Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- On the same day in 1999 that retired diplomat Joseph Wilson was returned $1,000 of $2,000 he contributed to Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore a month earlier because it exceeded the federal limit, his CIA-employee wife gave $1,000 to Gore using a fictitious identification for herself.

In making her April 22, 1999, contribution, Valerie E. Wilson identified herself as an "analyst" with "Brewster-Jennings & Associates." No such firm is listed anywhere, but the late Brewster Jennings was president of Socony-Vacuum oil company a half-century ago. Any CIA employee working under "non-official cover" always is listed with a real firm, but never an imaginary one.

A footnote: In July when he revealed himself as author of a report commissioned by the CIA, Wilson sought a book agent. After being turned down by a prominent agent, he has now found one.

DASCHLE RUNS AGAIN

Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle ended months of speculation last week by informing close supporters that he will seek re-election for a fourth term in South Dakota next year.

Daschle's supporters are confident former Rep. John Thune will not be the Republican Senate candidate despite White House pleas for him to run. A Daschle-Thune contest is a tossup according to polls, but Daschle would be prohibitively favored against anybody else.

A footnote: According to close associates, Daschle nearly announced his candidacy for president this year but decided against it because his wife Linda, a prominent Washington lobbyist, would be subject to personal attacks.

DIANE VS. ARNOLD?

Close associates of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, considered California's most popular political figure, say she will not challenge Arnold Schwarzenegger for a full term as governor in 2006 even if the Republican actor is elected Tuesday.

These sources also say the 70-year-old former mayor of San Francisco will seek a third Senate term in 2006, ending months of speculation on that point.

A footnote: State Atty. Gen. William Lockyer, who has been building a war chest for years, is considered the most likely Democrat to oppose Schwarzenegger in 2006 if he is elected. Lockyer was shut out of the recall election when Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante jumped in.

ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS

Behind the Democratic boycott Wednesday of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the party's leadership is at the least trying to extend debate over whether Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt should head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) well into the election year.


Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.
 

 
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