In TIME This Week:
The Notebook: Donorgate Continues
Behind The Blunder, A Bid For Influence?
(TIME, November 3) -- When historians hunt for telling moments in the 1996 Donorgate scandal, they may point to a White House coffee in December 1995 when would-be giver RUBEN VELEZ, apparently unaware of the law against contributing in the Executive Mansion, tried to hand over five checks. Velez, Puerto Rico's biggest builder, may have had more than protocol on his mind.
According to interviews and documents obtained by TIME, Velez was angling to buy prime real estate in downtown San Juan, a sale that required approval of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Velez denies that the checks, written by friends and business allies, were intended to strengthen his hand in negotiations with HUD. Nor was that the purpose of a $50,000 donation to the Democratic Party in May 1996. Still, two months later hud granted him tentative approval to buy the site on an installment plan. But when ANDREW CUOMO became HUD Secretary after the election, the deal was undone. Cuomo demanded payment in full. Disappointed but undaunted, Velez has renewed his bid, this time teamed with a new lobbyist, MICHAEL BROWN, son of the late Democratic Party chief and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown.
--By Michael Weisskopf/Washington
The Drug War: Colombia's Front Runner Is Not Our Kind Of Guy
Clinton drug czar BARRY MCCAFFREY drew flak last week when he visited Colombia President ERNESTO SAMPER, who had been sanctioned by the U.S. for allegedly taking campaign funds from the Cali cartel. But in private, the retired general signaled to key members of the ruling Liberal Party that relations with the U.S. will continue to be strained if the party's presidential nominee for the May 1998 elections is the current front runner, former Interior Minister HORACIO SERPA URIBE, one of the men who took responsibility for letting the drug money into Samper's campaign. "We desperately look forward," McCaffrey told reporters, "to working with a man or woman who is talented and a person of high integrity." Privately, McCaffrey has made it clear that Serpa is not on that list.
--By Elaine Shannon/Washington
Cyberspace: The V Chip, Coming To A Computer Near You
If you hated the idea of a V chip in your television, wait until you hear that the government wants to install one in your computer. TIME has learned that the FCC has proposed that new PCs be outfitted with a V chip to filter out video violence and sex. Still unclear is what Net broadcasts could be affected. The idea alarms free-speech advocates, who wonder why Americans need a Net-nanny. "What you get is a devolution of the First Amendment," argues lawyer Bob Corn-Revere. FCC chairman REED HUNDT says the high-tech industry can "be part of the process" as the agency sets rules. There's a low-tech alternative: the off switch.
--By Declan McCullagh/Washington
Copyright © 1997 AllPolitics All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this information is provided to you.