War on Warming Begins at (Al Gore's) Home
Fresh off his victory lap at the Academy Awards, former vice president Al Gore -- who has not closed the door on a 2008 bid -- found himself in a more familiar position: on the receiving end of a political attack.
The barb came via the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a Nashville-based think tank that advocates "limited government through policy solutions," according to its Web site.
"As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use," said the group's president, Drew Johnson, in a release alleging that Gore's house in the Volunteer State uses 20 times as much electricity as the average household nationwide.
Kalee Kreider, a spokeswoman for Gore, called the statement misleading.
"The power coming into their residence is green, renewable power," she said, explaining that the Gores participate in a program called Green Power Switch, which is run through the public Tennessee Valley Authority. Green Power Switch supplies energy from renewable sources to its members.
Kreider added that a renovation of the Gores' house is underway to make it more energy efficient, an update that will include the addition of solar panels.
Johnson was unimpressed. "The energy he receives into his house is no different than what I receive into my house," he said. "He doesn't have a green power line hooked to his house."
FEC Fines Anti-Kerry 527 Group
The Federal Election Commission levied one of its largest fines ever yesterday against the Progress for America Voter Fund, a conservative group that raised $44 million to help undermine Democrat John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid.
The fine was the latest in a series of FEC penalties imposed on high-profile independent groups that operated on both sides of the 2004 presidential elections. The FEC is trying to send a message to the "527" organizations, FEC Chairman Robert Lenhard said in a statement.
"It should now be clear to organizations that want to be active in the 2008 cycle that the activities we saw in this case are prohibited under the law," Lenhard said.
Progress for America agreed to pay the $750,000 fine as part of the deal, which did not require the group to admit wrongdoing. The group took issue with the penalty, arguing that the FEC had not clarified how the newly enacted McCain-Feingold provisions would affect 527s and had not explained what campaign-related activities 527s were allowed to perform.
FEC commissioners have said the penalties should serve as guidelines for what will and will not be permitted. In the case of Progress for America, the FEC noted that the group made clear "through its public statements, activities, and solicitations for contributions" that it should have registered as a traditional political committee.
Daley Cruises to Sixth Term
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) crushed two little-known opponents Tuesday to win a sixth term in his post, putting him on the verge of a historic achievement.
Daley received roughly 71 percent of the vote. Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown (20 percent) and activist William "Dock" Walls III (9 percent) split the remaining votes.
With the win, Daley is positioned to break his father's record for consecutive years of service as mayor. Richard J. Daley held the post from 1955 until his death in 1976. Richard M. Daley was first elected in 1989.