- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 1, 2001

Life goes on

We'd have given anything to see the facial expressions this week of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, and Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Pat Roberts when they opened the handsome leather-bound volume of "My Book on Ethics" by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

You guessed it: Every page of the unauthorized tell-all book is blank.

Copies of the book were hand-delivered this week to the three leading lawmakers by the Citizens' Investigative Commission, a project of the Council of Volunteer Americans.

The commission is calling for an ethics probe of Mrs. Clinton surrounding her three latest maneuvers: the $8 million book deal with Simon & Schuster, her receiving over $190,000 in gifts before exiting the White House on Jan. 20, and her role in her husband's 11th-hour pardons of fugitive tax cheat Marc Rich and four convicted embezzlers in her chosen state of New York.

Flexing with Teddy

It's no wonder Democrats are flexing all the muscle they can muster on Capitol Hill. If they don't get into shape soon, the Republicans will be kicking sand in their face.

Consider this political trivia:

• Besides the new Republican majority in Washington, for the first time in more than half a century, the Republican Party controls a majority of state executive and legislative branches of government.

• Since the 1990 census and the 1992 congressional redistricting and reapportionment, Republicans have gained 46 House seats, moving from 176 seats to 222 seats in the 107th Congress.

• In 1991, Republicans controlled only 5 seats during the congressional-redistricting process. Today, Republicans control the redistricting process for 98 seats and share control for another 161 seats, with an additional 34 seats being drawn by nonpartisan commissions.

"During the past 20 years, Democrats have lost both houses of Congress, their state legislative and gubernatorial majorities, and now they have suffered a 60 percent decrease in their redistricting control. Any way you look at it, the Democrats are losing ground all across the country," GOPAC spokesman Dallas Lawrence tells us.

Still, impressive gains don't come cheap. Mr. Lawrence reveals that GOPAC, a Republican training and support center founded by former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont in 1979, has spent upwards of $20 million during the past decade working toward a successful millennial redistricting plan.

But for the Republicans, it's already paying off.

"I do not believe Tim Roemer will be the last Democrat to choose not to run for re-election in 2002," says House Rules Chairman Rep. David Dreier, California Republican, referring to the Indiana Democrat who announced last week that he would retire from Congress at the end of his current term. "Democrats can see the writing on the wall."

Passing muster

President Bush has been in office for less than two weeks and already "The First 100 Days of George Walker Bush" are being debated.

Former presidential aide David Gergen, editor at large of U.S. News & World Report, will join four congressional veterans from both sides of the aisle for the Atlantic Monthly Forum Tuesday at the National Press Club.

The panel offering advice and predictions will include former New York Rep. Jack Kemp, along with fellow Republicans Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr. of Florida, California Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher, and a surprise senior Democratic member of Congress soon to be announced.

Martians and truth

Opposition to the "Terrorist Elimination Act of 2001," introduced recently by Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, is being heard from an unusual extraterrestrial political wing.

While the principal focus of X-PPAC, or the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee, is ending the government embargo on the "truth" of an ongoing extraterrestrial presence, the committee also has great interest in certain closely related areas:

1) secrecy reform; 2) intelligence-agency reform; 3) military/intelligence abuse of power; 4) reform of NASA; and 5) sequestration of advanced technologies.

In the opinion of X-PPAC, Mr. Barr's bill, now before the House International Relations Committee, has no other purpose than to repeal certain sections of three previous executive orders prohibiting assassinations by any element of the U.S. government.

"This bill will be an embarrassment to the nation if it is even voted out of committee to the House floor," says X-PPAC's Stephen Bassett.

The committee instead wants Congress to foster policies that build trust with Americans, enable the State Department to forge policies that build trust with people around the world, and allow the military and intelligence services to anticipate, thwart and prosecute the evils of terrorism "not to emulate them."

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