appointed by President Obama helped scuttle efforts by career lawyers to pursue legal action against three members of the New Black Panther Party.

The three were accused of intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling station on Election Day last November. The only charge that stood was against the group's leader who was punished for brandishing a deadly weapon.

Congressman Smith says in a statement that career employees were "pressured to drop a case against the president's political allies. That is politicizing justice and it undermines democracy."

A Justice Department official calls the article off-base and accuses the Times of "distorting the decision-making process."

Now Ear This

Another Texas Republican Congressman, outspoken earmark critic Pete Sessions allegedly steered $1.6 million for airship research to a company that had no experience in government contracting or engineering airships. But The Politico newspaper reports the company did employ a lobbyist, a former Sessions aide with a criminal record.

A spokeswoman for Sessions says the project was a worthwhile use of federal funds and could create thousands of jobs in the Dallas area. But the company is based outside Chicago with a second office 300 miles from Dallas in San Antonio. And one of the two men running it says the Dallas address Sessions used in his earmark request is merely the home of one of his close friends.

Although the company acquired the patents for building an airship prototype, public records indicate the only experience its owners' have in the field was attending a 2005 Pentagon conference on the subject.

Paying the Price

And a study commissioned by the British government has found that organically grown food has no health benefits over ordinary food. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reviewed 162 scientific papers published over the last 50 years and concluded there is "no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority."

The study says consumers are paying higher prices for the perceived benefits of organic food. It estimates the global organic market was worth about $48 billion in 2007.

— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.