- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2004

Kerry’s help

Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential front-runner, sent 28 letters on behalf of a California defense contractor who recently pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign donations to the Massachusetts senator and other legislators, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mr. Kerry wrote the letters between 1996 and 1999 for defense contractor Parthasarathi “Bob” Majumder, who was seeking federal funds to build a guided missile system for U.S. warplanes, the newspaper said.

Majumder and his employees at Science and Applied Technology Inc. donated $25,000 to Mr. Kerry.

Waiting on Coburn

Former Rep. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, promised to leave Congress after six years and was one of the few Republicans elected in 1994 who kept to their self-imposed term limit. He now may be angling to return to Washington for a spot on the other side of the U.S. Capitol, United Press International’s Peter Roff reports.

Mr. Coburn’s supporters have been urging him to enter the race for the Senate seat being vacated after 24 years by Republican Don Nickles. Mr. Coburn represented many of the same voters during his six years in Congress as the Democrat many think will most likely be on the general election ballot: Rep. Brad Carson. According to an e-mail recently making the rounds among conservatives, Mr. Coburn says he will announce his decision March 1.

Daley enters fray

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said he would have “no problem” with Cook County issuing “marriage” licenses to homosexual couples in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city.

Entering a national debate over homosexual “marriage,” Mr. Daley urged sympathy for same-sex couples because “they love each other just as much as anyone else,” the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Daley said that only the county clerk’s office can issue marriage licenses, and he stopped short of saying that he would follow San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom by approving “marriage” licenses for same-sex couples.

CBS to air ad

CBS says it will resume airing the Bush administration’s ad about the new Medicare prescription drug law, days after Republicans criticized the network for pulling the spot.

CBS was the only network to have stopped running the publicly funded ad pending a review of its content by congressional investigators. That review is continuing, the Associated Press reports.

A CBS spokesman, Dana McClintock, said Wednesday that the reversal had nothing to do with Republican assertions that Democratic-leaning top CBS executives yanked the ad for partisan reasons. Instead, Mr. McClintock said, changes made to the ad at the insistence of ABC were sufficient to satisfy the concerns of CBS as well.

Kevin Keane, a spokesman for the Health and Human Services Department, said last week that the administration edited the ad to acknowledge that savings can vary among older people from the Medicare drug card that goes into effect in June and prescription drug coverage in 2006.

Baptist voters

Southern Baptists are jumping into politics this year by seeking to register an additional 2 million voters for the November presidential election, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told the SBC Executive Committee this week that Baptists will join other religious conservatives in a concerted drive to get Americans to vote their values and beliefs.

“We must make our voices heard,” Mr. Land was quoted by the Baptist Press news service as saying. “We must never tell people how to vote, but we should tell them the Lord wants to talk to them about how they’re going to vote, and the Lord is going to talk to them someday about how they voted.”

In announcing Baptist involvement in the voter registration effort, Mr. Land said a Web site, iVoteValues.com, will be set up soon. The Web site will compare presidential candidates’ stands on same-sex “marriage,” abortion, stem-cell research, the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the display of the Ten Commandments in civic settings, the Baptist Press reported.

DeLay PAC probed

A political action committee connected to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, is under investigation in Texas.

Internal memos obtained by the Dallas Morning News indicate that $190,000 in corporate donations to Texans for a Republican Majority were sent to the Republican National Committee and later distributed to seven Texas House candidates.

Opponents of Mr. DeLay say the transaction appears to be a money-laundering scheme, because it is illegal in Texas to use corporate money in political races.

The $190,000 came in the final month of the November 2002 election in which the PAC had targeted 20 House races. Victories in 15 of those races led to the Republicans taking control of the House, United Press International reports.

Republicans took control of the Legislature for the first time in 130 years and passed a congressional redistricting plan last year that should give them control of the state’s delegation.

The Travis County District Attorney’s Office in Austin told the newspaper that the transaction between the PAC and the RNC is part of an ongoing investigation into corporate fund raising by the committee created by Mr. DeLay.

Officials of the two political organizations have denied any wrongdoing.

TV show opposed

A Pennsylvania congressman is protesting a possible new TV show that he says would demean a minority group in his state: the Amish.

The United Paramount Network’s proposed reality show — tentatively called “Amish in the City” — would place Amish teens in a home with “English” teens and subject them to the temptations of modern living.

Rep. Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, will join Amish leaders today in objecting to the show, saying it would ridicule members of that sect. According to Mr. Pitts’ office, Amish teens in Lancaster County, Pa., and in Indiana have turned down offers from the program’s producers to participate in the show.

Mr. Pitts has written to the executives of CBS and UPN asking that they not take it to production. UPN is owned by CBS.

He also spoke with Leslie Moonves, president of CBS television, Friday to ask that the program not be aired.

Simon looks ahead

Former California gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon appears likely to run for state treasurer in 2006.

Mr. Simon announced Wednesday that he is forming an exploratory committee to seek the post occupied by Democrat Phil Angelides, who will be unable to run in 2006 because of term limits.

Californians need a “tight-fisted conservative guardian of the people’s hard-earned tax dollars,” Mr. Simon said

Mr. Simon, a businessman and former federal prosecutor, was the Republican challenger to Democrat Gray Davis in the 2002 gubernatorial campaign.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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