Robert Novak

Baker's subcommittee focused on the recent federal indictment of the Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman law firm in connection with class-action lawsuits. The firm in recent years has contributed $2.78 million to Democratic candidates and $22,000 to Republicans.

The Financial Services Committee's top two Democrats -- Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania -- vigorously objected to a federal judge testifying about current defendants in a federal prosecution. Vaughn R. Walker, chief district judge for Northern California, gave the subcommittee his views on the indictments and Baker's legislation.


Independent, pro-labor candidate Bill Scheurer remained on the ballot after last Monday's deadline without challenge in the Chicago suburban congressional district where freshman Democratic Rep. Melissa Bean is a priority Republican target for 2006.

It had been widely expected that state House Speaker Mike Madigan, the Illinois Democratic chairman, would challenge Scheurer collection of the necessary 14,000 petition signatures for ballot access. Scheurer had filed a lawsuit alleging dirty tricks by Madigan and other Democratic leaders.

Bean was the most spectacular Democratic winner in the 2004 elections with a victory over Phil Crane, the senior Republican member of the House. She had considerable labor support in that campaign, but she lost Teamsters and state AFL-CIO backing after reneging on her campaign commitment to oppose the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Labor votes switching over to Scheurer would benefit the Republican candidate, investment banker David McSweeney.

Robert Novak

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

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