- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 14, 2005

Bolton on hold

A Senate committee delayed until next week a vote on John R. Bolton to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations after Democrats asked for more time.

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee want to question State Department officials in writing, said Andy Fisher, spokesman for the committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican. Committee Democrats strongly oppose the nomination of Mr. Bolton, who is now undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

Putting off a vote that had been tentatively planned for today gives Democrats more time to try persuading a liberal Republican, Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, to defect to their side, the Associated Press reports. Mr. Chafee has said he is inclined to vote for Mr. Bolton, but has not said he definitely would support confirmation.

All in the family

Rep. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats, used campaign donations to pay his wife and stepdaughter more than $150,000 for campaign-related work since 2000, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Jane O’Meara Sanders, his wife, received $91,020 between 2002 and 2004 for consultation and for negotiating the purchase of television and radio time slots for Mr. Sanders’ advertisements, according to records and interviews.

Approximately $61,000 of that was “pass-through” money that was used to pay media outlets for advertising time, Mrs. Sanders said in an interview with Evan Lehmann of the MediaNews Group Washington Bureau, whose report appeared in yesterday’s Bennington (Vt.) Banner. The rest, about $30,000, she kept as payment for her services, she said.

Carina Driscoll, daughter to Mrs. O’Meara Sanders and stepdaughter to the lawmaker, earned $65,002 in wages between 2000 and 2004, campaign records show.

Mrs. Driscoll, a former state legislator, served as Mr. Sanders’ campaign manager in 2000, his fundraiser and office manager in 2003 and his database manager in 2004, according to Jeff Weaver, Mr. Sanders’ chief of staff.

“Both of them are regarded as people who are knowledgeable about Vermont politics,” Mr. Weaver said Tuesday. “They earned every penny they got.”

No laws prohibit candidates from paying family members for campaign work, but a New York Times report last week suggested that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had done something scandalous by paying his wife and daughter for political duties.

Jim Barrett, chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, remarked, “It’s the standard hypocrisy from the left. When a Republican does it, it’s inappropriate and front-page news. But now it turns out, our own Bernie Sanders has been doing it for a long time.”

Democrats’ critique

House and Senate Democratic leaders yesterday charged that the Republican majority in Congress is arrogant and out of control.

From changing House ethics committee rules to threatening to limit use of the Senate filibuster, the Republican majority “doesn’t want to play by the rules,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. “In fact, this Republican majority wants to be above the law.”

“This is an arrogance and abuse of power,”said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat. “We need responsible Republicans to rise up against the radical Republicans who are trying to change our institution.”

Republicans dismissed the accusations.

“The Democrats have threatened to shut down the Senate if they don’t get their way. That’s true arrogance,” said Bob Stevenson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican.

When asked about Democrats who have gone on trips paid for by outside groups and put relatives on their campaign payrolls — actions taken by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay that are permitted by congressional rules, but which Democrats and liberal newspapers suggest are unethical in his case — Mrs. Pelosi said Mr. DeLay has “a pattern of unethical behavior,” and, since he is a leader, “he has a higher responsibility” to make sure he is following the rules.

Mrs. Pelosi also dismissed a press release from the National Republican Congressional Committee highlighting news reports of her own supposed ethical missteps.

“The issue here is the ethical fitness of Tom DeLay,” she said.

Caught on tape

“For the first time since Jon Corzine — bored with Washington after just four years in the U.S. Senate — tossed his prodigious bankbook into the race, Republicans are starting to believe that they have a real shot in November’s New Jersey gubernatorial election,” New York Post columnist Eric Fettmann writes.

“That’s because of the explosive tape recordings that have rocked New Jersey after being released just days ago over the opposition of Democratic state Attorney General Peter Harvey, who sat on them for more than two years and spent several weeks fighting their release,” Mr. Fettmann said.

“In the end, 75 minutes’ worth were made public. Harvey still has 300 hours more he wants to keep secret.

George Norcross, premier Democratic power broker of south Jersey, is heard boasting back in 2001 about his influence and wheeling-dealing, telling how he got one legislator to vote his way by threatening to physically emasculate him and, in general, providing what one Republican called ‘an up-close and personal look at how corruption works on a daily basis in New Jersey.’ …

“This is what Norcross had to say about Corzine, who faces only token opposition in the June 7 [Democratic] primary: ‘Yesterday morning I’m up in Summit in Jon Corzine’s home having breakfast and I talk to the guy once a week.’

“Referring also to the state’s then-governor, Norcross added: ‘In the end, the McGreeveys, the Corzines — they’re all gonna be with me because they have no choice.’

“That’s a sound bite you’ll certainly be hearing on GOP campaign commercials from now until November,” Mr. Fettmann said.

Suddenly a sage

“Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich criticized House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Tuesday and, surely by coincidence, CBS News suddenly treated Gingrich — whose views critical of liberals haven’t interested CBS — as a wise sage with incisive comments worthy of touting on ‘The CBS Evening News,’” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Anchor Bob Schieffer noted that DeLay, ‘who’s been under fire on ethical questions,’ got ‘some criticism today from a new quarter.’ Schieffer then trumpeted how, ‘in an exclusive interview with our Gloria Borger, Gingrich said it’s time for DeLay to stop blaming a left-wing conspiracy and to lay out his case for the American people to judge.’ Borger cued up Gingrich to shoot down a DeLay claim: ‘He’s said that this is the liberal media going after him.’ Gingrich characterized that as ‘the famous Hillary Clinton defense.’”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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