- The Washington Times - Friday, July 27, 2001

Lieberman vs. Bush
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat and former campaign foe of President Bush, said he will meet with staff today to decide whether to issue the first congressional subpoenas against the Bush administration.
"It's the point where we have to start making decisions," Mr. Lieberman said yesterday. "If we want to issue subpoenas before we leave [for the August recess], I've got to start a process."
Mr. Lieberman later scheduled a news conference for today on the matter.
Mr. Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, is investigating the administration's decisions on disposal of mining waste, on regulations concerning arsenic levels in drinking water, and development in national forests.
The administration has turned over many documents, but not all requested by the committee.
"My staff thinks they're setting a standard that is tougher, that is more secretive, than the Clinton administration," he said.
Mr. Lieberman said he is not on a deadline to issue subpoenas for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture and Interior departments.
But he added, "To not do it, I'd have to really see substantial movement."
The former candidate for vice president said politics is not entering into his decision.
"I've got to do what is right," Mr. Lieberman said in an interview. "This is not politically motivated."
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said yesterday he supports Mr. Lieberman's efforts.
"I don't see how anybody could challenge Senator Lieberman's motives here," Mr. Daschle said. "This is not a witch hunt. This is about getting documents that have been unjustly refused to the committee. I think he's exhausted all other options."

Frustrated treaty lovers
"Vladimir Putin yanked the rug out from under Democrats opposed to missile defense," New York Times columnist William Safire writes.
"It happened 'unexpectedly,' as the Russian described it, when Presidents Putin and Bush agreed to work on a new strategic framework to alter or replace the old Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, in tandem with lowering each nation's stockpile of nuclear weapons," Mr. Safire said.
The columnist added: "Because the Democrats cannot appear to be more recalcitrant than the Russians, Senators Joe Biden and Carl Levin [on Wednesday] indicated their willingness to take yes for an answer. Deep down, the treaty-loving pair must be muttering: you can't trust that Putin."

Spell it out
In these interesting times, a congressman wants to make explicit that having sex with the interns is not appropriate.
Last night on CNN, Rep. Scott McInnis also became the latest lawmaker to call for the resignation of Rep. Gary A. Condit.
He said Mr. Condit's affair with former intern Chandra Levy is enough reason for the California Democrat to leave Congress, whether or not Mr. Condit tried to get anyone to file a false affidavit or had anything to do with Miss Levy's disappearance.
"I think it is unethical, frankly, for a congressman to have a relationship — a sexual relationship with an intern," Mr. McInnis said on "Wolf Blitzer Reports."
The Colorado Republican said he plans to seek an explicit change in the House ethics codes, which now merely state that members should conduct themselves in an honorable fashion.
"I intend tomorrow to go to the ethics committee and ask the ethics committee to immediately draft a rule to be adopted by the House of Representatives that makes it very clear that [it is] unethical for a United States congressman to have a sexual relationship with an intern," he said.
Mr. McInnis also said he was considering filing an ethics complaint against Mark Dayton, Mr. Condit's chief of staff, for denying the affair for several weeks after Miss Levy disappeared and possibly for urging other witnesses not to cooperate with authorities.

Bush's compromise
President Bush told two senators yesterday he was willing to modify his faith-based initiative to ensure that participating groups obey anti-discrimination laws.
The House of Representatives last week passed the bill, a cornerstone of Mr. Bush's "compassionate conservative" agenda, but it faces an uphill climb in the Senate, where opponents argue it would violate the separation of church and state and permit federally funded discrimination in charitable efforts.
The bill would boost support for religious charities by making them eligible for more federal grants and by expanding tax deductions fordonations.
The senators, Democrat Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and Republican Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, said Mr. Bush was open to changing part of the House bill that would have allowed religious groups to circumvent local and state laws barring discrimination in their hiring .
"I believe that we should take out of the Senate bill the language in the House bill that seems to override any anti-discrimination statutes adopted by state and local governments," Mr. Lieberman told reporters after meeting Mr. Bush.
"I mentioned it and he expressed a total openness to consider the removal of that provision in the Senate legislation," Mr. Lieberman added.

Riordan 'exploring'
Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan is moving ahead with plans to seek the 2002 Republican nomination for governor of California.
Mr. Riordan has filed papers that allow him to begin collecting funds for a gubernatorial race, and he has announced a statewide "exploratory tour."
"California is in great need of strong leadership, something that the current governor has been unable to provide," Mr. Riordan said in astatement. "I want to take time to talk with the people of California about the issues, their hopes for their families and their future before I decide how to best serve the state."
Mr. Riordan said that in the coming weeks he plans to visit San Diego, Sacramento, the Central Valley and elsewhere to meet with Republican leaders and volunteers and "get the pulse of the state."
David Gould, his campaign treasurer, told the Los Angeles Times: "He is traveling the state at the moment, asking people for donations along the way."
Mr. Riordan, a liberal Republican whose candidacy has been encouraged by the White House and several Republican California members of Congress, would first have to defeat Secretary of State Bill Jones and philanthropist William Simon in the Republican primary before taking on Democratic incumbent Gray Davis.

Poodle politics
Cocoa Fernandez is registered to vote in West Palm Beach, Fla. Problem is, Cocoa is a poodle.
Palm Beach County Election Supervisor Theresa LePore contends criminal activity got the pooch on Palm Beach County's voter rolls July 11.
Miss LePore told the Associated Press she asked the State's Attorney's Office to investigate whether Cocoa's owner, Wendy Albert, or someone else fraudulently filled out an election card to embarrass the election supervisor's office.
A felony fraud charge would carry a maximum five-year prison term and a $5,000 fine.
Miss LePore said Miss Albert's address appears on Cocoa's election card. But Miss Albert, a retiree living in Lake Worth, denies wrongdoing.
"It's kind of scary with all the problems we've had in Palm Beach County," said Miss Albert, 62. "Even a dog can vote."
Miss LePore says voters are asked for picture identification at polling places before casting ballots. Absentee ballots, however, can be cast without any verification of identity.
Palm Beach County was home to the "butterfly" ballot, which Democrats claimed was so confusing it cost former Vice President Al Gore hundreds of votes in last year's presidential election.
No word on whether Cocoa the poodle registered as a Democrat or Republican.

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