- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2000

FOIA on Gore

Writing earlier about faulty toilets in a Tennessee home Al Gore rented to a family on disability, we noted inquiring minds at the Competitive Enterprise Institute were being stonewalled by Navy officials responsible for upkeep of the vice president's mansion.
Among questions raised under the CEI's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was whether Mr. Gore, the country's pre-eminent environmentalist, burdens his own brood with the inefficient, low-flow, double-flush mode of commodes his policy friends have imposed upon the masses.
Institute counsel and adjunct Christopher C. Horner began to wonder after viewing the "pathetic scene of Vice President Gore's tenant staring forlornly into his commode."
Now we learn that Mr. Gore has opened his door under the FOIA, but only partially.
"We have discovered major improvements indeed made by the Navy to the vice president's residence," Mr. Horner says. "Not what one might expect, given his incessant wind-baggery."
Referring to the vice president's best-selling tome "Earth in the Balance," in which Mr. Gore writes that "each of us must take a greater personal responsibility for this deteriorating global environment …
"On a personal level, this has meant re-examining my relationship to the environment in large and small ways everything from … keeping a careful eye on our household's use of electricity, water, and, indeed, every kind of resource and recognizing my own hypocrisy when I use CFCs [chlorofluorocarbons] in my automobile air conditioner, for example, on the way to a speech about why they should be banned."
Yet as Mr. Gore encourages Americans "to recycle or buy energy-efficient products," the CEI finds that items of which the vice president pontificates low-flush toilets, double-pane windows, upgraded appliances and insulation, etc. appear nowhere in Mr. Gore's work orders or maintenance records.
"He did find time, however, to thrice 'maintain pool and spa' and repair a pool leak, repair the helipad a couple of times, and numerous occasions of tree removal," says Mr. Horner. "And, of course, those demons, they sprayed pesticides."
No answer yet, he adds, "on our inquiry as to whether he takes his recycling to the curb. Seriously. They don't seem to want to answer that one."

Gray suit

This column revealed last week that in the previous election cycle, Big Labor spent an estimated $500 million in "soft money" expenditures and electioneering, much of it collected from more than 12 million American workers required to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
As a result, the Washington-based National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation planted itself at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles this week to discuss its own election-year campaign of assisting workers whose union dues wind up in politicians' pockets.
Now, just as the Democratic convention reaches full throttle, University of California employees have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against California Gov. Gray Davis, the board of regents, and two secretive unions for forcing more than 14,000 employees to pay union dues for politics.
The civil rights lawsuit seeks an injunction against the enforcement of a law recently signed by Mr. Davis requiring university employees to pay a total of $5.6 million in union dues annually.
"Gray Davis is ripping off millions of dollars … and pouring it into Big Labor's political slush fund," says the foundation's Stefan Gleason, who assisted with the suit. "This campaign funding scheme is an outrage."

Let loose the hounds

We don't normally run personal ads in this space, but there's always room for an exception. From the countryside of Woodford, Va., this gentleman speaks for himself:
"SWM Tory Episcopalian, native Virginian, former choir boy, VMI graduate, former Air Force officer, life member of the NRA, direct descendent of Army of Northern Virginia private, law grad lobbyist, 51, full head of hair and testosterone, no alimony, no child support, no sexually transmitted diseases, purposeful cigar smoker and bourbon drinker seeks friend, lover and partner for creative ventures, while sharing historic 450+ acre farm in Virginia. Must be pure, most well presented, engagingly adventurous and philanthropically inclined. No brie eatin'-wine sippin' intellectually impoverished elitists need apply. Photographs encouraged."

Mailbag

Regarding yesterday's list of former members of Congress convicted or pleading guilty to major offenses between 1992 and 1999, Dave Costilow writes: "You missed an opportunity today to note that … the overwhelming majority of criminals in the list were Democrats. How interesting!"
William Hogan, of Lone Tree, Colo., adds: "The moral high ground? The Democrats just cannot credibly claim it, Joe Lieberman or not."
And finally, Owen Jones of Aiken, S.C.: "I've often thought the most interesting survey would be how many members of Congress have been in therapy."

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