ON MARCH 18, Franklin Lamb, a Democratic National Committeeman from Oregon, appeared before Party Platform Hearings of the Democratic National Committee to advocate -- among other things -- establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
A story the next day in The New York Times quoted him as having "said he was on the campaign staff of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy."
Within a matter of hours, Lamb had been "diassociated from the Kennedy for President Committee." DNC chairman John White was informed in writing by Kennedy's political director, Paul Kirk Jr., that:
"Mr. Lamb has at no time been authorized to speak on behalf of the Kennedy for President Committee. His association has been a purely voluntary one, for which he has received no compensation, and he has at no time functioned in an offical capacity. Futhermore, he has in no way been involved in the formulation of Sen. Kennedy's policies, either foreign or domestic."
Lamb was told by Kirk not to come around the Kennedy headquarters on 22nd Street anymore. Nobody saw him for two days. Then he showed up in Kennedy's behalf at the Virginia caucus on Saturday.
"Oh, I don't believe it!" Kennedy issues coordinator Peter Edleman exploded last week when he learned that Lamb doesn't consider himself "disassociated" from the senator's campaign after all, and is planning to run as a Kennedy delegate in Oregon on May 20.
"And his attachment to Kennedy has not gone unnoticed by the Carter administration. Oregonian Len Bergstein who works for Transportation Secretary Neil Goldschmidt, was on the phone with prominent Democrats back in Portland last week, getting a rundown on Lamb.
Lamb is a controversial figure among Oregon Democrats and the Oregon media. State party leaders told The Washington Post last week that they have rejected his petition to run for reelection to another four-year term on Democratic National Committee later this month.
The 37-year-old Lamb, who got a law degree from Boston University in 1968, said that he has taken the bar exam twice in Oregon without passing either time.
The bio filed with Kennedy headquarters lists him from "1975" to date" as "professor of international law, "Northwest College of Law, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Ore."
"He taught one class there four years ago, according to a spokesman for the school.)
From "1975 to 1976," he lists an association with the law firm of Pozzi, Wilson & Atchison in Portland. (He worked there once as a paralegal, according to a spokesman for the firm.)
From 1976 to 1977, he describes himself as "research fellow and visiting scholar, East Asian Legal Studies Center, Harvard Law School." (An assistant to Harvard professor Jerry Cohen, who is currently in China, says that Cohen once lent Lamb "use of a desk and library privileges, that's all.")
From 1965 to 1968, he describes himself as having been a "staff member, U.S. Sen. Wayne Morse." (A "summer job," he explains.)
Lamb has antagonized the DNC to the point, one high-placed official said last week where there has been talk of "censuring" him or "throwing him out."
Before the recent Palestinian flap, there were previous incidents involving two trips he arranged to Taiwan and Red China for DNC members after he was elected.
The first trip was criticized because the Taiwanese government picked up the tab. The second trip upset the State Department, according to the DNC spokesman, because Lamb was making statements that "misrepresented" U.S. views toward China.
An emissary from the DNC had to go to the State Department to smooth things over."