2- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 4, 1996
Senate leader vows fund-raising probe
Los Angeles Tnes
WASHINGTON - Newly elected
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-
Miss.) pledged yesterday to cooperate
with Democrats in the upcoming
105th Congress but immediately
declared that the Republican-con-
trolled body must first investigate
allegations of illegal fund-raising by
the White House.
Appearing at a news conference to
trumpet his re-election yesterday as
-the Senate's top Republican and to
showcase his new GOP leadership
team, Lott suggested investigations of
campaign finance irregularities could
dominate both Congress and the
White House for the next six months
Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) who was
re-elected as minority leader, said the
chamber's Democrats intend to place
sweeping campaign reform legislation
at the top of their agenda.
"Campaign finance reform is first
and foremost our strongest desire as
we begin to deal with the agenda of
the 105th Congress," Daschle said,
promising to introduce a bill to
reduce the influence of money on
campaigns. "We don't need another
commission. What we need are more
limits on spending and the influence
of special interests."
Lott and Senate Republicans, howev-
er, made it clear that is not their imme-
diate focus. GOP senators appear more
intent on gleaning new details from the
White House about ongoing reports
alleging improper campaign contribu-
tions by Indonesian business executive
Lott said the administration's refusal
to seek appointment of an independent
counsel to conduct an outside review of
illegal campaign contributions, as well
as news accounts of a 1993 letter from
Riady containing policy proposals on a
variety of Asian issues, make it impera-
tive for the Senate to conduct its own
"I don't think we can ignore that at
all," Lott said, adding that Attorney
General Janet Reno's decision to
decline GOP requests for an indepen-
dent counsel "actually increases signif-
icantly the need for us to have a good
look at that."
Lott predicted the administration
will eventually appoint an indepen-
dent counsel, but said the Senate will
not wait for that to happen. "We have
our responsibilities, our requirements
to look into these matters," he said.
"There are letters that are coming out.
It's looking, you know, more and
more like we have got to get into it
and find out what happened."
Lott is expected to assign the
Senate Government Affairs
Committee to conduct hearings into
White House fund-raising activities.
The Senate Rules Committee may
consider possible legislation to pre-
vent future problems.
+ ATONAL: $6, EP oRT T
Lunar rock may contain water ice
WASHINGTON - A robot craft scheduled for launch next October may pro-
vide more evidence about a vast region of the moon's south pole that may contain
water ice in a frozen slurry of soil and rock.
Scientists at the Pentagon said yesterday that radio signals from an
unmanned military spacecraft detected the electronic signature of what may
be a "dirty lake" in deep areas of a giant polar crater that are never warmed
The researchers said the radar signal is not proof that water exists on the moon.
But they said the reading is "strongly suggestive" of water ice and that a permafrost
like soil is the "most probable" explanation for the finding.
Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute and Rice University said the
water signal is "an amazing discovery" because all of the data gathered in the
Apollo Man-on-the-Moon program indicated that the moon was totally parched.
Spudis said a NASA mission, called Lunar Prospector, will help settle the dry or
soggy moon question.
"It will orbit the moon for a year and will have instruments that could confirm
or negate our finding," Spudis said. He said the satellite will carry on board a neu-
tron spectrometer that can detect from lunar orbit the presence of hydrogen
major ingredient of water.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-
Miss.) posed yesterday after an orien-
tation session for the new senators.
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Gun debate touches
on states' powers
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - The oral argu-
ments yesterday were over the Brady
handgun law, but the Supreme Court
quickly moved to broader questions of
how Congress treats the states.
Justice Antonin Scalia dismissed the
Clinton administration's defense of the
Brady Act, which forces local sheriffs
to check the backgrounds of would-be
gun buyers, saying the rationale would
make states "dance like marionettes on
the fingers of the federal government.'
But Justice Stephen Breyer ques-
tioned why it was not "more respectful"
of states' tights for Congress to have
imposed "minor reporting duties" on
the states rather than a big bureaucratic
gun-control system. And Justice
Anthony Kennedy, a potential swing
vote in this dispute, observed that each
level of government makes policy
choices based on costs. "If Congress
makes a choice;'he said, "it pays for it.'
The session brought to the fore the
enduring but delicate balance between
federal and state powers -a true consti-
tutional debate in the justices' white mar-
ble and burgundy-draped courtroom.
The law, named for James Brady, the
former press secretary who was dis-
abled in the 1981 assassination attempt
on President Ronald Reagan, requires
gun dealers to give the names of poten-
tial buyers to the local sheriff or other
chief law enforcement officer. The
sheriff has five days to check crime
records and inform the dealer if the
buyer is a convicted felon or otherwise
barred from buying a handgun.
The federal government says the 1993
law has stopped tens of thousands of
felons from buying handguns each year.
But Arizona and Montana sheriffs
challenged the background check as a
time-consuming infringement on state
authority that effectively compels them
to carry out a federal program. A feder-
al appeals court sided with the govern-
ment, comparing the background check
with other "minor obligations,"such as
reporting traffic fatalities.
The Constitution limits the powers of
the states but also dictates that state
sovereignty not be infringed by
Congress. In recent years, under Chief
Justice William Rehnquist, the court
has been increasingly sensitive to the
state side of the equation.
