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Special Report

Geithner Is Breaking Obama Rule?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Keep Away

In his first full day on the job Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced new rules designed to limit contact with lobbyists.

But that same day, Geithner chose former Goldman Sac hs advocate Mark Patterson to serve as his chief of staff. Patterson was a registered lobbyist for the financial giant from 2005 to April of last year. The National Journal reports Patterson is one of more than a dozen recent lobbyists in line for important posts in the Obama administration, despite a presidential order severely restricting the role of lobbyists in his administration.

Yes We Can, But…

The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, supports President Obama's plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But it is very critical of the suggestion that the terror suspects be transferred to Colorado's supermax prison — where some of the country's most dangerous criminals are kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day.

Executive director of the ACLU of Colorado, Cathryn Hazouri, says despite the conditions at Guantanamo that included what she called psychological and physical torture, "at least they had two hours of exercise per day and some contact with others, if only by yelling from cell to cell." Hazouri concludes supermax would amount to "simply another form of torture."

Jaded Junket

We told you back in December that some members of the Congressional Black Caucus may have violated House ethics rules during a four-day trip to a luxurious Caribbean resort because of its corporate sponsorship. The Hill newspaper reports transcripts from the November gathering show the corporate presence was clear — with two lawmakers even thanking Citigroup, Pfizer, IBM, and AT&T for their roles in the conference — while standing in front of a backdrop of corporate logos.

One of those lawmakers was New Jersey Democrat Donald Payne. Initially, Payne's office said he was unaware of any corporate sponsors. Payne later said he did not know the "technicalities" of the new ethics rules.

Other lawmakers on that trip included Democratic House Ways and Means committee Chairman Charles Rangel and Michigan Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick.

Fact or Fiction?

And finally, former Clinton White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers writes in Vanity Fair magazine, “Barack Obama is the most famous living person in the history of the world." She continues — though without listing any evidence that "more people know at least something about the new American president than anyone alive, at this point — or any— in the planet's existence."

A slightly-less-famous person — actress Ashley Judd — emceed a pro-choice luncheon here in Washington Tuesday. The Washington Examiner reports that after the crowd booed and hissed during a slide show featuring former President Bush and other anti-abortion politicians, Judd remarked quote, "It's so nice to live in America again."

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