- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ethics probe?

The Fraternal Order of Police and the Capitol Hill Police said yesterday that they will ask Congress to investigate a March incident in which Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney struck a police officer who tried to stop her from entering a House office building.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday that a grand jury decided not to bring charges against the Georgia Democrat. The decision prompted outrage from the two law-enforcement groups, and they plan to write a letter later this week to the House ethics committee, reports Amy Fagan of The Washington Times.

“We hope that members of Congress will review her actions in light of their own rules within the ethics committee,” said Andrew Maybo, chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee. He said that if a police officer had assaulted someone, “we would face administrative action,” and that she should be held to the same standard.

“It is wrong to assault a law-enforcement officer … no matter what your status,” said Lou Cannon, president of the FOP’s D.C. chapter.

Members of Congress are allowed to bypass metal detectors, but Mrs. McKinney was not wearing her member-of-Congress pin, and her new hairstyle prevented the officer, who called on her to stop three times, from recognizing her. Mrs. McKinney initially described the incident as “racial profiling” but later apologized for striking him.

Abortion vote

Voters will have the final say on South Dakota’s tough new law that bans almost all abortions.

Secretary of State Chris Nelson said yesterday that the law’s opponents had collected enough signatures to put a question on the Nov. 7 ballot asking voters whether the law should go into effect as planned or be dumped.

The state’s abortion law, among the strictest in the nation, bans the procedure in all cases except when necessary to save a woman’s life, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Supporters hoped it would prompt a court challenge that would give the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to overturn its 1973 Roe. v. Wade decision that made abortion a constitutional right.

Instead of challenging it in court, opponents, who argue the law is extreme, gathered enough petition signatures to put the question directly to voters. A coalition of groups opposed to the law turned in about 38,000 petition signatures on May 30 to put the question on the ballot. The Secretary of State’s Office determined that the petitions contained the 16,728 valid signatures that were required, the Associated Press reports.

The Legislature passed the measure, and the governor signed it in March. It was scheduled to take effect July 1, but is on hold pending the outcome of the public vote.

Bipartisan appeal

Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman says he works with Republicans and he’s proud of it.

The three-term Connecticut senator faces criticism from some state Democrats and primary challenger Ned Lamont, who contend that Mr. Lieberman is too close to President Bush and the Republican Party on the Iraq war and other issues.

Mr. Lieberman answered yesterday, defending his work with Republicans and arguing that Mr. Lamont, if elected, would add to the political polarization in the capital, the Associated Press reports.

“Washington has become much too partisan, and that partisanship gets in the way of doing the job that you send us to do,” Mr. Lieberman said.

Mr. Lieberman dismissed a question about whether he is taking a risk by boasting about his bipartisanship, especially with the Aug. 8 primary looming and Mr. Lamont gaining in the polls, though still down by double digits.

“I’m telling the truth,” Mr. Lieberman told reporters. “Whether it’s risky or not, I don’t know.”

Shaky assumptions

“During last week’s congressional debate over the war in Iraq, critics of the Bush administration’s policy made three arguments: that President Bush more or less lied when claiming [Iraqi dictator] Saddam Hussein was a threat to the U.S., there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and that no progress is being made in the war there,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“All three assumptions rest on shaky ground, so it is remarkable how much critics have seized on them with such fervor and certainty — the very vices of which they accuse the war’s supporters. Indeed, one wonders how Democrats would react if real evidence of weapons of mass destruction, say the discovery of chemical weapon shells, surfaced. Would they step back and re-evaluate their assumptions, or would they accuse the Bush administration of planting the evidence as part of a Karl Rove-inspired pre-election dirty trick? Far from politics ending at the water’s edge, today’s partisan battles seem to take on added ferocity when they concern foreign policy.”

Billboard project

Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist has announced a nationwide billboard campaign to bring attention to illegal entry, starting with those members of the U.S. Senate who have expressed support for amnesty for illegal aliens, the group said.

The first state to be targeted is Arizona, home of Republican Sen. John McCain, who joined Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, in co-sponsoring what became the basis of the Senate-passed bill, which the group calls amnesty.

“Senator McCain has been one of the most outspoken supporters of amnesty for illegal aliens,” Mr. Gilchrist said. “It is time we sent a message to McCain and any other senator who decides to ignore the overwhelming majority of Americans: We will not sit by and watch you sell out our country. There will be a price to pay when you run for re-election or higher office.”

Challenger emerges

The chairman of the Durham County, N.C., Republican Party plans to run against the district attorney prosecuting three Duke lacrosse players charged with rape, saying many people are unhappy with how Mike Nifong is handling the case, the Associated Press reports.

No Republicans ran in last month’s primary election, in which Mr. Nifong defeated two Democratic challengers. County Republican Party Chairman Steve Monks, a lawyer, said he will have to file a petition with 6,500 signatures by the end of June to appear on the November ballot.

Mr. Monks has no experience as a prosecutor and has never run for elected office. Still, he said it was important that someone challenge Mr. Nifong.

“Everybody in Durham is torn up about this case,” Mr. Monks said. “We don’t know if justice is being served.”

Durham County Commissioner Lewis Cheek also has said he is considering a write-in campaign.

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

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