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Most of the provisions of Proposition 4, approved by voters last year and designed to encourage lawmakers to enact term limits on members of Congress, are unconstitutional, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled Thursday. All five justices said the initiative, pushed by Citizens for Federal Term Limits, was unconstitutional, although Justice Cathy Silak used different grounds for reaching that conclusion.
Republican Sen. Larry Craig's political operatives have revised the financial disclosure statement to resolve questions about transactions reported in the final month of the 1996 campaign. Campaign treasurer Kaye O'Riordan also told the Federal Election Commission that future reports will specifically identify businesses paid by credit card rather than listing only the monthly payment to the credit card company.
Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, is proud of his support from timber companies and won't grant an environmental group's request he return $107,000 in campaign contributions from the industry, his spokesman said Friday. "Senator Craig doesn't apologize for receiving contributions from groups that provide jobs and incomes for families and hundreds of western communities," said the Idaho Republican's spokesman, Michael Franzen.
An Eastern Washington businessman will pay a $52,500 fine for violating campaign finance laws while backing Republican Dale Foreman in last year's governor's race. The state Public Disclosure Commission voted 3-0 Tuesday to accept a settlement negotiated between the commission staff and Othello potato tycoon Pete Taggares Sr.
As the Democratic campaign fund-raising controversy intensifies, a Republican group is being pressed to defend a solicitation letter that offers a program of private dinners and sessions with top GOP lawmakers and committee chairpeople in exchange for different levels of political contributions. Offering donors "an unprecedented level of dialogue with House Republicans and party leaders," the mailing was produced last year to promote the Congressional Forum and House Council, fund-raising programs operated by the National Republican Congressional Committee.
A state investigation into illegal campaign contributions from an Eastern Washington potato magnate raises questions about similar donations to Rep. George Nethercutt's 1994 campaign. Peter Taggares Sr. of Othello agreed this week to pay a record $52,500 fine after a yearlong Public Disclosure Commission investigation.
The chairman of a House panel investigating Democratic Party fund raising said Friday that he would seek contempt citations against two former Clinton administration officials for refusing to hand over subpoenaed documents. The chairman, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., said he would ask the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee to consider contempt of Congress charges against Webster L. Hubbell, the former associate attorney general convicted of fraud, and John Huang, the former Commerce Department official who became a Democratic National Committee vice chairman.
An internal audit commissioned by the Democratic National Committee in the wake of questions about the party's presidential-year fund raising has identified additional contributions that will be returned, the party announced Friday. The new Democratic general chairman, Gov. Roy Romer of Colorado, said through his spokeswoman that the Democrats would give back more funds because the sources of the money were either "unverifiable or improper."
The Democratic and Republican parties raised an unprecedented $263.5 million campaign in largely unregulated "soft money" donations during the two-year cycle leading up to last year's election, a research organization reported Sunday. The total was almost three times the $89 million the parties collected for the 1991-92 campaign, and roughly 2 times the $106.4 million donated in 1993-94, the organization said in a report being made public today.
Congressional Republicans, citing reports that the Democratic campaign fund-raising controversy may be spreading to include foreign espionage, are vastly increasing the scope of their budding investigations. Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, said Sunday that his inquiry was "going to look into every area where there is a possibility of illegal activity as far as influence-peddling, illegal contributions, possible involvement of White House personnel, and things like that."
Gov. Gary Locke says he won't be returning campaign contributions he received from John Huang, a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser at the center of controversy in the nation's capital. Huang has been subpoenaed by Congress and is under investigation by the FBI for his part in soliciting more than $1 million in donations that were inappropriate or illegal because they came from foreign sources.
Out-of-state contributors will be tapped to help retire U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's $168,000 campaign debt. "People in Idaho were so supportive and gave in record numbers," said Mike Reynoldson, Craig's 1996 campaign manager. "I think we will focus on people outside the state."
More than 200 non-citizens who were registered to vote by an immigrant rights group may have voted illegally in the House race in which Republican Rep. Bob Dornan lost a bid for a 10th term, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. The newspaper found that the names of 374 people who registered to vote at Hermandad Mexicana Nacional matched the names of people whom Hermandad said were not yet citizens, the Times said. Of those, the newspaper said, 220 matched the names of people who voted on Nov. 5.
Republican Sen. Larry Craig, who has based his 16-year congressional career on pursuing a balanced federal budget, ended his successful 1996 re-election campaign more than $181,000 in the red. Year-end campaign finance disclosure statements filed with the state Friday also showed discrepancies from previous filings on Craig's political debt. The report drops business creditors without any record they were paid, raising the possibility of illegal contributions from businesses.
The Clinton White House, in its electionyear preoccupation with winning ethnic-group support, drew up a plan that said Republicans should be portrayed as "enemies of civil rights" because many blacks were unenthusiastic about Democrats, according to documents released Friday. The plan to firm up the black vote, as well as another for wooing voters with disabilities, was prepared partly at taxpayer expense, which is illegal.
Big business gave record sums of money to Republicans in the last election, but GOP Chairman Haley Barbour wants more. Barbour is particularly unhappy with the Business Roundtable, a group of 200 chief executives from the nation's biggest companies. If they don't come around, Barbour hinted Thursday, access to Republicans in Congress may be curtailed.
The battle for control of Congress pushed the price for the fall elections to a new high of $626.4 million. Congressional candidates in the general election alone spent $36.8 million, or 6.3 percent, more than they did in the previous record year of 1994, the Federal Election Commission reported Tuesday.
Rep. Robert Dornan, who was defeated in the November election, filed his official challenge Thursday in Congress, calling for a new election on grounds of voter fraud. Dornan, one of the loudest and most conservative Republicans in the House, was defeated in his Orange County district by newcomer Loretta Sanchez. A recount showed Sanchez, a Democrat, won by 979 votes.
For the first time in modern Idaho political campaigns, the state Democratic Party dramatically outspent its typically well-heeled Republican opponent. But the party trying to avoid a permanent assignment to the history books seems to have gotten nothing for the $2.1 million it raised and spent during the two years leading up to the Nov. 5 election. Idaho Democratic leaders admitted they needed a major win last month to begin the road back from 1994's defeat, the worst in two generations. But not only did the party come away without any big GOP trophy, it suffered additional losses in the state Legislature already the nation's most Republican. "They have not submitted ideas which were worthy of the consideration of the people of Idaho," was the way Republican Gov. Phil Batt's assessed the outcome.
Newt: 'Save the poor' WASHINGTON House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on fellow conservatives and Republicans Tuesday night not to "fixate" on White House scandals but to make saving the poor of the U.S. capital a top priority for the next two years. In his first extended preview of the new Congress, the Georgia lawmaker told a dinner hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation that the House would give President Clinton's budget a "fair hearing" and work with him "if he governs on the principles he campaigned on - balanced budget, welfare reform, stop drugs, targeted tax cuts."