Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The Treasury Department reports that while experts anticipated a $12 billion budget deficit (search) this quarter, the country is instead running a $42 billion surplus. The department says unexpectedly high revenues from tax receipts are responsible for the windfall.
Budget analysts don't expect the surplus to last beyond this quarter, but the chief economist at Standard and Poor's (search) now believes the deficits have peaked and will start to trend down, saying, "I think it has turned the corner."
Shake Down in Chi-Town
A federal court document reveals that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (search) and Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel benefited from an illegal scheme to shake down hired truck companies for campaign contributions. City Water Commissioner Donald Tomczak (search) is charged with taking bribes from trucking firms in exchange for granting them city contracts. Some of those bribes went to Democratic campaigns, including Daley's and Emanuel's. What's more, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Tomczak allegedly rewarded city workers who joined the political machine with raises and promotions.
Both Daley and Emanuel, who is spearheading the ethics complaints against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, deny any knowledge of the scheme.
Searching for Bias
Popular Internet search engine Google.com has rejected an advertisement defending House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (search). RightMarch.com drafted a Google ad reading, "The Truth about Nancy Pelosi: learn about Pelosi's many scandals and help us take back the house." But when they attempted to purchase the ad, Google refused to run it, claiming their policy bans "ad text that advocates against an individual."
Thing is, the ad was directly copied from another ad already running on Google — featuring DeLay's name instead of Pelosi's. Despite their policy, a recent Google search turned up ads reading, "Help us defeat DeLay" and "Don't Delay, Oust DeLay."
Kerry's U.N. Connection
Twelve staffers have filed a complaint against a senior U.N. official, alleging that his paid leave of absence to work on John Kerry's presidential campaign violated the U.N. charter. The New York Sun (search) reports that Justin Leites, the head of one U.N. agency's internal communications, stands accused of violating the U.N.'s spirit of neutrality by serving as a Kerry adviser.
What's more, the complaint accuses Leites of endangering U.N. election workers worldwide by involving the agency in politics. A U.N. spokesman says no rules were broken, but the agency's charter stipulates that any political involvement by employees be "consistent with the independence and impartiality required by their status as international servants."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report
With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume.