WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- Daily news notes, political rumors and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.
Decision day -- South Dakota Republicans say that Tuesday is the day on which retiring GOP Gov. Bill Janklow will announce whether he will be a candidate for the House seat being vacated by Rep. John Thune, R-S.D. Janklow, who served as governor from 1979 to 1986 and again from 1995 to the present, is prohibited from seeking another consecutive term in office by the state's term limit law.
According to several polls, Janklow would beat any of the announced candidates for his party's nomination and would easily win the state's lone House seat in November. What makes this all the more interesting is that Janklow's principal political rival, former GOP Sen. Larry Pressler, has already announced his bid for the seat that he held before being elected to the Senate in 1980. A number of people have suggested that Janklow's primary motivation for making the run is to keep Pressler from winning.
Should Janklow choose not to make the race, he would likely return to his law practice, though he would certainly be atop the short list of replacements for several high officials in the Bush Cabinet who may be leaving after the November elections.
Out -- Two longtime veterans of the U.S. House are calling it quits.
Rep. Robert Borski, D-Penn., who currently represents a district in and around Philadelphia, has chosen to retire rather than face off against fellow Democrat Rep. John M. Hoeffel. The two men were placed into the same congressional district in the decennial remap of the lines.
In Alabama, GOP Rep. Sonny Callahan is giving up his seat representing the voters of the state's 1st Congressional District. In office since 1984, Callahan holds a safe GOP seat in the southwestern part of the state.
Giving it back -- An audit of North Dakota GOP Gov. John Hoeven's campaign fund found several thousand dollars worth of contributions that are probably illegal under state law.
Hoeven ordered the funds, about $5,000, returned because they came from business accounts of some of his supporters. Under North Dakota law, corporate contributions to political campaigns are banned.
State law says such contributions are a misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail and a $2,000 fine if a candidate is found to have "knowingly" accepted such funds. Hoeven says he did not know the contributions were from corporate accounts until the audit discovered them.
Love of labor -- Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles has nabbed the support for both state House Speaker Jim Black, a fellow Democrat, and the North Carolina AFL-CIO in his race for U.S. Senate.
The endorsements give Bowles a substantial leg up on his two primary opponents, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and State Rep. Dan Blue in their battle to earn the right to challenge likely GOP nominee former Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole in the general election.
North Carolina media reports say the endorsement drew lots of complaints from Blue, who cited Bowles' support for NAFTA and presidential trade-promotion authority as reasons unionized workers should think twice about supporting him.
For his part, Bowles' campaign drew some unhelpful attention last week as the candidate trumpeted his credentials as a former White House chief of staff while explicitly avoiding any mention of which president he had served. For the record, Bowles held several important posts in the Clinton administration, including chief of staff, but Clinton was never very popular in the Tarheel State.
The cost of reform -- The directors of Phillips International, Inc.'s Political Action Committee -- Phillips PAC -- passed by unanimous vote a resolution barring contributions to any candidate who supported the McCain-Feingold or Shays-Meehan campaign finance bills. Phillips is a private publishing based in Potomac, Md., which provides a wide range of products and services for the investment and health marketplaces.
The Phillips PAC leadership expressed concerns about the campaign-finance reform bill's effect on free speech and citizen participation in the political process. They agreed with analysts who say the measure is an unconstitutional infringement of the First Amendment's guarantees on freedom of speech.
According to a release, "The 41 House Republicans who deserted their party to provide the Democrats' margin of victory on the Shays-Meehan bill last month were specifically cited by the Phillips PAC leaders as having forfeited their right to expect campaign contributions from the company's campaign fund."
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