- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Gore gag

You may have heard about the Clinton administration's "blacklisting rule," which would expand the government's ability to deny federal contracts to companies based on labor, tax, antitrust and environmental records.
The administration is pushing hard for an October implementation of the regulations. Critics say that is to galvanize labor's support for Al Gore in his quest for the White House. Three years ago, Mr. Gore promised the AFL-CIO that the administration would implement the policy change.
Still, contractors of all stripes and even some of the government's own contracting officials oppose the regulations.
Now, an insider informs this column that the administration has issued a gag order prohibiting any government procurement professional from talking about the rule in any way, shape or form.
"Their dissent is being effectively covered up," says the source, "even though they agree with industry that the rule would wreck the government's acquisition system for mere political gain."
The source says the gag order is coming directly from the White House, fingering White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and Josh Gotbaum, Office of Management and Budget executive associate director and controller, as its enforcers.
Both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for Government Procurement, representing 350 corporate members, have been actively challenging the blacklisting rule.
Meanwhile, Rep. Bill Goodling, Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said earlier to make no mistake about the rule's timing.
"The revised regulations show what $35-plus million in campaign cash from organized labor can purchase from this administration," he said. "It has taken Vice President Al Gore three years to deliver on his 1997 promise to the AFL-CIO leadership, and he has delivered just as the campaign for president begins to hit full stride."

Pretty bad

How bad was the Washington Redskins loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night?
"The Redskin-Cowboy game was so bad," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi stopped to tell reporters in the U.S. Capitol yesterday, "that I switched over to Paula Zahn and 'The Edge' and watched her interview George W. Bush."

Back to school

Rick Davis, national campaign manager of Sen. John McCain's failed bid for president, will spend the fall instead in residence at Harvard, chosen for a fellowship at the university's Institute of Politics.
Managing partner at the political consulting firm Davis Manafort, Mr. Davis was deputy campaign manager for Bob Dole's presidential campaign in 1996 and has served in numerous other Republican election bids.
We're told he will lead a weekly study group on the media and political campaigns, with a particular focus on presidential campaigns.

Rats and fish

Frank Fahey of Baltimore spent part of Sunday checking out the coupons of his morning newspaper in expectation of his usual Monday shopping.
"As I had read all of the political news that I could stand for one day, what to my wondering eyes should appear but an ad with a coupon attached. It was for 'extra crunchy fish fillets.' The ad also had what appeared to be a political button in red, white and blue. In large letters were 'VOTE GORTON'S.'
"A quick glance at the ad without my glasses looked like an endorsement. This will be my entry for the subliminal message finder."

Last confession

Finally, on a personal note, last Monday we thanked a family of three dentists named McCaslin in Savannah, Ga., for forwarding the family genealogy of John McCaslin, murdered upon arrival in North Carolina in the 1700s, whose son John McCaslin was hanged from an oak tree during the Revolutionary War for being a Tory, whose son John McCaslin smartly headed west and married into the family of the "outlaw James brothers" of Missouri.
If that family history wasn't hard enough to swallow, this letter now arrives from U.S. District Court Judge Eric R. Yost, who presides over the 18th Judicial District of Kansas:
"Do you have any relations in Kansas? In 1998, I presided over the trial of one Reuben J. McCaslin, who was charged with rape and aggravated battery. He was acquitted of the former, but convicted of the latter. His previous criminal history included convictions for possession of a firearm by a minor, burglary, aggravated arson, and battery. I sentenced him to 58 months in prison, and he is appealing (in the legal sense).
"If you are related to this McCaslin, don't feel bad. My great grandfather, on his death bed, admitted to having lynched a man out of revenge. The lynchee had murdered my great great grandfather, of which there is no doubt, and my great grandfather grew impatient with the legal processes."

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