- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 21, 2005

Just plain Bill

There’s another Bill in Hil’s life: William Brenner, a lawyer in Sullivan County, N.Y., is now the Republican opponent to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat.

The fact that Mr. Brenner declared his intention on March 31 to challenge Mrs. Clinton in 2006 is just dawning upon the New York Times and other papers.

“The Republican candidate who will have the best chance to unseat Hillary will be a relative unknown — a humble, straight-shooting, man-of-the-people who wears his heart on his sleeve … that’s Bill Brenner,” noted his campaign manager and son David Brenner yesterday.

“Sen. Clinton has the money and connections to steamroll over any polished, professional politician the Republicans throw at her,” Mr. Brenner said. “Who is the only person she can’t roll over? Which candidate would be the chink in her armor? The answer is the candidate who thinks little of money and connections.”



No political novice, Mr. Brenner was the 2004 Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 22nd congressional district, but lost to five-time incumbent Democrat Maurice D. Hinchey.

NRA reload

The conservative House Republican Study Committee recognized former Iowa Republican Party Chairman Kayne Robinson for “fighting for conservative principles and individual liberty.” North Carolina Rep. Patrick T. McHenry presented Mr. Robinson, outgoing National Rifle Association president, with a plaque from the 100-member RSC at NRA’s annual meeting in Houston last weekend.

Hollywood hunk and political conservative Tom Selleck was elected to the 76-member NRA board, as were former Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, and James S. Gilmore III, former Virginia governor and former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

They join other political conservatives on the board, including former Rep. Bob Barr, Oliver North, Hollywood director John Milius, rock star Ted Nugent and former Lakers basketball star Karl Malone.

Fancy footwork

The New York Daily News yesterday reported that Democratic Sens. Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota and John Kerry of Massachusetts were trying to kill a legal probe implicating senior Clinton administration appointees for obstruction of justice.

The lawmakers Tuesday attached an amendment to a spending bill, which passed the Senate yesterday, to cut off funding for independent counsel David Barrett’s 10-year-old investigation of Henry Cisneros, former Housing and Urban Development secretary.

The lawmakers said Mr. Cisneros paid a $10,000 fine in 1999 for lying to the FBI about payments to a mistress and that former President Bill Clinton pardoned him — so the probe “should have ended years ago.”

Sources told the paper the legislation will thwart Mr. Barrett’s attempts to make a 400-page final report public. They said the report will accuse former Clinton officials at the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service of using their positions to attack Clinton critics and cover up possible criminal deeds.

“It’s about obstruction of justice. People are willing to take drastic actions to kill this report,” one source said.

Differences between the House and Senate spending bills for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan still must be resolved in a conference committee.

Mi casa

News of interest, perhaps, to those who follow immigration issues, this from Alfonso Nieto of the Embassy of Mexico, announcing a new mortgage program for Mexico migrants:

“Migrants will have the possibility of buying a home in Mexico while working in the USA,” the notice reads, adding that the program “will increase the standard of living of the families of migrants in Mexico” and “reinforce migrants’ roots in their native country.”

Introduced Tuesday by Mexican President Vicente Fox, the “program allows Mexican migrants living in the United States to obtain mortgages to buy homes in Mexico. The program will start with over 1,000 available mortgages and is expected to grow thereafter.

“The program is operated by three private mortgage companies with offices in the United States: Su Casita, Hipotecaria Nacional and Credito Inmobiliario Terras/Conficasa, with the support of the Federal Mortgage Society, a Mexican public organization that promotes the construction and purchasing of housing in Mexico.”

Snow returns

Fox News Radio host Tony Snow will be on the air again Monday after some downtime for cancer treatment.

“I’m feeling great — I mean, really great — so great that I’m ready to go back on the air full time,” Mr. Snow said yesterday.

“Words can’t express how pleased and grateful we are that he’s better,” said Rick Silipigni of WMET 1160, which airs Mr. Snow’s show from 9 a.m. to noon in the Washington area.

Exit at AIPAC

The pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC has dismissed policy director Steve Rosen and senior analyst Keith Weissman, who were involved in a federal probe into whether secrets on Iran were passed to Israel, Reuters news agency reports.

The powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee earlier had defended the pair.

“The action that AIPAC has taken was done in consultation with counsel after careful consideration of recently learned information and the conduct AIPAC expects of its employees,” spokesman Patrick Dorton said.

Attorneys for Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman said the two had acted properly.

The federal investigation was publicly disclosed in August, and has focused on whether Defense Department analyst Lawrence Franklin passed secret documents about Iran to Israeli intelligence through AIPAC staff members.

Charges have not been brought in the investigation, which remains open.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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