John McCaslin
MONEY DOESN'T PAY Most, if not all, senators on Capitol Hill are offended, quite frankly, at the suggestion that minus campaign finance reform they are not to be trusted. "The idea that every time there is a dollar out there you change your vote is ridiculous," says Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY). While Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) recalls how in 1907 Teddy Roosevelt got burned by revelations that Wall Street corporations had given millions of dollars to his 1904 campaign. Of course, notes Schumer, one of Roosevelt's famous wealthy supporters, Henry Clay Frick, came to despise the president for his progressivism, saying: "We bought the S.O.B., but he didn't stay bought." BANKROLLING JESSE The Capitol Research Center has just issued a special report on Jesse Jackson's empire, raising questions about accounting and accountability. According to the report's author, Patrick J. Reilly, any Internal Revenue Service audits are the least of Jackson's worries. "His network has survived audits, fines and lawsuits," Reilly points out. "What is most likely to topple Jackson is neither political embarrassments nor government oversight. It's a steep decline in corporate donations. "Corporate money made possible the dramatic growth of Jackson's nonprofits in recent years; if it dries up, so will Jackson's empire." Among the major donors to Jackson's organizations: America Online, American Honda Motors, Anheuser Busch, Archer Daniels Midland, AT&T, Bell Atlantic, Boeing, BMW of America, BP Amoco, Burger King Corp., Chase Manhattan Corp., Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, Coca-Cola Co., Coors, DaimlerChrysler, Delta Air Lines, Denny's, DuPont, Fannie Mae, Food Lion, Ford Motor Co., Freddie Mac, General Motors Corp. Also included are: Gap, Goldman Sachs Group, GTE Service Corp., HBO, Lehman Brothers Inc., Lockheed Martin, Major League Baseball, McDonald's, Mercedes-Benz, Merrill Lynch & Co., Metropolitan Life, Microsoft Corp., Miller Brewing Co., Mitsubishi Motor Corp., Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, NASCAR, New York Stock Exchange, Nissan Corp., Office Depot, Paine Webber, Panasonic, PepsiCo., Philip Morris, Prudential Insurance and Securities, Quaker Oats Co., Safeway Corp., Sara Lee Corp., Shell Oil, Salomon Smith Barney, Shoneys Corp., Slim Fast Industries, Sony Electronics, Sprint, State Farm Insurance, Texaco Inc., Time Warner Corp., Toyota, United Airlines, Wal-Mart and Walt Disney Co. PEOPLE'S PARTY "I knew it would boil down to this," writes reader Ray Berry Jr., of De Soto, Mo., referring to the ongoing congressional debate over competing tax-cut proposals. "Under the Republican tax proposal, some taxpayers would get a Lexus and some would get a muffler. Under the Democrats' tax proposal, everybody gets a muffler." FUNNY GIRL Barbra Streisand's latest hit isn't a song but a scolding memo, attacking Democratic leaders in Congress, of all comrades, for sitting on their butts. "What has happened to the Democrats since the November election? Some of you seem paralyzed, demoralized and depressed," Babs writes in her latest congressional missive, this one three pages long. "I hope you're through arguing among yourselves and distancing yourselves from President Clinton." Instead, Clinton's longtime cheerleader says Democrats should have one goal - to win back the House, Senate and presidency. "Unless we win, we'll be consistently on the defensive with our fingers holding the dyke against the Republican revolution," she warns. "This is not a time to be weak." Leading by example, she then blasts President Bush for turning out to be "exactly the man we knew he was - someone who goes back on his word." "We have a president who stole the presidency through family ties, arrogance and intimidation, employing Republican operatives to exercise the tactics of voter fraud by disenfranchising thousands of blacks, elderly Jews and other minorities," she charges. And instead of focusing on Clinton's controversial list of eleventh-hour presidential pardons, she says to "talk about Republican pardons" instead. She accuses Bush of filling his first months in office "with shameless quid pro quos and paybacks," and points a finger at his father, former President Bush, for "pardoning those linked to him in the Iran-Contra scandal." As Babs says for herself: "Just being nice doesn't work." The Democratic leadership officials we spoke to about the memo smiled. CITIZEN WATCHDOGS Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta is coming to Washington Wednesday to start a Web-based utility providing a first-of-its-kind public access to federal government expenditures at the state and congressional district levels. An authority on national budget matters, Panetta is chairman of the Center for National Policy, which is overseeing the project. NIXON OPENING If you're patient enough, Uncle Sam will let you read almost anything. Thirty years after the fact, the National Archives and Records Administration on Thursday will open approximately 100,000 pages from the Nixon presidency, the majority being National Security Council materials. The newly declassified documents highlight some of the most significant foreign-policy initiatives of the Nixon administration, including the opening to China and the end of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Included are memoranda of secret negotiations between Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho. Kissinger at the time was assistant to the president for national security affairs. Other memoranda consists of myriad conversations between President Nixon and world leaders, including Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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