- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2008

FEC

Palin wins time to reveal finances

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin requested and received an extension on a deadline for revealing her personal finances, until the day after the Republican vice-presidential candidate’s only debate with her Democratic rival, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.

Mrs. Palin received a four-day extension Thursday from the Federal Election Commission. The federal financial disclosure report was initially due Monday. Now, Mrs. Palin has until Oct. 3, the day after her debate in St. Louis with Mr. Biden.

Presidential, vice-presidential and congressional candidates must all file ethics reports outlining their assets and liabilities. That includes such things as sources of income, real estate held for investment purposes, stocks and debt.

Trevor Potter, general counsel for the McCain-Palin campaign, told the FEC that the campaign initially thought it had until Oct. 4 to file the report.

PENTAGON

17 punished for nuke-fuse error

The Air Force and Army have disciplined 17 senior officers, including the three-star general in charge of logistics, for poor oversight in connection with the mistaken shipment of fuses for nuclear warheads to Taiwan.

Saying he could not ignore the “breaches of trust that occurred on their watch,” acting Air Force Secretary Michael Donley laid out what in some cases were career-ending punishments Thursday for six Air Force generals, ranging in rank from one to three stars, and nine colonels. Two Army two-star generals have also been disciplined.

Speaking to reporters during a Pentagon press briefing, Mr. Donley said that in taking into consideration the future needs of the Air Force, two major generals in the group have been asked to stay on in their jobs.

The Army, meanwhile, said it disciplined two brigadier generals who worked at the Defense Logistics Agency and were in charge of the military’s 26 shipping centers.

POLITICS

McCain’s absence irks Letterman

NEW YORK | “Late Show” host David Letterman treated Sen. John McCain’s decision to cancel an appearance on his talk show more like a stupid human trick than the act of a statesman.

The Republican presidential candidate said he was halting his campaign activities Wednesday, citing the need to deal with the nation’s financial crisis, and called Mr. Letterman to drop out of the show’s late-night lineup. On the air Wednesday night, Mr. Letterman assailed Mr. McCain’s rationale and, with prickly humor, questioned whether the nominee - now trailing in some polls - was in trouble.

“This doesn’t smell right,” Mr. Letterman said. “This is not the way a tested hero behaves. Somebody’s putting something in his Metamucil.”

McCain spokeswoman Nicole Wallace said Thursday that the campaign “felt this wasn’t a night for comedy.”

“We deeply regret offending Mr. Letterman, but our candidate’s priority at this moment is to focus on this crisis,” the spokeswoman said on NBC’s “Today” show.

HOUSE

Panel says GOP robbed in 2007 vote

Democrats messed up. Republicans were robbed.

It took a special House committee more than a year of investigating, at a cost of $500,000, to validate Republican claims that majority Democrats made the wrong call on a contested vote one late night in the summer of 2007. The dispute fed into the highly partisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill that continues to this day.

“One fact is indisputable,” according to the report Thursday by the six-member bipartisan panel. The final vote was “incorrect” on a procedural motion by Republicans intended to ensure illegal immigrants would not get certain benefits from an agriculture spending bill.

A “black eye” for Democrats, said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “When the Democratic leadership rigged the process to reverse the vote, they believed they would never get caught.”

Rep. Michael R. McNulty, New York Democrat., was running things in the House on Aug. 2, 2007. He first declared the vote over when it was a 214-214 tie, a victory for the Democrats. An instant later the electronic voting board showed a 215-213 tally, making Republicans the winners.

“Shame, shame, shame,” Republicans shouted before walking out when Mr. McNulty held the vote open for about seven more minutes - time for several Democrats to change their vote and provide their party with a clearer margin. Mr. McNulty later apologized for calling the vote prematurely.

AIRPORTS

Runway incidents rise, GAO reports

The rate of close calls on airport runways is up over last year and the risk of a collision is high, a government investigator said Thursday.

Gerald Dillingham, the Government Accountability Office’s top expert on aviation safety, told a House panel that even though the Federal Aviation Administration “has given a higher priority to runway safety” there were 24 of the most serious kinds of runway incursions - defined as an event in which any aircraft, vehicle or person intrudes in space reserved for takeoff or landing - in fiscal 2008.

That’s the same number of serious runway incursions as last year. But since air traffic operations have declined this year, the rate of serious incidents - measured by number of incidents per 1 million takeoffs and landings - increased 5 percent in the first three quarters of fiscal 2008, Mr. Dillingham told an aviation subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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