UPI's Capital Comment for June 18, 2002

By United Press International  |  June 18, 2002 at 12:12 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 18 (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.

Help wanted -- According to an e-mail that came through the Capital Comment server on Monday, "The Democratic National Committee seeks a highly motivated young professional to work as a staff assistant to the office of the chairman."

Duties include: 1. Assisting the chief of staff on day-to-day responsibilities, such as keeping the daily and long-term schedule, logging phone calls, and working on miscellaneous projects. 2. Working closely with the chairman's executive assistant to help mange the day-to-day schedule, greet guests of the chairman and answering phones. 3. Serve as the chairman's office primary contact for all travel related issues working closely with the scheduler to coordinate the chairman's travel as well as handling all travel related arrangements for the chairman and staff. 4. Occasionally help with driving the chairman to in-town events, meetings, and appointments. The committee says, "Solid writing and interpersonal skills also important" and that salary is " commensurate with experience."

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? -- The California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, a potent political force in the Golden State, has endorsed Republican Bill Simon for governor, citing an increase in the state's crime rate and decreased funding for law enforcement under current governor Gray Davis, a Democrat. In 1998, COPS endorsed Davis for governor over the Republican candidate, then-state Attorney General Dan Lundgren.

The endorsement letter COPS sent to its membership explains the switch, saying, "Four years ago we supported Gray Davis, but upon careful review of his record, we have become totally disenchanted with him and his policies. We feel Gray Davis has shown a lack of leadership."

Vote early; vote often -- The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, is sponsoring a forum Wednesday on election reform and voter fraud. Missouri Republican Sen. Kit Bond, who has been leading the fight against voter fraud, will share his thoughts on where the issue stands in Congress currently. His remarks will be followed by a debate between John Fund of the Wall Street Journal and Hilary Shelton of the NAACP over the legislation currently under discussion and the implications it has for the American political system. The program begins at 12:30 p.m. and lunch will follow.

Democratic Party on! -- Leadership '02, a political group Al and Tipper Gore formed "to help give support, both financial and political, to candidates in key races across the country and to train young people interested in making a difference in politics," is hosting a blowout fundraiser at Lot 61 in New York City on June 27. The party, which is being called "LATE NIGHT WITH AL GORE" begins at 9:00 p.m. Admission is a suggested contribution of $50 -- but "Leadership '02 accepts checks or credit cards only!"

With friends like these -- The Federal Election Commission, which has just released the first draft of its proposed regulations concerning so-called "soft money" under which the McCain/Feingold/Shays/Meehan campaign contribution and spending legislation provisions will be implemented, has been under considerable fire from so-called reform proponents who say they fear the agency will administratively gut the bill.

On Monday Democracy 21, a liberal group led by former Common Cause head Fred Wertheimer, forewarned the agency "may well be about to embark on a course to gut the new soft money ban before it even has taken effect." Invoking Yankee great Yogi Berra, Wertheimer called the situation "déjà vu all over again," accusing commission members and lobbyists of pointing out loopholes in the new law.

"It's been a particularly extraordinary Washington spectacle to see Democratic Party lawyers hard at work urging the adoption of regulations to undermine the new campaign finance law that the Democratic leaders in Congress played a central role in enacting," Wertheimer wrote. "And on top of this, the lawyer for the Democratic National Committee is in court on behalf of a Democratic state party challenging the constitutionality of an essential part of the soft money ban -- a ban that his boss, DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, proudly and loudly proclaims he supports. If one didn't know better, one might just get the impression that hypocrisy is afoot in the nation's capitol," he said.

The draft, released Tuesday, appears to be tougher then Wertheimer predicted. The full commission votes on its adoption Wednesday.

Does this mean he's not running for president? -- The American Life League, which says it is "the nation's largest pro-life educational organization with more than 375,000 supporting families," sent out a news release Monday criticizing Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., for failing to bring a bipartisan ban on some kinds of human cloning to the floor for a vote.

The title of the press release was "Daschle Playing God by Delaying Human Cloning Vote."

In Gail we trust -- Interior Sec. Gail Norton meets Tuesday night with American Indian leaders in Bismarck, N.D., as part of ongoing consultations to review plans for improving the Department of the Interior's management of Indian trust assets. Members of the Joint Tribal Leaders/Interior Department Task Force on Trust Reform recently gave the secretary a report on their efforts to evaluate proposals from tribal groups on ways to improve Interior's management of Indian trust funds and assets that will be among the topics discussed at the meeting.

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