- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Come back home

Now that thousands of conniving Democrats in several states have finished casting votes for Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain in open GOP primaries, Tipper Gore says it's time for them to once again pay attention and money to her husband, Vice President Al Gore.
On March 7, she notes in a fund-raising letter this week, Democrats in 16 states including California and New York will get the chance to vote in their own Democratic primary or caucus. Seven days later, another 14 contests will be held, and by the end of this month, almost all the Democratic delegates will have been chosen.

Already spent?

Speaking of Vice President Gore and fund raising, word is circulating on Capitol Hill this week that Republican senators are preparing to attach to a forthcoming Democratic amendment a condemnation of the 1996 Al Gore/Maria Hsia/Buddhist temple fund-raising debacle.
Along with the condemnation, the GOP would demand that the Democratic National Committee return nearly $2 million in "dirty" Chinese-laundered money, one Hill aide tells this column.
Certain Democratic senators have already returned money from the same pool, but the DNC for some reason hasn't been as anxious to cough up its share.

Lobbying ethics?

The American League of Lobbyists today will publish an updated code of ethics, but don't expect the new guidelines to stop lobbyists from climbing into the sack with Congress.
"There was a code of ethics before. It's not like they never had one," a consultant who worked on the new code told this column yesterday. "But this is a big deal, 500 members had input in it."
The new code, we're told, addresses such issues as conflict of interest, payments and a reminder to the public about a lobbyist's First Amendment right to petition government.
Ken Feltman, president of the league and a major lobbyist on Capitol Hill, will explain the new code at a National Press Club gathering today. Mr. Feltman, we're told, will soon become president of the International Association of Political Consultants.

Beers on Bubba

While first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's failure to tip a waitress recently attracted fleeting attention, President Clinton's failure to pay a bar bill is on permanent display.
A framed photograph of him with his "legendary" unpaid tab hangs over a bar at the Marine Barracks in Washington. Mr. Clinton signed a tab to buy 17 drinks for officers at their Drum Room club after he was guest of honor at one of the Marines' popular Friday evening parades.
A spokesman for the Marines said because money is never exchanged there, they sent him a bill once or twice after his May 7, 1993, visit, but Mr. Clinton never paid it.
"I can guarantee you we have tried to collect," the spokesman said, before admitting he cannot provide proof of the "legend" often repeated to visitors who stroll through the historic wood-paneled club.
"We're not really looking for the money," he added with a grin. "It's a great piece of history… . We were very honored to have him here. Hopefully, this year he will return as a guest of honor."
Mr. Clinton was the eighth president invited to the club. Their names are engraved on a pewter mug dubbed "the Jefferson Cup," which hangs near the photo of President Clinton and his tab. Thomas Jefferson was the first to belly up to the bronze-topped bar on July 4, 1801.
While the Marines aren't looking for the money owed them, it was our duty to call the White House.
"They did not want or expect him to pay," White House spokesman Jim Kennedy said. "They were thrilled that he was able to stop by."

The Elvis Tree

Move over Cannes, Washington is about to host a film festival.
OK, so what if this month's "2000 Environmental Film Festival" doesn't feature a fly slowly crawling up the naked torso of a woman, like the festival in France. Our festival might actually show a bug crawling up a tree.
In fact, on the occasion of our film festival, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, along with narrator James Whitmore, will screen "Silent Witness: America's Historic Trees," a 57-minute movie examining America through the tales of its historic trees.
Mr. Whitmore will tell the stories of Johnny Appleseed's last living tree, Apollo 14's moon Sycamore, a Comanche marker tree and more.
Descendants of the trees' original caretakers will also appear in the film, presenting stories of tree planters as varied as George Washington and Henry Ford, Chief Joseph and Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart and Elvis Presley.

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