- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2001

Jesse Jr.'s finances

Jesse Jackson isn't the only one having trouble explaining his finances. His son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., rushed to amend his federal financial-disclosure forms after a reporter called to ask about his interests in various Jackson family businesses, WorldNetDaily.com reports.

The younger Jackson "failed to report real-estate assets and liabilities, as well as positions he's held on the boards of two for-profit businesses run by the Jackson family," Paul Sperry writes.

"Last month, Rep. Jackson, Illinois Democrat, quietly amended all his annual financial-disclosure statements to show that he served as a director of Jesse Jackson Sr. Productions Inc., a Chicago-based TV and music production company, over the past five years.

"After a Chicago reporter phoned to ask about the omission, Jackson corrected the public records in a letter to the House clerk. Jackson said the reporter's call was prompted by 'the recent increase in media scrutiny of Rev. Jackson's financial interests.' "

The 36-year-old congressman has done well for himself, the WorldNetDaily reporter said. Until last month, he owned four homes, "including a $550,000 townhouse in Dupont Circle, and has held at least $335,000 and perhaps as much as $1 million in stocks, bonds and cash."

Lieberman's leftovers

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, on Monday journeyed to the campus of George Washington University "to deliver a speech touted by his aides as a major economic-policy address," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Mr. Lieberman, who makes no secret of his presidential ambitions, chose to ignore several issues that might alienate organized labor, reporter John Harwood writes.

"The unsuccessful 2000 vice presidential candidate said [President] Bush's [economic] plan 'lacks a vision' and that his $1.6 trillion tax-cut plan would 'waste the wealth our nation has earned over the past eight years' while doing nothing to stimulate the economy immediately. Instead, Mr. Lieberman proposed a 'New Prosperity Agenda' that included increasing spending" on education and science, as well as a reduction in the capital-gains tax.

"In the place of Mr. Bush's permanent across-the-board tax-rate cut, he would seek to kick-start the economy by sending every American taxpayer a 'surplus-dividend tax rebate' check for $300," the reporter said.

"Left out of Mr. Lieberman's speech, however, were some controversial stances that once burnished his moderate reputation, but that are opposed by the labor activists who loom large in Democratic primaries.

"Though Mr. Lieberman once bucked labor opposition to support the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization, [Monday's] speech didn't discuss continued trade expansion. Nor did he mention experimental taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools or expanded 'education savings accounts' to permit tax deductions for private-school tuition.

"Instead, the speech advocated only that employers be able to claim a new tax credit for 'remedial education to make up for the failure of our K-12 school system.' Aides said he was focusing on new initiatives, but hasn't backed away from his earlier positions."

Hillary and Teddy

"What is our new senator up to?" New York Post columnist John Podhoretz asks, referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"It seems peculiar that she would launch a full-out assault on George W. Bush when both of them have been in office only two months and when charm could do far more for her legislative aims than attack," Mr. Podhoretz said.

" 'The president's been on a charm offensive, but his administration is on a harm offensive,' Hillary told a partisan crowd in Corning this weekend. 'The new administration is not just attempting to reverse the last eight years of progress and prosperity, they want to reverse the last 50 or 60 years.' …

"Hillary is seeking to make herself a hero to the nation's most partisan and ideological Democrats by speaking and acting in a defiant, even rude, way about the current occupant of the White House and his administration. It appears that she isn't running for president so much as she is trying to become a Teddy Kennedy for the 21st century.

"Like Teddy, Hillary has climbed to power on the strength of a more accomplished and popular relative in a state that is probably a pretty safe haven for her (considering how anti-Republican it has become). Like Teddy, she is reviled by her political opponents not only for her views, but for her stance athwart the law. And like Teddy, her uncomfortable proximity to scandal and crime are probably going to keep her from rising any higher.

"So her route to glory and heroism lie not in the accommodations that would make her a good senator, but in obnoxious overstatement of the sort she indulged in this weekend."

The growth party

The 2000 census was good news for Republicans, says Rep. Thomas M. Davis III.

"Growth has tended to occur in more Republican areas," said the Virginia Republican, who is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "The growth has been away from Rust Belt states."

New seats are moving to Republican-leaning states in the South and West, and Republicans have increased their control in state legislatures since 1990.

As a result, Mr. Davis told Will Lester of the Associated Press, his party will gain seats when the House is redistricted before next year's mid-term elections.

"I see a 10-seat gain for us," Mr. Davis said. "There's no circumstance where we lose seats."

But Democrats plan to spend $13 million to increase the party's chances in the redistricting fight, Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe announced yesterday.

"Never before have we played a major role in redistricting and never have we taken the lead on assisting state parties and state legislative committees with redistricting," Mr. McAuliffe told AP. "We will be providing technological, political and legal assistance."

That explains it

One day after being indicted on federal fraud charges, former Rep. Edward Mezvinsky, Iowa Democrat, filed a lawsuit claiming he developed mental problems after using a malaria drug and subsequently ran up millions of dollars in debt, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

Mr. Mezvinsky and his wife, former Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, Pennsylvania Democrat, filed suit against Roche Holding AG, Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia, a Montgomery County, Pa., pharmacy and Mr. Mezvinsky's physician, Dr. Bradley Fenton.

Mr. Mezvinsky took the drug Lariam for dozens of business trips to Africa in the 1990s.

From the suit: "As a result of the psychiatric syndrome caused by his long-term use of Lariam, he invested rashly in bad investments … [and] depleted his own financial resources, his wife's financial resources, as well as his wife's inheritance."

Said Mezvinsky attorney Michael Barrett: "Clearly, the responsibility lies with the manufacturers."

Bombshell ahead

"Stop the presses: The New York Times finally discovers that others are doing journalism on Jesse Jackson," Andrew Sullivan writes at his Web site, Andrewsullivan.com.

"The front-page piece [Monday] was a spin job for the Jackson forces, hyping his popularity among most blacks, and regurgitating the real reporting done by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, National Enquirer and the New York Post," Mr. Sullivan said.

"Bottom-line spin: Jackson's down but not out. I guess it's good news that the Times has finally acknowledged it completely missed the boat for political reasons. Not so good news that the Times' own original reporting on Jackson's scandals simply doesn't exist. Guess we're going to have to wait for the incoming '60 Minutes' bombshell I'm told is in the works."

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