- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Missing list

Prosecutors in Travis County, Texas, acknowledged Friday that they lack physical proof of a list of Republican candidates that is at the heart of money-laundering indictments against Rep. Tom DeLay and two of his associates, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The list is key to prosecutors’ case that corporate money that could not be spent legally on Texas candidates was specifically exchanged at the national level for donations that legally could be spent on Republican candidates for the Texas House, reporter R.G. Ratcliffe said.

Indictments against Mr. DeLay, Jim Ellis and John Colyandro state that Mr. Ellis gave “a document that contained the names of several candidates for the Texas House” to a Republican National Committee official in 2002 in a scheme to swap $190,000 in restricted corporate money for the same amount of money from individual donors that could be legally used by Texas candidates.

But prosecutors said Friday in court that they had only a “similar” list and not the one supposedly received by then-RNC Deputy Director Terry Nelson. Late in the day, they released a list of 17 Republican candidates, but only seven are said to have received money in the scheme.

An attorney for Mr. Ellis said prosecutors’ inability to produce the list mentioned in the indictments is on par with the tactics used by Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the communist witch hunts of the 1950s.

“I’ll tell you what I think about this list. In the 1950s, a man named McCarthy claimed to have a list of 200 communists in the State Department, and he didn’t,” J.D. Pauerstein said. Prosecutors “don’t know what list they’re talking about, even though they specify it in their indictment.”

The undiscouraged

A group that wants to draft Condoleezza Rice for president in 2008 is undeterred by the secretary of state’s declaration Sunday that she has no interest in the job.

“Regardless of what you heard on ‘Meet the Press’ or ‘Fox News Sunday,’ americansforrice.com is still on the road to draft Secretary Rice,” Crystal Dueker, national co-chairwoman of Americans for Dr. Rice, tells this column.

“Our ads will still play for the next two weeks in Des Moines, and I am still driving my Mini Cooper to Des Moines on October 22 for the Iowa Republican state dinner,” she said.

“So our Web site is not shutting down, our ads are up and running, and we are a major sponsor at [the Conservative Political Action Conference] in Washington, D.C., next February.”

Ms. Dueker added: “Between 3,000 and 4,000 people have signed up to help, donated money, or in some way helped on the citizen movement to get Secretary Rice to accept the nomination in 2008. It is the will of the people who will change the course of history and strive to keep the White House in the hands of the Republican Party in 2008.”

A plea to Miers

National Review, in an editorial yesterday at www.nationalreview.com, urged Harriet Miers to withdraw her nomination for the Supreme Court.

“Some conservatives have called on the president to withdraw her nomination, and a few have urged senators to vote against her,” the magazine said.

“If the president withdrew the nomination, we believe that he would seek a replacement who could unite conservatives — as he no doubt expected Miers to unite them. But that nominee would be tarnished, perhaps fatally, by the suspicion that the president was forced to pander to the Right. The president, moreover, surely does not want to risk looking less than strong and steadfast.

“The prudent course is for Miers to withdraw her own nomination in the interests of the president she loyally serves. The president could then start over. Both he and his party would probably benefit from having the clear fight over the direction of the courts that only a new nominee would allow. But for that to happen, some conservative senators are going to have to send a diplomatic message to the White House.

“And conservatives and the White House will have to restore their working relationship. Some hard and ill-considered words have been said on both sides, but it is time for all involved to follow their interests, instead of their resentments.”

‘Unwanted gift’

A gold Rolex watch thought to have been given by Marilyn Monroe to President Kennedy, inscribed, “Jack with love as always Marilyn May 29th 1962,” has been sold for $120,000, the auction house Alexander Autographs said yesterday.

The watch was sold with a poem titled “A heartfelt plea on your birthday,” typed in black on a paper disk placed at the bottom of the gold case containing the watch. The two are rumored to have had an affair about that time.

The poem reads:

Let lovers breathe their sighs

And roses bloom and music sound

Let passion burn on lips and eyes

And pleasures merry world go round

Let golden sunshine flood the sky



Bill Panagopulos, founder of Connecticut-based auctioneer Alexander Autographs, said Monday that an American collector outbid a European for the watch and case.

The gift was dated about the same time as Miss Monroe’s seductive cooing of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to Mr. Kennedy at his 1962 Madison Square Garden party in New York. The beaded dress she wore at that occasion sold for $1,267,500 in 1999.

Mr. Panagopulos said the watch was kept secret for decades. He said that documentation showed it was handed down through the family of Mr. Kennedy’s presidential aide, Kenneth O’Donnell, and that the president appeared uncomfortable with the gift.

A letter sold with the watch at Saturday’s auction, titled “The Unwanted Gift,” said, “This watch was given to my late father in 1962 by President Kennedy in person with the instruction ‘get rid of it.’”

Miss Monroe died of an overdose of barbiturates on Aug. 5, 1962.

Kennedy’s ‘rescue’

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy attempted to rescue six men who had become trapped by high tide on a jetty off Hyannisport, Mass., on Sunday.

The Massachusetts Democrat eventually left the rescue to Hyannis firefighters, the Cape Cod Times reported yesterday.

Mr. Kennedy was walking his two dogs on the shore at 11:15 a.m. when he spotted the men cut off from shore by the rising waters. They had been fishing on a jetty that begins at the tip of the Kennedy compound.

Tides had risen over the patchy rocks, which made it difficult to walk back to shore.

Mr. Kennedy and a friend tried to rescue the men using a 13-foot boat, but rough waters forced them back.

A crew from the Hyannis Fire Department picked them up. The men, in their 20s, were not identified, the Associated Press reports.

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

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