Stephen Halbrook, who represented
the sheriffs yesterday, said the
Constitution prohibits "requiring states
to administer a federal regulatory poli-
cy." He argued that the Brady law differs
from other mandates that are tied to fed-
eral funds and permitted under
Congress's spending power. He relied on
the Tenth Amendment, which says con-
stitutional powers not given to the feder-
al government are reserved for the states.
Solicitor General Walter Dellinger,
defending the gun law before the jus-
tices, said Congress has the authority to
order the background checks under its
power to regulate interstate commerce.
He stressed that the law does not
require states to adopt any particular
policy and leaves the political responsi-
bility for gun control with Congress.
Scalia retorted that such an argument
relegates states to "marionettes" with
Noting the mobility of guns,
Dellinger said that more than 13,000
handgun murders are committed annu-
ally in the United States and called the
act "a rough-and-ready way" to gather
information on people who should not
have access to guns. He said the local
responsibility was minor and tempo-
rary; the law mandates an instant-check
system by 1999.
Continued from Page 1
$1.5 billion into higher education
should have no voice?" asked Rep.
Lingg Brewer (D-Holt).
Ed Petykiewicz, editor of The Ann
Arbor News, said newspapers do not
want a seat at the table when university
presidents are picked, but want to
watch public officials make decisions.
That might be uncomfortable for
some, he said, but decisions made in
secret also can lead to problems.
The newspapers' lawsuit over
Michigan's hiring of former University
President James Duderstadt resulted in
the opening of records on that search
that showed University officials com-
menting on the religion, ethnicity and
age of candidates, he said.
Records indicate a regent called a
candidate who was the majority of the
board's top choice and threatened to
make life difficult for him, which led to
the candidate's withdrawal, Petykiewicz
Dawn Phillips, general counsel for
the Michigan Press Association,
warned the committee that permitting
more secrecy in government will feed
paranoia about government actions.
She said the law already allows mate-
rial in applications to be kept confiden-
tial if disclosure would create an unwar-
ranted invasion of privacy. "The more
information available to everyone, the
better the decision will be," she said.
On a 3-3 vote, the measure failed to
advance out of the House Higher
Education Committee after four hours
of testimony. Rep. Jessie Dalman (R-
Holland), who chairs the committee,
said the issue is not dead. "We might
want to revisit this," Dalman said.
Kathy Kirby, a spokesperson for the
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judge: Hawaii can't
eny gay mariages
HONOLULU - A judge yesterday
barred Hawaii from denying marriage
licenses to gay couples in a case that has
already led Congress to allow other
states to refuse to recognize such unions.
The ruling is certain to be appealed.
Kirk Cashmere, an attorney for three
homosexual couples who sued the state,
said Circuit Judge Kevin Chang "in a
nutshell ruled that the sex-based classi-
fication in the state's marriage law is
Chang said the state failed to show
any compelling state interest to deny gay
and lesbian couples the right to marry,
Cashmere said. Copies of Chang' ruling
were to be distributed yesterday.
A spokesperson for the conservative
Family Research Council said the rul-
ing defies the wishes of the majority:
Polls say 70 percent of Hawaii's resi-
dents oppose same-sex marriages.
"This ruling is a slap in the face of the
Hawaiian people who have made it clear
that they don't want liberal judges tam-
pering with society's foundational insti-
tutions; Kristi Stone Hamrick said.
Two gay men and two lesbian couples
sued in 1991 for the right to marry, to the
dismay of some national gay rights orga-
nizations that felt the move was prema-
ture and would provoke a backlash.
Lotte win may
save exas town
ROBY, Texas - Don't expect to see
exotic sports cars zipping into the
gravel parking lot at the cotton gin
even if 7 percent of this town's people
are on their way to becoming million-
The 41 Roby residents and tw
more from nearby Sweetwater
will share a $46.7 million lottery jack-
pot are happy just to be solvent.
"Some of these people didn't know
if they'd be able to farm again next
year," said Peggy Dickson, bookkeep-
er at the Terry Gin, who is an organiz-
er of the spur-of-the-moment lottery
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down radio stations
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -
Authorities muzzled two independent
radio stations yesterday and lashed out
fiercely at the growing opposition to
Slobodan Milosevic, even as more than
100,000 protesters rallied against the
Serbian president and sharpened their
Demonstrators hurled snowballs at
the state-run media buildings in the
15th straight day of protests against
Milosevic and his decision to annul
Nov. 17 local elections that appeared to
have been won by the opposition.
Police still kept their distance, but one
report said reserve police officers were
being mobilized nationwide.
Milosevic's propaganda machine,
which at first ignored the protests, went
on the offensive, dismissing the demon-
strators as terrorists, vandals and a
"handful" of desperate people.
Minutes before the protesters were to
begin their march through the capital
yesterday, independent radio station B-
92 and the student-run Radio Index
went off the air. A government ministry
statement said B-92 had been shut
down for operating without permission.
The station had applied several-times
- without success - for an official
Russian coal miners
walk out on strike
MOSCOW - Tens of thousands of
coal miners who haven't been paid in
months went on strike yesterday,
demanding that Russia's Cabinet pay
their wages or resign.
The walkout, which shut at least A
of Russia's 287 coal mines, is the
strongest protest in months against a
cash shortage that is draining the econ-
omy in this sixth winter of painful post-
It also marks an escalation of labor
unrest into a political demand that
could find broader support tomorrow
when the country's largest federation of
trade unions gathers in Moscow.
- Compiledfrom Daily wire repoi.
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