Federal Update: Low numbers; Civil- rights expert?; Whither Madison?

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The Congress does not operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and the number assigned a bill is not indicative of how soon it will be considered. But low numbers are coveted as memorable and sounding important.

Representative Augustus F. Hawkins, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, was a big winner in that derby this year.

The California Democrat, who snagged HR 5 for last year's omnibus education bill, obtained HR 3 for his child-care proposal, HR 2 for a bill that would raise the minimum wage, HR 7 for a bill reauthorizing vocational- education programs, and HR 24 for legislation reauthorizing the school-lunch program.

The latter two bills contain nothing but new expiration dates, and were introduced solely to obtain low numbers.

When Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights LeGree S. Daniels organized two private discussion sessions last year, she invited some people more notable for their travels in black Republican circles than for their expertise in civil rights.

One of them, Lawrence E. King Jr., is now being investigated on charges that he embezzled $38 million from a credit union formed to help the poor in his hometown of Omaha, Neb. A state senator recently increased interest in the case by charging that it was somehow linked to child prostitution.

Gary Curran, an ocr spokesman, confirmed that Ms. Daniels knew Mr. King "from her activities as chair of the Black Republican Council." He said the meetings were designed "to get the input of all sorts of different people about civil-rights issues."

Did ocr pay the expenses of its guests?

"They paid for themselves, as far as I know," Mr. Curran said, adding that Ms. Daniels may have paid some expenses herself.

Now that former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett has been named the first federal drug czar, what will become of the Madison Foundation, the conservative organization he started when he left the education post?

"We haven't quite sorted that out yet," said Michael Jackson, an associate director of the foundation who had previously been a Bennett aide.

Another foundation official, William Kristol, has reportedly been named domestic-policy adviser to Vice President-elect Dan Quayle. He joined Madison after running Alan L. Keyes' unsuccessful Maryland Senate campaign.--jm

Vol. 08, Issue 17

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