John McCaslin

Unlike in past presidential campaigns, members of the Washington press corps have managed to steer clear of contributing — monetarily, at least — to the 2008 Republican and Democratic candidates.

Otherwise, Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama appears the favorite of those aligned with the press.

An Inside the Beltway review yesterday of Federal Election Commission records reveals no big names from the reporting wing of the Fourth Estate in any of the candidates' camps.

That said, entrepreneur David Bradley, chairman of the Atlantic Media Co., publisher of the Atlantic, National Journal, Congress Daily, Government Executive and the Hotline, and his wife, Katherine, listed as owner of the publishing empire, are clearly supporting Mr. Obama, having written at least four personal checks to the candidate totaling just under $10,000. (Mr. Bradley also gave $2,300 to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.)

Mr. Obama also has received contributions from John Fahey, president and chief executive officer of the National Geographic Society; Terrence B. Adamson, executive vice president of the National Geographic Society; John Stoltenberg, managing editor of AARP magazine; and Scott Winship, former managing editor of the Democratic Strategist.

Black and white

Imagine if Mitt Romney's church proclaimed on its Web site that it is "unashamedly white."

So begins an article posted yesterday by best-selling author Ronald Kessler, chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com, who guesses "the media would pounce, and Romney's presidential candidacy would be over. Yet that is exactly what Barack Obama's church says on its Web site — except in reverse."

"We are a congregation which is unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian," says the Trinity United Church of Christ's Web site in Chicago. "We are an African people and remain true to our native land, the mother continent, the cradle of civilization."

And that's "just the beginning," writes Mr. Kessler, a former reporter for the Boston Herald, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Hanky-panky

Creativity when attaching names to political action committees does not count towards leniency when fines are assessed by the Federal Election Commission. The "Big Tent Political Action Committee" and the "American Dream Political Action Committee" have both agreed to pay civil penalties totaling in the thousands of dollars for various campaign reporting violations.

Meanwhile, the FEC has accepted a plea agreement with Kenneth D. Phelps, in which he acknowledged commingling funds from the Lockheed Martin Employees' Political Action Committee (LMEPAC) with his own personal funds and failing to report disbursements made by the committee to him.

An FEC audit revealed Phelps embezzled $170,000 from LMEPAC while working as the committee's assistant treasurer. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered Phelps to pay more than $163,000 in restitution after he pleaded guilty to 12 counts of wire fraud and 12 counts of making false statements.

Found a taker

The government of Pakistan can use all the good publicity it can get these days, and now the online public relations source Odwyerpr.com reports that Ogilvy PR Worldwide has inked a minimum three-month contract to provide press relations services for the Embassy of Pakistan — price tag, $45,000 a month.

In November, the PR firm Cassidy & Associates chose to give up the $1.2 million single-year contract it had with the Washington embassy after President Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule in his country.

"Tailspin"

"She knew that she would win,
but she took it on the chin;
Now, she's lost the crown,
and she's going down,
still believing her own spin."

—F.R. Duplantier


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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