- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Awaiting 2072

It looks like your nosy neighbors will be allowed to read what vital statistics and other "confidential" information you disclosed on your 2000 Census forms after all.

Presuming they're still alive 72 years from now, that is.

Scanned images of individual responses to the 2000 Census both short and long questionnaire forms sent to each household by the Census Bureau will be made public, it turns out. But not until 2072.

In other words, not before you and your neighbors, barring a miracle cure for mortality, are pushing up daisies.

In 2010, we're told, the Census Bureau will transfer scanned files of the questionnaires to the National Archives and Records Administration, which currently houses microfilmed copies of census records from 1790 through 1920, all of which are available for public viewing.

The 1930 census records, on the other hand, are off limits until April 1, 2002.

Archives explains that census forms are among the most important records used by genealogists, family historians and other researchers interested in America's social and demographic history.

Ballot bias

More now on that electronic voting booth that has been installed at the Newseum, within which visitors young and old alike are encouraged to vote for one of three presidential candidates identified only as Bush, Gore and McReynolds, without party affiliation.

The tally thus far: Bush 13,028, Gore 11,099, McReynolds 1,954.

Now, Inside the Beltway readers are weighing in, primarily on two points. First, none of the other presidential candidates Ralph Nader of the Green Party, Harry Browne of the Libertarian Party, or Pat Buchanan of the Reform Party, to name three made the Newseum's ballot cut.

Not very fair, figuring the Newseum touts itself as nonpartisan and dedicated to free press and free speech.

Second, as reader Bill LaForme points out: "McReynolds is the Socialist Party nominee, first name David.

"Figures. It's crazy they'd pick him for the third option, he's more of a 7th or 8th party figure than a third-party candidate. You'd figure the Newseum would have more of a clue about campaign 2000. Some ultra far-left staffer must have been trying to slip in a plug for his candidate."

George to George

When it comes to keeping money and politics apart, Jeffrey Birnbaum says no politician has ever been pure not even George Washington, who was accused of trying to buy votes with free booze.

Mr. Birnbaum, Washington bureau chief of Fortune magazine and former White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, has just published a new book, "The Money Men: The Real Story of Fund-raising's Influence on Political Power in America" (Crown, $25.95).

Or, as the author calls it, the "intricate mating dance" between solicitors and givers.

And despite the calls for campaign-finance reform, Mr. Birnbaum argues that "political fund-raising is spiraling upward, with no end in sight. Everywhere you turn in Washington and increasingly in the states, new, inventive ways are being devised and plumbed to channel more dollars to more and more politicians. And politicians are always finding a new way to shake the money tree."

Mr. Birnbaum devotes an entire chapter eavesdropping on top Republican fund-raiser Peter Terpeluk of Chevy Chase as he spends an entire day working the phones on behalf of Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush.

And like thousands of other Americans in this particular election, it's not just getting his favorite candidate into the Oval Office that has Mr. Terpeluk working the phones. It's something more personal, namely restoring dignity to the White House.

"He didn't just dislike Bill Clinton," the author writes of Mr. Terpeluk. "He reveled in his impeachment. He watched the proceedings like others watch World Series games, rooting loudly for impeachment and then conviction. He stuck the biggest CLINTON IMPEACHED headline he could find on his refrigerator door."

History lesson

Speaking of campaign giving, President Clinton might have utilized the Lincoln Bedroom for check-writing purposes, but as he himself reminded the citizenry yesterday: "And for those of you who don't know, basically, Abraham Lincoln, in what is now the Lincoln Bedroom, signed the Emancipation Proclamation in September of 1862."

Uh oh

"Columist."

How Republican presidential hopeful George W. Bush's scheduling office spelled columnist not once, but twice in a letter addressed to Inside the Beltway.

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