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Democratic Hearing

Democratic Senators will hold a hearing today to investigate alleged contracting abuses in the reconstruction of Iraq. It will be the second in a series of oversight hearings the party is conducting to examine White House action in forming policy. [IMGCAP(1)]

Two former Coalition Provisional Authority employees will testify at the hearing, but former CPA head Paul Bremer declined an invitation, the Democratic Policy Committee said in a statement. Democrats complain Republicans have failed to use their majority status to provide proper oversight of the administration.

Democratic leaders do not have the ability to compel witnesses to testify, but said they hope these hearings will help shed a light on the executive branch. Last month, the Democrats held a hearing on President Bush’s proposal to privatize a portion of Social Security.

Loo’s Status. Thomas Loo, a former senior aide accused of attempting to steal a plasma television set from the Rayburn House Office Building, entered a plea of not guilty at a pre-trial hearing in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday.

Loo, 47, who is charged with second degree theft, will go before Judge Gregory Jackson for a status hearing March 4.

The Bethesda, Md., resident, who served as the House Small Business Committee’s chief economist, allegedly attempted to steal a plasma television set, valued at more than $4,000, from a Financial Services Committee hearing room on Dec. 16. He resigned from the committee the next day.

The veteran aide spent nine years as a senior economist for the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and served on the House Budget Committee before going to Small Business.

Loo began his work on Capitol Hill in 1992 at the Congressional Budget Office.

— Mark Preston and John McArdle

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