- The Washington Times - Friday, March 15, 2002

Daschle delays vote on campaign finance

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle yesterday set aside a test vote on campaign-finance reform that had been set for today and said the Senate will take up the issue next week, with a final vote no later than next Friday.

The South Dakota Democrat had planned the test vote to see whether support reached 60 votes the number needed to end potential filibusters. But late yesterday, Mr. Daschle said both parties had agreed on how to proceed with debate next week.

Republicans can offer amendments to the bill, but Mr. Daschle and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, have said they have the votes to defeat any amendments. They want to avoid changing the bill because any changes would force a House-Senate conference, where the bill could die.

Election regulators approve new rule

Groups independently airing ads, sending mailings or making phone calls on a candidate's behalf must meet tougher disclosure requirements for this fall's congressional elections.

Under a rule approved yesterday in a 4-1 vote by the Federal Election Commission, groups starting such efforts as Election Day nears will have to report their spending within 24 hours.

The requirement covers "independent expenditures" money spent on a candidate's behalf but not coordinated with the politician's campaign.

School lunch program described as flawed

A system that bases billions of dollars in education aid on the number of pupils getting free or discounted lunches is encouraging schools to inflate the figures, the Bush administration says.

One of every five children participating in the lunch program may be ineligible because the family's income is too high, a government-commissioned study found.

Some 13 million children received free meals last year, and an additional 2.6 million paid a discounted price, a maximum of 40 cents per meal.

September 11 cash said to be stolen

LOS ANGELES The Los Angeles Times said yesterday that $65,000 was stolen out of the $2.5 million it raised to help survivors and families of victims of the September 11 hijacked-airliner attacks on New York and Washington.

The newspaper said it and the police were investigating but said it intended to replace all misappropriated funds.

The revelation was the latest in a string of accusations that September 11 donations did not always end up in the hands of the people the donors meant to help.

Dog owners' attitude faulted in mauling

LOS ANGELES A San Francisco woman whose dog killed a neighbor would not have been charged with murder if she and her husband had shown remorse and acknowledged responsibility, according to a defense expert's report unsealed yesterday.

Superior Court Judge James Warren, speaking without the jury present, said he was revealing the pre-trial report in response to a defense attorney's claim that San Francisco prosecutors soured public opinion against the couple.

The defense expert found that Marjorie Knoller, 46, and husband Robert Noel, 60, brought upon themselves an atmosphere of hostility after the mauling death last year of Diane Whipple.

Judge dismisses charges against defrocked priest

SAN FRANCISCO A judge threw out all 224 child-molestation charges against a defrocked Roman Catholic priest yesterday in a dispute over whether the statute of limitations had run out.

The ruling, unless overturned on appeal, means prosecutors cannot try former Monsignor Patrick O'Shea, 67, on charges of molesting nine boys in the 1960s and '70s.

"It's a terrible thing," said prosecutor Linda Klee. The case has zigzagged though the courts since its filing in 1995.

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