WASHINGTON, March 7 (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.
Bloody Kansas -- The fight for the nomination to succeed retiring GOP Gov. Bill Graves has moved into high gear as questions have arisen over campaign filings that show Atty. Gen. Carla Stovall has received between $14,000 and $20,000 from companies and individuals involved in the fight against Microsoft.
Stovall is one of only nine state attorneys general -- and only one of two Republicans -- who are contesting the Department of Justice's proposed settlement of the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit.
According to a report in the Topeka, Kan., Capital-Journal, "The California-based Oracle Corp. gave $2,000 to Stovall's gubernatorial campaign on Dec. 31, 2001. ... The company's political action committee contributed $2,000 on the same day." The paper also said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison contributed $2,000 and that Sun Microsystems gave $1,000 among other donations from the high tech sector.
The questions about the contributions from companies and executives who have been active opponents of Microsoft were raised, the paper said, by the campaign of Kansas State Treasurer Tim Shallenburger, who is challenging Stovall for the gubernatorial nomination.
Torchlight -- A new poll from Quinnipiac University has mixed news for embattled Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J. The survey of 1,005 registered voters shows Torricelli leading most potential GOP challengers by more than 50 percent. Only GOP State Sen. Diane Allen held him under 50 percent, coming in with 30 percent of the vote to 49 percent for the senator.
His approval rating should be less encouraging -- 41 percent of those surveyed registering a positive approval and 26 percent saying they disapproved of him. Only 43 percent said they thought him to be honest and trustworthy.
Republicans hope Torricelli's perceived ethical problems make him a ripe target for defeat. Seeking to exploit his weakness in that regard, party officials are reportedly discussing possible campaigns by Robert Ray, the independent counsel who is wrapping up his investigation of the Clinton White House and, according to one source, former FBI Director Louis Freeh.
Hemp rule stokes congressional critics -- A letter sent Thursday by 18 members of Congress to the Drug Enforcement Administration says a new rule interpretation, which bans edible hemp seed or oil items that contain any THC, is overly restrictive. The letter also urged the DEA to "establish realistic standards which take into account current testing technologies and better define trace levels of THC which are permissible for human use."
The letter was signed by Reps. George Miller, D-Calif., Ron Paul, R-Texas, Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., Barney Frank, D-Mass., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., Nick Rahall, D-W.V., Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., Martin Olav Sabo, D-Minn., Pete Stark, D-Calif., Robert Andrews, D-N.J., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Lynn Rivers, D-Mich., Connie Morella, R-Md., Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and Bill Clay, D-Mo.
"Members of Congress from every state have heard from upset constituents telling them that the DEA has misinterpreted the law that exempts highly nutritious hemp seed and oil from DEA's control," says Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a grassroots organization dedicated to the re-commercialization of industrial hemp. "Today's letter is evidence that some members of congress are responding positively to our grassroots efforts," says Steenstra.
In -- Newspaper publisher Jerry Brady will seek the Democrat nomination to take on Idaho GOP Gov. Dirk Kempthorne in November. Brady's great-grandfather was governor in 1909 and 1910. Kempthorne, who served as mayor of Boise, Idaho, and as a U.S. senator before becoming governor in 1998, is not expected to draw primary opposition.
Out -- Voters in a Tuesday recall election ousted Woodrow Stanley, the longtime mayor of Flint, Mich. With all precincts reporting, 56 percent of those voting opted to recall Stanley, who has served as mayor since 1991. City Administrator Darnell Earley will replace him immediately, serving until a new mayor is chosen.
Over -- Former California Secretary of State March Fong Eu lost her comeback bid in Tuesday's primary. Fong Eu, a Democrat, finished second in the primary to Kevin Shelley, the state assembly majority leader. Shelley faces off against Republican businessman Bob Olberg in the general election. Incumbent Bill Jones was defeated in his bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
On to November -- Longtime conservatives cheered the nomination of former California legislator Tom McClintock as the GOP candidate for state controller in the fall. McClintock carried the day against veteran Republican politico Dean Andal, winning 45.8 percent of the vote to Andal's 35.3 percent. Two other candidates split the remaining nearly 20 percent of the vote. McClintock will face Democratic National Committeeman Steve Westly in the general election. Incumbent Controller Kathleen Connell, a Democrat, is not seeking re-election.
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