Who Gave?

John McCaslin

3/13/2009 11:10:55 AM - John McCaslin

Bernard Madoff, ordered jailed Thursday after admitting that he masterminded the largest Ponzi scheme in history, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to mostly Democratic Party candidates.

Lindsay Renick Mayer of the Center for Responsive Politics reveals that Madoff and his wife, Ruth, forked over $238,200 to federal candidates, parties and committees since 1991, and Democrats banked 88 percent of the share.

Big recipients of Madoff cash: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ($102,000); New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer ($12,000); New Jersey Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg ($8,600); former New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton ($2,000); New York Rep. Charles B. Rangel ($2,000); Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd ($1,500); Massachusetts Rep. Edward J. Markey ($10,000); and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden ($13,000).

OBAMA'S RUSH

"Americans didn't vote for a Rush to failure" is the winning slogan the Democratic National Committee will glue to a giant billboard in Rush Limbaugh's hometown.

The slogan was submitted by William C. of Camden, N.J., and "will let Rush and the Republicans who've decided to follow his lead know that Americans aren't hoping for failure," says the DNC, which sponsored the billboard contest. Tens of thousands of Americans participated.

An earlier Inside the Beltway item on the DNC's contest similarly generated considerable response among our readers who support Mr. Limbaugh and the Republican Party.

Pat Root of suburban Maryland writes: "I had some ideas of my own for the billboard: 'Americans didn't vote for a Rush to failure, but that's what we got.' "

NO SMALL CHANGE

Bill Marriott, chairman and CEO of Bethesda-based Marriott International, Inc., was one of a dozen travel industry leaders to meet with President Obama this week about the need to welcome more international visitors to America.

In addition, the group expressed concerns about a dramatic nationwide downturn in convention-style meetings and events, stretching from the nation's capital to Las Vegas.

Employing 7.7 million Americans, and in a good year generating more than $740 billion in spending, the travel industry is urging passage of the Travel Promotion Act, which seeks to attract millions of additional foreign visitors to the United States (who, by the way, spend $4,000 per person per visit).

GOING ABROAD

For Americans wishing to travel abroad, a U.S. passport is required - now "one of the most secure travel documents produced anywhere in the world."

So boasts the State Department, which after the 2001 terrorist attacks began issuing new state-of-the-art passports with digitized images and other enhanced security features. And because the new technology wasn't available at U.S. embassies, previous overseas passport issuance is now transferred to a single processing center - in Portsmouth, N.H.

More and more Americans, meanwhile, are being issued U.S. passports. Inside the Beltway on Thursday obtained new statistics showing more than 16.2 million passports were issued in 2008. This is up from 8.8 million issued in 2004.

GO FIGURE?

Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says President Obama indirectly attacked his own nominee for White House science adviser - John P. Holdren - when signing a presidential memorandum this week on protecting scientific integrity in government policy.

How so?

Mr. Obama said the memorandum "is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda - and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology."

Says Mr. Ebell: "President Obama's goal is laudable, yet the scientist he wants to put in charge of implementing this memorandum ... is the very model of a scientist who puts his political agenda ahead of sound science."

The CEI director charges that Mr. Holdren has, of late, "distorted, concealed, exaggerated, and misrepresented the scientific data in order to promote his extreme global warming and energy-rationing agenda."