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Archive for August 30th, 2006

Taxpayers pay for Bush’s campaign travel


WASHINGTON – Bankrolled almost entirely by taxpayers, President Bush is roaming far and wide on Air Force One to help Republicans retain control of Congress and capture statehouse contests in high-stakes midterm elections.

In 15 months, including back-to-back fundraisers Wednesday in Little Rock, Ark., and Nashville, Tenn., Bush has collected $166 million for the campaign accounts of 27 Republican candidates, the national GOP and its state counterparts across the country, according to the
Republican National Committee.

High-dollar Washington galas headlined by the fundraiser-in-chief brought in a big share of the total. The president also has scooped up campaign cash in 36 cities, travels that have taken him as near as McLean, Va., in the Washington suburbs and as far as Medina, Wash., 2,800 miles to the west. On Thursday, Bush adds yet another locale to the list: Salt Lake City.

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Ohio officials will soon begin destroying the paper ballots from the 2004 presidential election despite objections from voter rights groups.
“Soon after the 2004 presidential election, questions emerged about how votes were tallied in Ohio, a battleground state that delivered the presidency to George W. Bush,” Ian Urbina writes in a story slated for the New York Times.
“Now, following a routine procedure, state officials are preparing to destroy the paper ballots from the election,” writes Urbina.

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Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) — Rising prices and profits translated into pay packages for oil company chief executive officers that are nearly three times the size of similarly sized businesses, a new study from two watchdog groups said.
In 2005, the CEOs of the largest 15 oil companies averaged $32.7 million in compensation, compared with $11.6 million for all large U.S. firms, according to the study, released today by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

Amid reports of multimillion-dollar pay packages, shareholder activists have sponsored resolutions to limit compensation at companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Home Depot Inc. In May, three members of the House of Representatives criticized the retirement benefits of former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond and asked the company to fill a gap in its workers’ pension fund.
“Instead of lining the pockets of executives, they should be investing the money into new sources of energy that go beyond fossil oils,” said Sarah Anderson, director of the global economy project at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, and a co-author of the study.
Anderson’s group researches peace, justice and environmental issues. United for a Fair Economy, a non-profit group based in Boston, tries to raise awareness about the effects of “concentrated wealth and power,” according to its web site.
Combined $512.9 Million

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Armitage said to admit leak on CIA to Novak


“Richard L. Armitage, ex-deputy secretary of state, has acknowledged that he was the person whose conversation with a columnist in 2003 prompted a long, politically laden criminal investigation in what became known as the CIA leak case, a lawyer involved in the case said on Tuesday,” reports Neil A. Lewis for Wednesday’s edition of The New York Times.

Armitage did not return calls for comment. But the lawyer and other associates of Armitage have said he has confirmed that he was the initial and primary source for the columnist, Robert D. Novak, whose column of July 14, 2003, identified Valerie Wilson as a CIA officer.
The identification of Armitage as the original leaker to Novak ends what has been a tantalizing mystery. In recent months, however, Armitage’s role had become clear to many, and it was recently reported by Newsweek magazine and The Washington Post.

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