- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Three amigos

Bradley A. Smith, the controversial Ohio law professor who advocates repealing a law governing campaign contributions, will be sworn in as the newest member of the Federal Election Commission in a ceremony this Monday at the libertarian Cato Institute.

And what a ceremony it will be, we're told.

The event will feature remarks by Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who not only recruited Mr. Smith, but led last year's successful opposition to the ban on "soft money" campaign contributions.

And if that's not enough to welcome Mr. Smith to Washington, the federal judge handling the swearing in will be none other than Judge James L. Buckley, of Buckley vs. Valeo fame.

Among other things, it was the 1976 Supreme Court decision in Buckley vs. Valeo that restricted individual contributions to $1,000 per candidate.

"Smith, McConnell, Buckley what would the campaign-finance reform crowd make of that triumvirate?" Cato public-affairs director Randy Clerihue tells Inside the Beltway.

Quote of the week

"I stood on this floor once before and I said, 'White men speak with a forked tongue.' Why should you do this?"

Democratic Rep. Carrie P. Meek of Florida, who is black, during debate in the House on whether an extra $22 million in funding should, as she wanted, go to the National Endowment for the Arts, or to health care for American Indians, as the Republicans accomplished.

Future minority leader

House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas is trying to scare the money out of Republican pockets by delivering fictional newspapers to prospective donors' doorsteps.

Dated Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2000, the paper's stories and headlines read: "Dems Capture House and Senate: 'Liberals Just Seemed to Want It More,' says Armey," and "New Liberal Agenda Unveiled: Democrats Say They Intend To 'Undo' What Was Done By Republicans."

Not all is lost in Mr. Armey's crystal ball, however. Texas Gov. George W. Bush wins the White House, or so one reads in this fictitious lead paragraph:

"In a stunning reversal, Democrats regained control of the House and Senate last night after a six-year Republican Party reign. In a reversal of roles, Republicans took control of the White House and lost their majorities in both Congress and the Senate."

Mr. Armey warns: Don't laugh at his phony paper.

"It could happen," he says. "As a matter of fact, many political pundits are now predicting we will lose the House majority in 2000."

Orphans of communism

The sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the only Americans ever executed for spying, are supporting Cuban President Fidel Castro's efforts to retrieve 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez.

Or so Cuban state television read in a statement it says came from Robert and Michael Meeropol, both residents of Massachusetts.

Neither man could be reached by this column yesterday.

Read in Spanish on the 47th anniversary of the Rosenbergs' execution on charges of stealing atom-bomb secrets for the now-defunct Soviet Union, the statement recalled how the boys were orphaned on June 19, 1953.

"We salute your fight for Elian," said the statement, read at the site of a downtown Havana memorial to the Rosenbergs. "We anxiously await the return of Elian and his father to Cuba, which is where they belong."

Glamour girl

Yes, that will be former USO entertainer Connie Stevens, who entertained shiploads of U.S. troops in Korea and elsewhere, singing "God Bless America" during the Korean War commemoration in Washington on Sunday.

On Saturday, we're told, Miss Stevens and a few of her friends including a U.S. military general or two have dinner reservations in the Sky Room, the rooftop restaurant atop the historic Hotel Washington.

From her table, which overlooks Washington's many monuments and the Mall, she'll be able to see where she will perform on Sunday afternoon.

The hotel's general manager, Wally Harb, says he's created a special celebratory menu, topped off with a red-white-and-blue patriotic dessert.

Every dollar counts

When an enterprising columnist failed to get fellow hotel guest and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's autograph to auction off at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' annual scholarship banquet at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, he turned and bumped into entertainer Connie Stevens, who gladly signed the sheet of paper.

High bid: $10.

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