Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Florida's Democratic Party has had its assets frozen by the IRS (search) for failing to pay tens of thousands of dollars in Social Security (search) and income taxes. The party owes about $124,000 in back payments and another $78,000 in interest and penalties. (Source: Tallahassee Democrat)
But it only has about $98,000 in its bank account, after losing track of more than $900,000 in donations and other funds. Records show the organization netted nearly $1.2 million the last two years, but somehow ended up with only $269,000 in the bank at the start of this year. The party insists it's an "isolated incident," and wants the IRS to conduct a new audit.
As for paying the debt, the party says, "That's being worked on." And Wednesday, according to the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper, the chairman of the state party drew about $100,000 from the Democratic National Committee to help resolve the problem.
Prisoner Treatment Poll
A new Rasmussen Reports poll out Wednesday shows that only a fifth of Americans say prisoners at Guantanamo Bay (search) are being treated unfairly. The vast majority says prisoners are being treated about right, or better than they deserve. What's more, only 14 percent of Americans say prisoner treatment at Guantanamo Bay is similar to that of the Nazis. 69 percent disagree.
Victims' Firms Not Donating to Fund
The only defense contractors to lose employees in the Pentagon attacks on 9/11 were consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, technology firm BTG, and Verizon Communications, but so far two of them haven't given anything to the Pentagon Memorial Fund, and the third has yet to make a substantial contribution.
According to the DC Examiner newspaper, fundraising efforts have brought in just over a quarter of the $28 million needed to build and maintain the memorial. Verizon says it "respectfully declined" to donate because it's already given millions to various 9/11 charities. BTG says it made a donation "some time ago," but fund documents show it made no donation over $5,000. As for Booz Allen, it insists it will make a "significant" donation in the "relatively near future."
Pledge for Programs
Travis County, Texas, district attorney Ronnie Earle (search), who insists his investigation into a group founded by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (search) is not political, has dropped felony charges against several corporations indicted in the probe — in exchange for helping one of his pet causes.
In September a grand jury in Travis County charged eight corporations with making illegal contributions. But, according to the National Review's Byron York, Earle then agreed to dismiss charges against four of them after they pledged to contribute as much as $100,000 to the University of Texas' School of Public Affairs, where the money would fund programs on corporate influence in American democracy.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report