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Monday, February 23, 2009

Source: Interior Official To Be Oversight Chief

President Obama plans to announce Monday that he wants a former Secret Service agent who helped expose lobbying corruption at the Interior Department to oversee the $787 billion economic stimulus plan, an administration official said Sunday.

Obama is set to name Earl E. Devaney as chairman of the new Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House had not made public the announcement. Vice President Biden also will be given a role coordinating oversight of stimulus spending.

Devaney, the Interior Department's inspector general, helped turn up disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings at the department.

Interior's former deputy secretary, J. Steven Griles, pleaded guilty to charges that he lied during congressional testimony based in part on Devaney's investigation. Italia Federici, co-founder of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, and former Interior official Roger G. Stillwell also pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the Interior investigation.

Obama has pledged that the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board will be an at-large body to oversee how the government spends billions allocated to help the foundering U.S. economy. With dozens of agencies and departments involved, Obama wanted a central group to independently monitor where the funds are going.

Warden Wants Boy, 11, Moved

PITTSBURGH -- A jail warden said that he will ask a judge to move an 11-year-old boy accused of killing his father's pregnant girlfriend to a juvenile detention center because the adult lockup cannot accommodate the boy. The Lawrence County warden, Charles Adamo, said that Jordan Brown of Wampum was being held in a 10-by-8-foot cell in the jail's booking area, where officials check on him every 15 minutes. Jordan was charged Saturday with using his 20-gauge shotgun to kill Kenzie Marie Houk, 26. Adamo said that even letting the boy shower would require locking down a cellblock, most of which hold as many as 63 inmates.

California GOP Reprimands 6

SACRAMENTO -- The California Republican Party will deny party funding for the 2010 election to six GOP lawmakers who voted for the largest tax increase in state history, delegates to the party's convention decided. Three lawmakers each from the Senate and Assembly broke ranks last week to give Democrats and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) the necessary votes to pass a compromise budget solution to the state's $42 billion shortfall. Supporters say the resolution sends a strong message to politicians that there will be consequences for breaking their no-tax pledge.

Swarthmore Names President

SWARTHMORE, Pa. -- Swarthmore College has named Rebecca S. Chopp its new president, making her the first woman to hold the position in the 145-year history of the elite liberal arts school. Chopp has been president of Colgate University since 2002, and she succeeds Alfred H. Bloom, Swarthmore's president since 1991.

-- From News Services

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