- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 30, 1999

End-of-year push

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's Senate campaign strategists, who have said they were not pushing to match Hillary Rodham Clinton's $25 million fund-raising goal, now say they are "prepared to match" her "every step of the way."
His "Friends of Giuliani" campaign sent out an e-mail this week urging contributors to act fast before the likely Senate candidates close their books for the year and prepare their reports for the Federal Election Commission.
"This will be the first time that Hillary Clinton has filed any sort of financial report and it will indicate how much money she has raised in preparation for her Senate run," the e-mail says. "It is therefore very important to show that we can remain competitive with the Clinton money machine. We ask that you take this opportunity before December 31st, 1999, to donate to Mayor Giuliani's campaign and help us demonstrate that we are prepared to match Hillary Clinton every step of the way."
The reports are due at the FEC on Jan. 31.

Feud in Illinois

Presidential politics has entered into a Republican feud in Illinois.
Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, wants to restore a law against concealed weapons a law stuck down on a technicality by the state Supreme Court. However, Republican state Sen. James Philips, the Senate president, thinks carrying a concealed weapon should be classified as a misdemeanor, while Mr. Ryan is determined that it be ruled a felony, the New York Times reports.
"Fuming, Mr. Ryan has accused his Republican foes of pursuing a backdoor measure to legalize the carrying of concealed weapons so that, as he put it, 'everybody in the country can walk around with a .45 stuck in their belt under their coat.'
"For his part, Mr. Philip, a former Marine and hunter known as Pate, has contended that he simply wants to protect sportsmen from being prosecuted. He has also characterized Mr. Ryan as a hypocrite, noting that the governor is supporting the presidential candidacy of Gov. George W. Bush of Texas, who signed a bill that allows Texans to carry concealed weapons," reporter Dirk Johnson said.
The Associate Press reports that the Illinois Senate yesterday fell five votes short of the 36 votes needed to pass the so-called Safe Neighborhoods Act, despite Mr. Ryan's previous prediction that he had enough votes to pass it.

Harkin hopping mad

Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, is demanding a Pentagon investigation of reports that security clearances were granted to defense contractor employees with felony records.
In a letter to Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, Mr. Harkin said the practice "defies common sense." He urged Mr. Cohen to take "immediate steps to prevent granting of security clearance to people whose record suggests a high risk to national security," according to the Associated Press.
USA Today reported yesterday that security clearances have been regularly granted to defense-industry employees with long histories of financial problems, drug use, alcoholism, sexual misconduct or criminal activity.
One man was allowed to keep his security clearance despite participating in a scheme to defraud the Navy of $2 million. Another contractor employee granted clearance was still on probation following conviction and imprisonment for bank fraud.
The clearances were approved by administrative judges for the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals. Leon Schachter, the agency's director, said, "It is important to treat people fairly, and we have a system designed to be fair."

A bridge too far

Politics, or at least politicians, apparently never take a holiday: The final hour of the New Year's celebration in Washington will feature speeches by Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, and President Clinton.
Mr. McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, will deliver an address at about 11:25 p.m. honoring Americans who served in the armed forces during the 20th century.
Mr. Clinton will deliver his address just a few minutes before midnight. No word yet on whether he will make any references to building a bridge to the 21st century.

Bauer hits 'hurdles'

Conservative activist Gary Bauer called yesterday for easing restrictions on CIA operatives working to gather information abroad about terrorist groups.
"I don't understand many of the restrictions in place for the CIA," Mr. Bauer said. "They've got the ability to discover in foreign countries what might be planned or what might be happening with certain terrorist groups."
Mr. Bauer pointed to recent arrests of people who crossed into the country carrying terrorist material as evidence that intelligence gathering needs to be strengthened, the Associated Press reports.
"There are a lot of bureaucratic hurdles that the agency had to jump through now that they didn't in the past," Mr. Bauer said, causing "a very bad decline in the morale of the agents and the sense they had to be so careful about how they used informants … that we were missing out of a lot of very important information. There have been a number of embarrassments lately."
Former CIA Director James Woolsey has complained that rules governing how foreigners are used as informants have become overly restrictive, preventing operatives from using human rights violators.
As he opened a two-day campaign swing in Iowa, where caucuses on Jan. 24 launch the presidential nominating season, Mr. Bauer pointed to the border episodes as evidence that intelligence gathering is lacking.
"I think we've got to be more serious about securing our borders," he said.
Mr. Bauer said he spoke with Mr. Woolsey about the issue and shares his concern. "In the last 20 years we've put restrictions on both the CIA and the FBI on what they are allowed to do to counter situations like this."

Feeling lucky?

"Always eager to duck the tough ones in an election year, Congress may get lucky in 2000. It just might avoid a vote on allowing China permanent normal trading relations with the United States, even as Beijing moves to join the World Trade Organization," National Journal reports.
"Lawmakers are unlikely to schedule a vote before they see the fine print of China's protocol of accession, a technical (and politically sensitive) document that has yet to be hammered out with the WTO. Chinese diplomats admit privately that work on the protocol might not be completed until June which wouldn't give Congress enough time (or so Capitol Hill leaders would certainly maintain) to hold the requisite hearings and then vote on permanent trading status in 2000," the magazine said.
"A simple one-year renewal of trading privileges now looks more likely, and it would hand off a hot potato to a new president and a newly elected Congress."

Bush buys Web ads

Texas Gov. George W. Bush's Republican presidential campaign is targeting America Online users with interactive banner ads appearing atop Web pages.
One ad reads: "How much will the Bush tax cut save you?" Clicking on the banner brings a tax calculator to tell users how much they would save under the governor's proposal. The ad also links to Mr. Bush's campaign Web site at www.georgewbush.com.
Clicking on another banner ad brings down information about Mr. Bush's positions on issues, and another link to the campaign Web site.
"A more informed voter is a more motivated citizen," Mr. Bush said. "What better way to provide information quickly and easily to the voters than the Web? I hope voters will log on and learn more about my positive vision for America and where I stand on issues important to them."

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