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Special Report

How Common on Capitol Hill?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Democrats Stalling More Than Judges

In addition to blocking more than ten judicial nominations, Senate Democrats are now stalling President Bush's picks to head three government agencies. But Democrats are not using the device known as "hold" because they oppose the nominees. Evan Bayh, of Indiana, is holding up the trade representative nominee to get the Senate to pass a trade bill he introduced.

Patty Murray, of Washington, and Hillary Clinton, of New York, are stalling the nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration to protest the agency's failure to approve a so-called morning- after pill. And Thomas Carper, of Delaware, is holding up the proposed EPA chief in a dispute over the release of data unrelated to the nominee, whom Carper has actually said would be a "able administrator."

How Common on Capitol Hill?

When the New York Times reported last week that House Majority Leader Tom Delay had paid his wife and daughter for work in his campaigns — a not uncommon practice that that has been known in Delay's case for years — it was front-page news. Now separate reviews by the AP and the Los Angeles Times have shown how common the practice is. The two reports found at least 39 lawmakers who have had relatives on their payrolls.

For example, Arizona Republican Congressman JD Hayworth, whose wife earns $20,000 a year as the sole employee of his political action committee; and California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, who paid her son $130,000 over four years to run her own PAC.

Urging Papers To Get More Involved

Speaking of Boxer, she is now urging newspapers to get behind Senate Democrats in their effort to preserve the Senate filibusters, insisting their own welfare is at stake. At a meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Boxer said, "You need to explain why a vocal minority in the Congress is essential for a democracy and why it is essential for you. ... This fight is really your fight as well."

She added, "Your whole basis of what you do is exercising ... freedom of speech ... And your rights to tell stories the way you want are in many ways tied to this." She insisted, "You have a dog in this fight."

Hersh Fudged Some Stories?

New Yorker magazine's national security correspondent, Seymour Hersh, has been making speeches and radio appearances in which he has told stories of young boys being raped at Abu Ghraib prison, of U.S. forces murdering 36 Iraqi guards, and of alleged involvement of Karl Rove and even the President himself in prisoner interrogation matters. But he now says he "fudged" some of the stories he's told. He tells New York magazine, "I can't fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say."

He says, "Sometimes I change events, dates and places in a certain way ... [to communicate] another reality that I know of." But, he insists, he only changes the facts to "protect people."

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report