John McCaslin

Rep. Steve Kagen, Wisconsin Democrat, issued the unusual plea for counseling late last week, after the owner of a paper company in the Wisconsin town of Niagara, population 1,900, announced that all of the mill's 319 papermaking jobs would be eliminated.

"The mill is closing. Period. It's gone," said the congressman, who points out that the company is the town's primary source of income and tax base. "And as Niagara goes, so goes our nation."

More fair

Number of federal observers sent by the Justice Department to monitor elections during the 2000 presidential calendar year: 750.

Number of federal observers sent to monitor elections during the 2004 presidential calendar year: 1,996.

Source: Department of Justice

Packing it up

One thing's for certain about federally registered political action committees (PACs): They come and go.

Since Jan. 1, 2007, we learned yesterday, 370 new PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission, while 319 ended their federal activity and terminated. As of this month, there are 4,234 registered PACs across the country.

John McCaslin

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

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