WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- News notes, political rumors and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.
Costs of compliance -- A landmark new study from the George Mason University Mercatus Center think tank concludes that U.S. manufacturers spent an average of $2.2 million per firm to comply with federal regulations in 2000. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, whose members participated in the survey, that works out to roughly $1,700 per worker -- equivalent to a 1.6 percent excise tax on products manufactured in the U.S. Workplace rules cost manufacturing $32 billion in 2000 -- exceeding previous estimates by at least 75 percent.
Leap of logic -- Writing for the World Socialist Web site, Jerry White asserts that the anthrax-laden letters sent to several Capitol Hill legislators were part of a plot by "right-wing elements" to assassinate political opponents of the president.
"Within political and media circles," White says, "it is generally conceded that the assassination plot was hatched by right-wing elements in the United States. In a barely reported comment last month Sen. (Tom) Daschle, (D-S.D.), told a CNN interviewer, almost in passing, that he believes the most likely suspect in the attacks was someone related to the U.S. military. But neither Daschle, (Sen. Patrick) Leahy, (D-Vt.), nor any other Democratic Party spokesman has sought to make an issue of this attempted political murder."
"As Senate Majority Leader," White says later in the piece, "Daschle is the most prominent Democratic officeholder and a possible challenger to Bush in the 2004 presidential elections. He has been the subject of a non-stop smear campaign ... designed to incite reactionary elements" that White says are tied to the U.S. military and the Republican Party.
Chicago-style politics? -- Wednesday's item about the nefarious doings against U.S. Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., in the primary campaign prompted an outpouring of additional information.
Sources in Chicago hold that what Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown calls "the often indicted never convicted" Shaw brothers are behind the effort to oust Jackson, an Illinois Democrat, through chicanery.
Fraternal twins Bill and Bob Shaw allegedly hired homeless people to circulate nominating petitions for "the other" Jesse L. Jackson and a case against them is pending in Circuit Court.
Last Thursday night, the Shaw brothers were served with subpoenas but "the other" Jesse L. Jackson could not be found. The toupee-wearing brothers are long-time West Side politicos who allegedly resent the congressman's father, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. for thwarting their local political ambitions in the South suburbs. More than one observer has called this Chicago-style politics at its worst.
I hear you knockin', but you can't come in -- NBC anchor Tom Brokaw reportedly had a bit of trouble getting in the White House on Wednesday. Brokaw doesn't have permanent White House credentials and was stopped at the security gate until a press office aide could clear him with the U.S. Secret Service. The thing is, Brokaw has been preparing a documentary on the Bush White House and spent a full day with the president last week. Guess the NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw is not must-see TV for the guards at the White House.
Task Force Enron -- Four Senate Democrats Wednesday called upon the White House to release information about Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force, whose report was used as a basis for the administration's pending energy legislation.
Reps. John Dingell, D-Mich., and Henry Waxman, D-Calif., asked the General Accounting Office to procure the records shortly after the report was released, after the administration refused to turn them over to the congressional Democrats who sought them. The GAO suspended its effort to obtain the records after the Sept. 11 terror attack on the United States.
"Who helped shape the administration's energy policy? How did participants get invited and what interests did they represent? What did they recommend? What changes did they request? The American public deserves answers to these questions," the foursome wrote.
The Senate has not yet passed an energy bill and a spirited debate could take place this year on the issue. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that Lieberman chairs is also investigating Enron's financial collapse.
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