- The Washington Times - Friday, December 16, 2005

Angry prosecutor

Ronnie Earle, the Travis County, Texas, district attorney, is apparently furious about a television advertisement that accuses him of being politically motivated in winning an indictment of Rep. Tom DeLay, Texas Republican. Mr. Earle’s office has responded by notifying the ad’s sponsor, the Free Enterprise Fund (FEF), that he plans to subpoena the District-based organization.

The TV ad, which saturated airwaves in Austin, Texas, said: “A partisan prosecutor with a political agenda can be a dangerous thing,” and compared Mr. Earle to a snarling, vicious dog.

A draft of the subpoena provided to the FEF says the group’s executive director must travel to Texas and “provide the Travis County District Attorney’s office with any and all documentation regarding the advertisements that have been produced or paid for by the Free Enterprise Fund, including any and all information regarding media buys by the Free Enterprise Fund for those advertisements that have run in Austin, Texas.”

The Texas subpoena must be cleared by a D.C. court before it can be presented to the FEF.

What Mr. Earle wants, a source with special knowledge of the request tells this column, is a copy of the organization’s donor list, so he can find out who paid for the ads.

Bankrolling the left

Wal-Mart, Ford Motor Co., AT&T Corp. and Fannie Mae are among the major U.S. corporations whose foundations fund the liberal groups now waging war against Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Human Events reporter Timothy P. Carney writes at www.humaneventsonline.com.

The left-wing Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary has launched a series of advertisements aimed at defeating Mr. Alito. The group describes itself as “a national coalition of public interest organizations,” and includes NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Organization for Women and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, among others. The Alliance for Justice, People For the American Way and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights head the coalition.

The AT&T Foundation, for example, has contributed about $1 million since 2000 to groups that now actively are opposing Judge Alito’s confirmation, Mr. Carney said. It has also given $675,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation and $120,000 to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). The AT&T Foundation also has given about $200,000 to the NAACP or its affiliates.

The Fannie Mae Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the secondary mortgage giant Fannie Mae — officially a government-sponsored enterprise — also prolifically funds anti-Alito groups, Human Events said. The Fannie Mae Foundation funds the CBC Foundation and the NAACP. In the past, the foundation also has funded the Alliance for Justice and MALDEF.

While Wal-Mart is under attack from the left, some of its philanthropic money is bankrolling the left’s attacks on Mr. Alito. Wal-Mart’s foundation gave the CBC Foundation $25,000 in 2003.

Bent triangle

“If Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton really wants to run for president, it looks as if she needs a new strategy, because her tortured triangulation is now backfiring so badly that even draft-Hillary fans are mad at her,” the New York Post’s Deborah Orin writes.

“In fact, draft-Hillary chief Bob Kunst — who broadcast the first pro-Hillary TV ads of the 2008 cycle — is so upset that he’s mulling new ads to accuse triangulation champ Bill Clinton of betraying his wife politically,” Miss Orin said.

“Bill Clinton invented triangulation — trying to grab the center and paint foes on both sides as extremists. It was great for him in the 1990s, when there was a political center, but today is an era of polarization.

“The trouble began when Sen. Clinton tried to straddle the center on Iraq with a letter that stood by her pro-war vote but blamed President Bush for the war. Big problem: There is no center on Iraq, and she pleased just about no one.

“Things really heated up when the Post’s Ian Bishop revealed that Sen. Clinton was trying a similar grab-the-center strategy on flag-burning as the sole co-sponsor of a bill to ban it — but not by constitutional amendment.

“Yikes! In one fell swoop, she managed the all-but-impossible task of infuriating both the New York Times editorial board on the left and the American Legion on the right. And she inspired anti-Hillary editorials across the country.”

Separating science

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist yesterday tried to bring a popular bill to the floor to establish a national cord-blood registry, but was blocked by Democrats who demanded that the Senate also consider a bill to expand President Bush’s embryonic stem-cell policy.

“These two need to be together,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat.

Mr. Frist, Tennessee Republican, would not do that, since the cord-blood bill is popular and will pass easily, while the stem-cell measure is more contentious and will require more debate.

Mr. Frist pledged the embryonic stem-cell issue would be addressed on the Senate floor early next year, but Mr. Harkin wanted a specific date.

Supporters of the cord-blood bill — which also would boost the collection and maintenance of cord blood — complained that Democrats are holding up a measure that easily could pass and would save lives now. They noted that several types of diseases, including sickle cell anemia and leukemia, are being treated with stem cells taken from umbilical cords, typically discarded after a baby is born.

“We can benefit people today who are dying today,” Mr. Frist said. “Now is the time to make this registry available nationwide.”

The House already has passed both the cord-blood bill and the embryonic stem-cell bill.

New chair for FEC

The Federal Election Commission yesterday chose Michael E. Toner to serve as chairman in 2006.

The six-member board is split between Republicans and Democrats, and the chairmanship and vice chairmanship rotate every year between the parties.

Danny L. McDonald, one of the commission’s Democrats and a longtime member, will be vice chairman next year.

Mr. Toner was an attorney for Republican presidential campaigns, including George W. Bush’s 2000 effort, and for the Republican National Committee before Mr. Bush nominated him to the FEC in 2002.

He has been an ardent supporter of reforming the public financing system for presidential campaigns and also pushed during last year’s elections to curb spending by 527 groups, the tax-exempt organizations like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that spent millions of dollars on election advertisements.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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