- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Another shakedown
"Once again, the Reverend Jesse Jackson has been caught worrying less about the empowerment of mainstream black Americans and much more about the enrichment of himself and the well-heeled financiers and attorneys who support him," Deroy Murdock writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"Jackson recently wrote General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt. The letter was dated March 14, the day after GE floated a hefty $11 billion in bonds," Mr. Murdock said.
"'What concerns me is the dearth of minority banks involved in any aspect of this deal,' Jackson wrote, as CNSnews.com first reported. He continued, 'It is disappointing to think that GE, one of America's most innovative and respected companies, doesn't feel that any minority-owned firms have the capability to be part of what will probably be one of the largest bond offerings in 2002.'
"Jackson then suggests that GE hire minority-owned investment banks that happen to be 'members of our Wall Street Project Trade Bureau.' These companies, conveniently enough, contribute to Rainbow/PUSH and other nonprofits.

A man of polls
"Alarm bells went off in Harlem over the weekend, and down in Little Rock [Arkansas] too, when the Gallup polling firm released the results of its latest survey late last week of public perceptions of presidents past," according to the Prowler (www.americanprowler.com).
"'Clinton tanked,' says a former aide to the president, 'and it bugged him a little bit.' So much so, word out of Little Rock is that the Clinton Library may undertake its own poll to buttress Clinton's belief that he remains one of America's most popular and respected leaders.
"In the latest Gallup 'Retrospective Job Approval Ratings,' Clinton at 51 percent finished third to last, safely above Lyndon Johnson (39 percent) and Richard Nixon (34 percent), but also well below Jimmy Carter and Jerry Ford (60 percent each). Even more hurtful, George Bush Sr. came in at 69 percent, and Ronald Reagan at 73 percent, which rates up there with George Washington. Most hurtful: JFK scored 83 percent. Despite his best efforts, Clinton remains no John Kennedy."

Republicans compete
"The politicking in Ohio's 3rd Congressional District has turned ugly, thanks to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission against newspaper publisher Roy Brown, who is currently seeking the Republican nomination for Congress," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"On Thursday, former Dayton Mayor Mike Turner's campaign filed a complaint accusing Brown's newspaper chain of violating the FEC rule requiring newspapers to give 'reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates.'
"The Turner campaign is alleging that 66 of 70 stories that have appeared in Brown's chain of weekly newspapers between mid-January and mid-March were about or for the benefit of Brown.
"The two men are competing along with Gregory Hunter for the Republican nomination for the congressional seat being vacated by Democrat Tony Hall, who is assuming a post at the United Nations. Although the National Republican Congressional Committee is officially neutral in the race, Turner is said to have the support of NRCC Chairman Rep. Tom Davis, Virginia Republican."

Not-guilty plea
Illinois Gov. George Ryan's campaign committee and a former top aide pleaded not guilty yesterday to racketeering charges stemming from a federal investigation into a purported licenses-for-bribes scheme that operated when Mr. Ryan was secretary of state.
Scott Fawell, 44, Mr. Ryan's former campaign manager and chief of staff in the Secretary of State's Office, is accused of using state employees and money to do campaign work.
The plea on behalf of the campaign was entered by attorney Mark Flessner, who objected when federal prosecutor Patrick Collins suggested the law firm be removed from the case because of a conflict of interest, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Collins said he would file a motion Monday laying out the specifics.
The firm has represented Citizens for Ryan, the Illinois Secretary of State's Office and dozens of state employees and campaign workers who have become entangled in the scandal.
The Republican governor has not been charged with any wrongdoing, but decided not to seek a second term as the scandal grew and his popularity plunged.

Activist in trouble
A Washington state commission said yesterday that a top anti-tax activist broke the law by diverting political donations into his personal accounts, and it turned the case over to the attorney general to pursue stiffer penalties than the panel can impose.
Tax rebel Tim Eyman has admitted diverting more than $200,000 to a salary fund and taking $45,000 of that.
The Public Disclosure Commission, which oversees campaign spending, said it wants Attorney General Christine Gregoire to pursue civil penalties stiffer than the $2,500 fine per infraction that the panel could impose, the Associated Press reports.
The Attorney General's Office can seek civil fines of as much as $10,000 per violation. If it seeks penalties for multiple violations of each part of the law, those fines could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mr. Eyman has been Washington state's foremost initiative sponsor in recent years. His causes have included rolling back racial preferences and repealing a car tax.

Help from his friends
"Three weeks after Senate Democrats scuttled Judge Charles Pickering's judicial nomination, the Bush administration has started mobilizing to help his son, [Mississippi Republican] Rep. Chip Pickering, raise money for a tough race against [Democratic] Rep. Ronnie Shows," Roll Call reports.
"Rep. Pickering drew a fund-raising visit Friday from Vice President [Richard B.] Cheney, who traveled to Jackson for a $1,000-a-head breakfast. Pickering is expecting a visit April 26 from Hector Barreto, director of the Small Business Administration, who will attend an event for Jackson business leaders.
"Shows and Pickering are vying in the new 4th District, which was configured by a three-judge federal panel last month. Pickering is favored slightly in the race.
"Cheney's visit to Mississippi was part of a hectic fund-raising schedule last week. The vice president also raised money for Sen. Tim Hutchinson, Arkansas Republican, and Rep. Sam Graves, Missouri Republican, and he is scheduled to raise money for Rep. John Shimkus, Illinois Repubican, on April 15."

In defense of polls
Dick Morris, a key pollster and adviser to President Clinton, rose to the defense of his occupation in his New York Post column.
"What's wrong with polling, anyway?" Mr. Morris wrote after noting that President Bush had come under fire from "Washington insiders" recently for his use of polls.
"This is a democracy. Policy flows from a conversation between a leader's ideas and the voters' opinions. As Henry Kissinger said, 'if [a leader] gets too far ahead of his people, he will lose his mandate; if he confines himself to the conventional, he will lose control over events.' Polling is how a leader gauges the relationship between his goals and the public's tolerance," Mr. Morris wrote.
"A leader in a democracy can no more ignore public opinion than a sailor can disregard tides and winds. The wise leader sets an objective based on his own convictions about where the country must go. But, using polls, he measures how much of his vision is congruent with the ideas of his constituency.
"His job is to sail as close to the wind as possible without capsizing. But, inevitably, he must tack sail a little to the right or the left of his goal as the wind moves him. Then, also using polls, he tacks back and forth until he arrives at his destination."

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