- The Washington Times - Friday, October 4, 2002

Go figure

Following this column's recounting of the federal government's falsely insisting that live people are dead, the September 11 charity Capitol Heroes Campaign is desperately seeking proof that the bureaucracy can demonstrate some form of sentient, human life.

"CHC filed its initial 2001 tax return as a post-September 11 charity, clearly identified as such in said filings and the concomitant, required articles of incorporation and bylaws," says CHC President Christopher Horner.

"Still, the IRS, resistant to recognizing the obvious, next demanded that we correct our supposedly 'incomplete' filing by adding a form detailing CHC's activities during the three years prior to the tax return filed for our again, clearly and repeatedly identified first year of operation, 2000, 1999 and 1998."

That's right, the tax man is demanding to know what the September 11 heroes campaign was up to three years prior to the terrorist attacks.

Despite the redundancy and to appease what Mr. Horner labels a "notoriously cranky and retributive agency" CHC submitted the forms, with a stunning array of "0" and "N/A," which the reasonable observer might presume would catch the reviewing party's attention. The result?

"IRS responded by demanding over $2,000 for late filing of a document that clearly is not applicable," he reveals.

Still, the revenue agents handling the filing for an entity granted nonprofit status did provide a phone number should CHC feel this was a mistake. After a telephone hold time approaching 20 minutes, one agent instructed CHC that it needed to be transferred to the section that handles nonprofits.

After further hold time, the charity was informed by a computer, then and every time it has called since that the IRS is not able to handle the call due to significant volume. Meanwhile, the charity has a firmly asserted deadline to clear this circumstance or face further penalty.

Observes a frustrated Mr. Horner, a Washington lawyer: "No good deed goes unpunished."

Grateful co-president

Globe-trotting former President Bill Clinton is sounding more like a president every day.

"I appreciate what the prime minister is trying to do in terms of bringing America and the rest of the world to a common position," he told Britain's Labor Party conference this week, urging endorsement of Prime Minister Tony Blair's stance on Iraq. "If he weren't there to do this, I doubt if anyone else could. So I am very, very grateful."

Reuters wrote that Mr. Clinton "stole the show" on the last full day of the annual conference in Britain, while the Daily Mirror, as seen in today's art, went so far as to salute Mr. Clinton on its cover, observing: "This man said just about EVERYTHING we hoped to hear from an American leader pity he can't have his old job back, isn't it."

Of course, Mr. Clinton went on to say that he disagreed with most of President Bush's policies, but stood by him on achieving a tough new U.N. resolution on Iraq.

Tall tales

"It is important to be prepared" for tall tales, Republican National Committee Chairman Marc Racicot tells Republican candidates in a memo we have obtained.

"Democrat attacks may be so outrageous or inaccurate that candidates may consider a response to be unnecessary," says the chairman. "Inaccurate attacks left without a truthful and timely response, however, can take on a life of their own and suggest a possibility of accuracy.

"We expect this to be a growing trend as Election Day approaches and we must address attacks thoughtfully, but forcefully and quickly," he says.

Already, Mr. Racicot notes, Democrat ads focusing on Enron and Social Security have been pulled in North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Indiana, Mississippi and Connecticut because of inaccuracy.

Beyond candidates

Another election cycle is upon us, and for die-hard political junkies who not only like to track congressional races but ballot measures throughout the country, the Initiative and Referendum Institute has come to your aid.

It has compiled a 46-page pre-election guide, "great reading for anyone who wants to know about drugs, gambling and politics it's all in there," says institute President M. Dane Waters. We downloaded our copy from www.ballotwatch.org.

Missing link

After we wrote yesterday of bumping into Bill Clinton in Cape Town, South Africa, one of this newspaper's foreign correspondents writes to say he has stumbled upon Al Gore, a 3-year-old orangutan orphaned when her (yes her) mother was killed by a worker on a palm oil plantation in Sabah, Malaysia.

Asked how Al Gore got her name, rangers overseeing her rehabilitation said it had no particular meaning, political or otherwise.

"It was just a name one of the rangers picked when she came to us," said one, although he noted that Al Gore craves attention and is known for being a mischief maker, grabbing the cameras of unsuspecting tourists.

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