Reno Stands Squarely Behind Freeh
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 27) -- Attorney General Janet Reno offered full support today to FBI Director Louis Freeh, who blocked an attempt by the White House to obtain sensitive information about China's possible involvement in the U.S. political process. "I have every confidence in Director Freeh," Reno said at her weekly briefing. "I have watched him deal with some of the most sensitive and important issues that we face in this country, and he has done so with firm determination to pursue to truth, to get to the right answer and to make sure that steps were taken to insure that justice is done." Reno said she was "very satisfied" that Freeh had balanced law enforcement and national security issues in making his decision about the China information. Later in the day, President Bill Clinton weighed in, saying he thought that "doubts should be resolved in favor of disclosure to the National Security Council of essential national security information." But he added that Reno has to resolve conflicts "and I trust her to do it. And so, what she said is fine by me."
Maine Lawmakers Say No To Gay Marriage
AUGUSTA, Maine (AllPolitics, March 27) -- Maine lawmakers have resoundingly approved a measure to ban gay marriages, avoiding a referendum campaign this fall. The Maine Senate voted 24-10 on Wednesday for the ban, just one day after the House voted 106-39. "The people of the state of Maine, now represented by their political leaders, have wisely moved to protect the institution of marriage from the marauding of opportunistic gay activists," said Carolyn Cosby. Her group, Concerned Maine Families, led the petition drive to put the issue before the legislature. But critics called the drive a fear campaign. "The definition (of marriage) is changing," said Democratic Sen. Susan Longley, adding that the fitness of a person to be a parent "has nothing to do with sexual orientation." Maine is the 18th state to forbid gay marriage. Gov. Angus King has no plans to veto the measure.
Magaziner Makes A Comeback
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 27) -- Ira Magaziner, the presidential advisor who advocated a big new bureaucracy when he worked on President Bill Clinton's failed health care plan, suggests a different approach for the Internet: self-regulation, a market-oriented approach and no new taxes. Magaziner leads a government task force looking at global electronic commerce on the Internet, and a final report is due in a few weeks. Magaziner said there is no contradiction in suggesting such different approaches, given the differences between the health care industry and the Internet. And he doesn't see his own situation as any sort of redemption. "You move on and try something else," Magaziner said.
Grand Jury Looks At Teamsters Election
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 27) -- A federal grand jury is looking at whether Teamsters President Ron Carey's re-election campaign accepted illegal contributions, sources say. Investigators are interested in a $95,000 contribution that Carey got from the wife of a telemarketer who had done work for the union. The Boston Herald reported on Wednesday that Barbara Arnold, of Carlisle, Mass., made the donation while her husband, Michael Ansara, was working for the Teamsters. His firm is Ansara's Share Group, a Somerville, Mass. telemarketing firm. Carey has returned $221,000 in disputed contributions, and a lawyer representing Carey's campaign has reportedly resigned because of the campaign finance controversy. The man who Carey defeated, James P. Hoffa, has called for the election results to be set aside.
Giuliani's Prospects Look Good
NEW YORK (AllPolitics, March 27) -- New York voters like the job that Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is doing, and his approval rating stands at an all-time high, according to a new poll. But the Quinnipiac College survey also showed most voters do not like Giuliani. Only 44 percent said the Republican mayor had a "likeable personality," while 67 percent approve of his performance as mayor. Giuliani takes much of the credit for the recent drop in the city's crime rate. The numbers are based on interviews with 901 city residents who said they were registered voters. The March 19-25 survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
'Shakedown' Probe Moves Fast
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 27) -- The Justice Department has scheduled a grand jury appearance next week for the lobbyist who has accused Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) of threatening him with loss of work if he didn't raise $5,000 for Burton's re-election campaign. Plato Cacheris, attorney for lobbyist Mark A. Siegel, said Siegel and one of his client's employees, Brian Sailer, will testify next Wednesday. Siegel, a longtime Democratic activist and a former lobbyist for the government of Pakistan, has alleged that Burton threatened him and contacted Pakistani officials to express his anger that Siegel had not raised enough money for his campaign. The probe is moving quickly; The Washington Post first reported on Siegel's memo only last week. Burton chairs the House committee looking at Democratic fund-raising abuses.
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