- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Globe probes Kerry
Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and presidential hopeful, is coming under close scrutiny from his hometown newspaper.
Mr. Kerry "will be the subject of a multipart investigative series soon to appear in the Boston Globe," the Hill newspaper reports.
"Several months ago, the newspaper assigned 'a team of reporters to dig through Kerry's legislative, political and personal lives,'" the Hill said, quoting an anonymous source at the Globe.
It was the Globe that revealed Mr. Kerry's grandparents were Jewish, not Irish Catholics, as was widely assumed. That story was uncovered by the special team and deemed "too hot to hold," the Hill said.
"One story being examined for the upcoming series involves Kerry's brief fling in the 1980s with a young British journalist working in Washington. Dates planned around his tight schedule often began late at night, after political functions where the bachelor lawmaker eagerly seeking gravitas couldn't afford to be seen in the company of an attractive 25-year-old reporter.
"The woman soon tired of the arrangement and dumped Kerry for a member of Pink Floyd."
Sharpton challenged
Al Sharpton's strident refusal to file the quarterly finance form required of all presidential candidates has prompted the conservative National Legal and Policy Center to file a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission.
Mr. Sharpton last week said that because his campaign is exploratory, he is not subject to federal reporting guidelines.
But the complaint filed yesterday asserts that "Alfred C. Sharpton … has been raising funds since August 2002 for a campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for President for the 2004 election."
Mr. Sharpton registered his campaign in January something required once a candidate receives $5,000 in contributions or spends $5,000 on campaign activities.
Last week, campaign manager Frank Watkins told the New York Post that the campaign has indeed raised more than $5,000.
The complaint concludes, "Sharpton is clearly a candidate and his Committee is required to file quarterly reports."
Torricelli's cash
Former Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, has passed over four of his former Senate colleagues and instead donated cash from his suspect campaign kitty to presidential candidate Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri.
Mr. Torricelli quit his re-election race last year when it appeared voters were going to give him the boot because of ethical doubts about contributions to his 1996 campaign.
"But after withdrawing from electoral politics, the Torch found himself with nearly $3 million to burn in his campaign bank account at the end of last year," David Enrich writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"Torricelli for U.S. Senate Inc., supposedly still headquartered in downtown Washington, has started doling out some of the funds. On March 13, the campaign committee cut a $2,000 check to Dick Gephardt's presidential campaign, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.
"Gephardt appears to be the only candidate to whom Torricelli gave money," Mr. Enrich said.
The four senators who are now vying for the Democratic presidential nomination "weren't among Torricelli's defenders," Mr. Enrich said. "And at least one Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut joined Republican senators in September 2002 in calling for the release of the transcript of Torricelli's Senate ethics committee testimony."
Tort candidate
"Everyone knew that, as a former trial lawyer, Sen. John Edwards would be courting his plaintiffs' bar allies in his presidential bid. But even political professionals seem stunned by the degree to which his candidacy has become a wholly owned financial subsidiary of the national tort bar," the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.
"According to several analyses of the Federal Election Commission's first-quarter campaign finance reports, Sen. Edwards landed on the top of the Democratic money-raising heap, pulling in $7.4 million from donors. This is impressive, but the more amazing number is that nearly two-thirds of his cash came from attorneys and their families, or other law-firm staff. And only a fraction of the funds originated in Mr. Edwards' home state of North Carolina. The rest came from a Who's Who of every class-action law firm in the nation," the newspaper said.
"But one broader lesson here is the degree to which last year's campaign-finance 'reform' has hardly taken the special-interest money out of politics. If anything, McCain-Feingold has enhanced the clout of such groups as trial lawyers, who share an intense common interest, are rich enough to afford $2,000 individual contributions and numerous enough to bundle together hundreds of those donations."
Surgery for Greenspan
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will undergo surgery for an enlarged prostate today, the Fed said.
Tests last week showed no cancer, the Fed said yesterday.
The surgical procedure will be done at a Washington area hospital that Federal Reserve officials declined to identify, the Associated Press reports. Mr. Greenspan, 77, will not be under general anesthesia, said spokeswoman Michelle Smith.
Mr. Greenspan, who was in his office on Monday, expects to be back at work later this week, the Federal Reserve said.
Heston v. Sarandon
An old religious movie and a series rerun are more popular than Susan Sarandon.
"The Ten Commandments," the 1956 classic starring longtime National Rifle Association activist Charlton Heston, outscored the left-wing activist's new "Ice Bound" in Sunday's Neilsen ratings, according to Internet news hound Matt Drudge.
In fact, overnight numbers show that the made-for-television movie starring Miss Sarandon an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq finished with a dismal 5.5 rating and a 9 share, Mr. Drudge reports at www.drudgereport.com.
Ratings for the Sarandon film were 40 percent lower than CBS' previous Sunday ratings, and far lower than the ratings for CBS' "60 Minutes," which won its 7 p.m. time slot. Mr. Drudge reports that "Ice Bound" was beat in the 9 p.m. slot by a rerun of "Law and Order" on NBC (10.2 rating, 16 share), and by "The Ten Commandments" on ABC (8.9 rating, 14 share) at 10 p.m.
Capitol contract
Congress has awarded a $144 million contract for the next construction stage of the Capitol Visitor Center a giant project promising improved security and tourist comfort, but facing criticism about mounting costs.
Architect of the Capitol Alan M. Hantman told the Associated Press yesterday that the contract would go to the Washington-area office of Manhattan Construction Co., a Tulsa, Okla.-based firm recently involved in construction of the Capitol dome in Oklahoma City.
The visitor center, one of the most ambitious construction projects in the history of the U.S. Capitol, is set for completion in December 2005 at a cost of $373.5 million. The three-level underground facility will allow security checks to be conducted away from the main building.
But Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, earlier this month told Mr. Hantman in a letter that he was "disinclined" to approve further spending because of management concerns, delays and cost overruns.
Mr. Obey's spokesman, David Sirota, said that after the current Easter recess, Mr. Obey would talk to the Office of the Capitol Architect about his concerns, which include creation of an $18 million contingency account that Mr. Obey described as a slush fund over which Congress would have no control.



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