- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 6, 2005

Toomey post

Former Rep. Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, will replace Stephen Moore as president of the Club for Growth, The Washington Times has learned.

The group, which raises funds for conservative political candidates, is expected to announce Mr. Toomey’s arrival today, sources close to the Club for Growth told reporter Ralph Z. Hallow yesterday.

Mr. Moore now will head the Free Enterprise Fund, a new organization that will lobby for Social Security reform, permanent repeal of the death tax and tort reform.

Mr. Toomey, a conservative, lost a primary challenge last year against Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, one of the Senate’s most liberal Republicans. The Club for Growth, founded by Mr. Moore, raised money for Mr. Toomey’s challenge against Mr. Specter and also aided other conservative challengers against liberal Republican incumbents.

Washington flaw

Republicans in Washington state yesterday said that hundreds of provisional ballots in the state’s ultra-close governor’s race may have been counted on Election Day without being verified.

Republicans are finding flaws in the governor’s balloting and demanding a new election. After losing the first two counts, Democrat Christine Gregoire bested Republican Dino Rossi in the third count by 129 votes out of 2.9 million ballots cast.

State Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance said an admission by election workers in King County that provisional ballots had been counted without verification is “absolute proof” of the need for a new election, the Associated Press reports.

The heavily Democratic county, which includes Seattle, was the last to turn in the figures of its hand count, after media reports had kept running tallies of the race as the other counties’ recounts poured in.

“It’s enough right there to invalidate the election,” Mr. Vance said. “This is a bombshell.”

Mrs. Gregoire’s inauguration is scheduled for Wednesday. Republicans are preparing for a potential court challenge to the election — the deadline to file such a challenge is Jan. 22.

Democrats downplayed the importance of the Republican claim, with state Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Brost calling it “just the attack of the day from the Republicans.”

The exact number of such ballots in King County was not immediately available.

Lewis to lead

Top House Republicans chose Rep. Jerry Lewis of California yesterday to chair the chamber’s Appropriations Committee, a panel that controls one-third of the $2.5 trillion federal budget.

Mr. Lewis, beginning his 14th House term, is expected to get the job today when all House Republicans meet to select committee chairmen. Their approval is considered a formality after yesterday’s secret ballot, a closed-door vote of Republican leaders.

The 70-year-old Mr. Lewis is a longtime veteran of the Appropriations panel, one of the few in the House that tends to operate with bipartisan cooperation, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Lewis replaces Rep. C.W. Bill Young, Florida Republican, who had served the full six-year limit that House Republicans have placed on committee chairmen.

Citizens Against Government Waste yesterday challenged Mr. Lewis to get serious about reducing pork-barrel spending.

“Representative Lewis recently circulated a flier showing a bloated Uncle Sam with a caption reading ‘Uncle needs a diet,’ CAGW said. “But as chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Lewis helped procure $13,600,000 worth of pork projects for his home state in the fiscal 2004 defense spending bill.”

Hispanic pride

“In the 36 years that I have voted, I have supported and voted for only one Republican. That was when Alberto Gonzales ran for election to the Texas Supreme Court,” Henry Cisneros, the Democratic former mayor of San Antonio and housing secretary in the Clinton administration, writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“I messaged friends about this uncommonly capable and serious man. I urged them to support his campaign financially, and voted for him. He is now President Bush’s nominee to be attorney general of the United States and I urge his confirmation,” Mr. Cisneros said.

“Thorough scrutiny of a nominee is the Senate’s obligation in the confirmation process and in this time of war, sharp questioning will understandably seek to clarify aspects of our national policy with respect to the treatment of prisoners in the war against terror, matters on which White House Counsel Gonzales has advised the president. The questioning should be as intense as the subject is important, and in the end Alberto Gonzales should be confirmed.”

Mr. Cisneros added: “As an American of Latino heritage, I also want to convey the immense sense of pride that Latinos across the nation feel because of Judge Gonzales’ nomination.”

Atheist tries again

An atheist who sued because he did not want his young daughter exposed to the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance has filed another lawsuit — this time with other parents.

Michael Newdow won his case more than two years ago before a federal appeals court, which said it was an unconstitutional blending of church and state for public schools to require students to pledge to God.

In June, however, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying Mr. Newdow could not lawfully sue because he did not have custody of his elementary-school daughter and because the girl’s mother objected to the lawsuit.

In the latest challenge filed Monday in federal court in Sacramento, Calif., eight co-plaintiffs have joined the suit, and all are either custodial parents or the children themselves, Mr. Newdow said.

The plaintiffs’ names have been withheld from the lawsuit, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s because of the potential adverse impacts of having your name on a case like this. That’s why they are not named,” Mr. Newdow said yesterday.

Conyers’ turkeys

The director of a Detroit food bank wants to know what happened to 60 turkeys — 720 pounds of frozen birds — that his charity gave to members of the local staff of Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, two days before Thanksgiving to give to needy people, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Mr. Conyers’ Detroit office promised an accounting of any turkey distribution by Dec. 27, but the Gleaners Community Food Bank had received no paperwork as of Tuesday, the charity’s director, Agostinho Fernandes, told the Free Press.

Mr. Fernandes said he became suspicious that the turkeys didn’t get to poor people after hearing from a friend that a federal court worker had said he was offered free turkeys from a member of Mr. Conyers’ staff.

“I’ve got to tell you that our mission of feeding hungry people has been violated by the people who should have been guardians of our mission,” Mr. Fernandes said.

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

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