Robert Novak

The "pork" sponsored by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa that House Speaker Dennis Hastert claimed has been holding up passage of an energy bill is a proposed indoor rainforest near Coralville, Iowa.

Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is insisting on legislation to permit tax-exempt bonds. Grassley contends that the Iowa project is one of five similar ventures, with locations in Syracuse, N.Y., Shreveport, La., Lakewood, Colo., and Atlanta.

The Iowa rainforest, called the Iowa Child Project, was proposed by Ted Townsend, a Des Moines businessman who has contributed mostly to Republicans (including Grassley).


Dan Lungren's attempted political comeback by running for Congress from California next year is facing opposition from conservatives who blame his failed campaign for governor in 1998 for Democrat Gray Davis's election.

As a 10-year congressman and two-term state attorney general, Lungren was considered a national Republican comer until his disastrous gubernatorial candidacy. He announced last week as a candidate for Congress from a heavily Republican Sacramento district where conservative Rep. Doug Ose is not seeking re-election. State Sen. Rico Oller, a conservative who began running for Ose's seat months ago, is considered the favorite against Lungren in the primary.

Well-known in Washington, Lungren has begun fund-raising in the capital with a mailing to leading Republican lobbyists. He has hired Sheri Lee Norris as his Washington fund-raising consultant.

Robert Novak

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

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