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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Top Lawyer Quits House Probe Says ‘Self-Promoting’ Actions Block Fund-Raising Investigation

The House inquiry into campaign fund-raising abuses was thrown into turmoil Tuesday when the committee's chief lawyer abruptly resigned, complaining he wasn't given the authority to run a "professional, credible investigation." At least one other investigator for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee also quit in support of chief counsel John P. Rowley.

Clinton Meets Gop Halfway On Tax Plan But Tells Republicans He Wants Tuition Aid

Professing his eagerness to work with Republicans on tax cuts, President Clinton on Monday offered a spate of important concessions but warned that the GOP must do much more to help the middle class. Clinton's new plan provides for significant capital-gains tax cuts, despite the administration's previous complaints that this GOP priority mostly benefits the rich while doing little to advance its ostensible goal of spurring investment.

Clinton Vows To Veto Cuts In Arts Funding

A House proposal to fund the National Endowment for the Arts at only $10 million next year has brought a threat from the White House that President Clinton might veto the whole $13 billion bill containing the measure. The NEA appropriation is part of larger bill that also provides money for the Interior Department and several other agencies. The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday cleared it for action on the House floor.

Microsoft Antitrust Deal Questioned Senators Seek Additional Investigation

A group of Republican senators, citing concerns that the Justice Department may have gone soft in its long investigation of Microsoft Corp., Friday asked the Federal Trade Commission to conduct its own antitrust probe of the world's largest personal computer software company. Montana Republican Sen. Conrad Burns and two other lawmakers made that request in a letter delivered to FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky. They said they've heard from computer manufacturers and other industry firms concerned about whether Justice's antitrust division is vigorously looking into complaints that Microsoft is violating the terms of a 1994 antitrust settlement.

Panel Backs Immunity In Finance Probe

A Senate committee Friday voted unanimously to initiate immunity grants for four witnesses, who would be compelled to testify about possibly illegal campaign donations to Democrats. In exchange for Democratic cooperation on authorizing the limited immunity, the panel's Republican chairman indicated he would look favorably on issuing more Democratic-requested subpoenas.

Even Site Of Hearing Stirs Controversy

The crowd that gathers for a U.S. Senate hearing on Saturday could fill every motel in this central Washington farm town. Could, that is, if there were any motels to fill. "Several people have contacted us, asking if there are spaces for RVs, and where are the motels," said Judy Esser, mayor of the town of 2,000. Like most people in town, Esser wants locals to control the Columbia River and the counties to decide the future of Wahluke Slope.

Agreement Reached On U.N. Debt Plan Would Pay $819 Million In Exchange For Reforms

After months of wrangling, the administration and key senators reached tentative agreement on a plan for the United States to repay $819 million in back debts to the United Nations in exchange for U.N. reform, officials said Wednesday. Under the plan, the money will be disbursed over a three-year period but only if the United Nations moves to cut both its personnel rolls and its budget.

Lawmaker Demands Data On Atm Costs

Armed with new evidence that surcharges for automated teller machines are increasing sharply, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee threatened ATM networks with subpoenas if they don't provide data on transaction costs. A spokesman for one of the biggest networks, Cirrus, said it does not have such information.

House Votes To Scuttle 2 Agencies

The House voted Wednesday to abolish two foreign affairs agencies, reorganize the State Department and reverse a trend of decreased funding for American diplomacy. The House, on a voice vote, approved a $6.1 billion authorization bill cluttered with a variety of foreign policy pronouncements, some strongly opposed by President Clinton.

Gop Eases Disaster Stand Provisions Clinton Vetoed To Be Removed, Softened, Members Say

Signaling retreat, congressional Republicans said Wednesday they stand ready to scrap or soften provisions that sparked President Clinton's veto of an $8.6 billion disaster aid bill. Determined to prevail, Democrats brought the Senate to a standstill for the second straight day. "We want people to know we're not going to give up" until there is agreement on a replacement bill, said the party's leader, Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

Relief Bill Included ‘Emergency’ Garage Funds For Cleveland

To flood-stricken citizens, the emergency disaster-relief bill meant billions of dollars in potential aid. To Republicans, it meant a chance to settle scores. But for lawmakers who mostly remain nameless, it also offered the opportunity to collect millions of dollars for dire emergencies such as a $12.3 million garage for a Veterans Affairs medical center in Cleveland, a study on why the cost of higher education continues to rise and the repair of a not-so-dilapidated theater in Ashland, Ky.

Ins Scares Migrants, Farmers Say Sen. Murray Received Reports Of Harassment, Coercion

Farmers whose harvests could hang in the balance say federal raids aimed at weeding out illegal aliens could frighten migrant workers away from Eastern Washington. "Hispanics think the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) and the Border Patrol have targeted this area, and that people don't want them here," said Jon Warling, an apple grower near Othello.

Official: Tribal Casinos Have Unfair Tax Edge

Building a case for new taxes on Indian gambling casinos, House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer said Sunday "unfair tax advantages" are partly responsible for the growth of the multibillion dollar Indian gaming industry. Archer, R-Texas, released a General Accounting Office study detailing the growth of Indian gambling casinos. He is to release a wide-ranging tax bill expected to include taxes on Indian gaming today.

Rep. Dunn Has 100 Votes Lined Up In Push For New House Position

Rep. Jennifer Dunn, R-Wash., said Friday she has the support of 100 House Republicans for a promotion to vice chairwoman of the House GOP conference. "I am optimistic. That doesn't mean I'll win it, but I am getting good responses," Dunn said during a break in telephoning all 228 House Republicans' offices.

Hanford Reach Hearing Deadline Friday

Time is short for people who want to tell senators their opinion of "wild and scenic" protection for Hanford Reach, one of the last free-flowing stretches of the Columbia River. The hearing, hosted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on June 21, at the middle school in Mattawa, a small central Washington town near the river. The deadline for applying to speak at that hearing is Friday.

If Census Uses Sampling, Gop Loses To Protect House Edge, Gingrich Reverses ‘91 Stance On Counting

Tending to the interests of his home state a few years ago, Republican Rep. Newt Gingrich asked the Census Bureau to fix an undercount of more than 200,000 people in Georgia. "I strongly urge you to adjust Georgia's population figures to reflect the correct population," he wrote then-Commerce Secretary Robert A. Mosbacher in 1991. He added that without the change, "minority voting strength in Georgia will be seriously diluted."