- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 17, 2002

McKinney's friends
Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, the Georgia Democrat who recently suggested that the Bush administration had advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks and was using the war against terrorism to enrich friends in the energy and defense industries, has close financial ties to Arab and Mideast-related groups.
"Congresswoman McKinney has alleged serious charges amounting to high treason against President George W. Bush and members of his administration based on 'relationships' with energy and defense companies," Southeastern Legal Foundation President Phil Kent said yesterday in a prepared statement.
"If we are to give any credence to her baseless claims, the American people deserve to know that McKinney's financial 'relationships' her campaign contributors are heavily represented by Arab and Middle Eastern-connected individuals, as well as organizations which have expressed sympathy for terrorist organizations."
The foundation released a summary of Mrs. McKinney's 1999-2000 campaign donors. Of 397 contributors who gave more than $101, "83 were identifiably Arab or Middle East-connected 21 percent of these contributors to her campaign," including the American-Muslim Council and the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Wellstone's numbers
Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat, won support from only 42 percent of voters in a survey released this week by his own national party.
Although Mr. Wellstone led his Republican rival, Norm Coleman, by 2 percentage points, the poll results were not considered encouraging news for the Democrat, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Earlier this month, national Republicans released their own poll of Minnesota voters showing Mr. Coleman ahead, 49 percent to 42 percent.
Bill Morris, a pollster and Augsburg College political scientist, said both polls were "very bad news for Paul Wellstone."
"First, they confirm that it's a close race. Second, they indicate a real weakness and vulnerability on the part of the incumbent," Mr. Morris said.
The Republican poll, conducted March 26-27 by Public Opinion Strategies, surveyed 600 likely voters in Minnesota. The Democratic poll, conducted April 10-11 by the Mellman Group, surveyed 500 likely voters in Minnesota.

Funny business
"The Council on American Islamic Relations put an online 'poll' on its Web site [Monday] asking readers if they think Ariel Sharon should be tried for war crimes," James Taranto notes at the Wall Street Journal Web site (www.opinionjournal.com).
"Early results were overwhelmingly in favor; with 513 votes, InstaPundit reports, 94 percent were in favor of putting the Israeli leader on trial. But when InstaPundit and other sites reported on the poll, their readers went to CAIR's site and cast their votes. By [yesterday] morning, there were 11,951 votes, and the numbers were reversed 94 percent were against trying Sharon," Mr. Taranto said.
"Then CAIR started engaging in some funny business. First, the number of votes somehow declined to 2,083, with 93 percent in favor. Then the poll disappeared altogether, replaced by this message:
"'CAIR is investigating several nefarious attempts by users trying to manipulate the votes. Thank you for your patience while we isolate and correct the problem. Please be advised that such systems that help in weighing public opinion should not be misused.'
"This is astonishingly dishonest. It's true, of course, that such polls can never be taken seriously because they do not poll a random sample of the public. But what CAIR calls 'nefarious attempts' to 'manipulate the votes' are simply people with Web sites encouraging their readers to weigh in. CAIR did not want to measure 'public opinion'; it wanted to measure the opinion of its constituency aggrieved Muslims knowing full well what the outcome would be. Its objection is precisely that the public dared to weigh in."

Dollar signs
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced April 10 that it raised almost $11 million in the first quarter of 2002. Of that, $4.77 million was in so-called hard-money donations and $6.16 million was in soft-money donations.
By comparison, the National Republican Senatorial Committee announced Thursday that it raised an estimated $15 million in the first quarter of 2002 including $9.9 million in hard money and $5.1 million in soft money.
Hard-money donations are capped donations that can be spent on a range of political activities. Soft-money donations are uncapped donations that the new campaign finance law outlaws after the fall's elections.
The total raised by the DSCC so far in the cycle is $48 million, with $23.1 million cash on hand. At the like point in 2000, the DSCC had raised $34.5 milliion and had $16.9 million in the bank.
The NRSC has receipts this cycle of $68.4 million with nearly $28 million in cash on hand. At the like point in the 2000 cycle, the NRSC had total receipts of $46 million and had $11.5 million in the bank.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of the House GOP, also announced Thursday that it has raised a record-breaking $21.5 million in the first quarter of this year "the most money ever raised during the first quarter of an election year," a press release stated.

Party crack-up
The Reform Party continues to splinter.
Leaders in eight states announced plans Monday to form their own party, the Associated Press reports.
About 30 members resigned from the national committee, along with six of the 11 members of the party's executive committee, said national party Treasurer Dan Charles, who lives in Boulder, Colo.
"My state chose to take this step to protect itself and its candidates from a dictatorial national chairman who seems bent on destroying the Reform Party," said Mr. Charles, who was the Colorado party's state chairman.
Disaffiliating while keeping their state parties intact were party leaders in Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Illinois, Colorado, New Hampshire and Iowa, Mr. Charles said. The Reform Party of Texas dissolved itself and will reorganize under a new name.
Mr. Charles said members were angry that national Chairman Gerry Moan had taken away some of the authority of the national committee last month.

A growing chorus
A Republican congressman offered a resolution yesterday to expel convicted Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.
"Felons belong in jail and not in Congress," said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the Judiciary Committee. "He has broken the public trust by breaking the law, and if he will not voluntarily leave this House, our duty is to remove him."
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California Democrat, offered a similar resolution late last night.
"I think he tarnishes all of us," Mrs. Sanchez said. "He should resign."
Also yesterday, House Majority Leader Dick Armey became the highest-ranking House member to call on the Ohio Democrat to resign.
"It would be better for him; it would be better for the House," said Mr. Armey, Texas Republican. "He would save himself and the body a lot of grief if he would just resign."
Traficant has vowed to fight his conviction on corruption charges, but he is staying away from Washington this week. People convicted of felonies are not permitted to vote on the House floor, and such an attempt by Traficant would likely result in a move to expel him.
The House ethics committee has begun an investigation into whether to sanction Traficant, who is due to be sentenced in June.

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