- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Oiling Saddam
As the price of gasoline continues to climb, Alaska Sen. Frank H. Murkowski, Alaska Republican and chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, points to a "curious inconsistency" in this countrys foreign policy toward Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein.
"We are currently importing about 700,000 barrels a day from Iraq," Mr. Murkowski notes, adding that it wasnt too distant in the past that the United States was engaged in a war with Iraq, during which 147 American lives were lost.
"Yet today we enforce a no-fly zone over Iraq … putting American men and women in danger … so we can continue to get oil from one person who is an enemy," says the chairman.
"I can simplify it. It seems as if we take his oil and put it in our airplanes and then fly missions over Iraq. He takes the money that he gets from us and develops a missile capability after paying his Republican Guards to keep him alive and aims his missiles at our ally, Israel.
"What kind of foreign policy is that?"

Protecting itself

The Environmental Protection Agency is having a tough time policing its own researchers.
The EPA provides millions of dollars annually in grants for recipients to conduct research, demonstrate pollution-control techniques and perform other functions, yet "some grantees have spent all of their grant funds but completed only a portion of the work required under the grant agreement," the General Accounting Office has determined.
In addition, says a new GAO study delivered to Sen. Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican and chairman of the Small Business Committee, "some grantees, particularly nonprofit organizations with inexperienced staff, may not have adequate controls in place to ensure that funds are spent as intended or allowed."
The problems, the GAO says, include "spending funds for unallowable activities, such as lobbying."
EPA grants to nonprofit entities alone have increased to about $250 million annually.
While the EPA last summer established agencywide targets for performing on-site and off-site reviews of grant recipients, such oversight methods are "not likely to identify unallowable costs involving nonprofit grantees."

Guns to government

We see where Handgun Control Inc.s president, Bob Walker, has been lured away from that post to head Common Causes new "education fund."
The funds primary purpose, says Common Cause President Scott Harshbarger, is to make government at all levels more open, honest and accountable.
Chairman emeritus of Common Cause is Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.

Hatch act

We had to laugh when an event organizer for the Federal Judges Association this week asked its guest speaker, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee: "Should we let everyone enjoy themselves a little longer, or would you like to begin your speech now?"

Snow ball

Fox News Sunday celebrated its fifth anniversary in style last evening, with the shows popular host, Tony Snow, welcoming an impressive VIP crowd of well-wishers to B. Smiths at Union Station.
Among those signing the anniversary guest book:
Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham; Clinton Energy Secretary Bill Richardson; Democratic Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, Robert G. Torricelli of New Jersey, and John B. Breaux of Louisiana; Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas; and senior Bush White House aides Mary Matalin and Karen Hughes.

Hill actress

"Take a state. Well, take Texas, for example."

—Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, pretending at a news conference yesterday to pull President Bushs home state of Texas out of the blue as one state that passed large tax cuts and is now faced with smaller than projected surpluses.

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