Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Informing for the Feds
A top Democratic fundraiser who mingled with presidents has been operating as an undercover FBI informant for the last three years. The New York Sun reports that Ray Reggie, brother-in-law to Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy and a close confidante of former President Clinton, secretly recorded conversations among Democratic politicians and operatives for the FBI. Reggie's evidence helped to indict David Rosen on charges of fundraising fraud last year stemming from his efforts to raise money for Senator Hillary Clinton. Reggie himself pleaded guilty yesterday to felony charges of bank fraud and conspiracy.
Vermont Independent Senator Jim Jeffords' retirement announcement this week came as no surprise to Vermont pundit James Dwinell, who predicted earlier this month that Jeffords would not seek re-election in 2006 due to health concerns. But it was apparently a big surprise to Jeffords' own staff. A spokesman for the Senator attacked the rumors as partisan bitterness from Republicans still angry over the Senator's defection from the party in 2001.
The spokesman insisted the senator was in "excellent health," and went on to argue that after failing to cast Jeffords as a "turncoat," his political opponents had now "sunk even lower." But then Jeffords did in fact announce his retirement and cited his failing health as a major factor in the decision.
One Nation, Under What?
The principal at a Colorado Middle School has apologized to students after a guidance counselor changed the words to the Pledge of Allegiance, replacing the phrase "one nation, under God" with "one nation under your belief system." Counselor Margo Lucero tells The Denver Post that she changed the pledge because she believes in "separation between church and school." She claims she hadn't planned to alter the pledge, but "it was the anniversary of Columbine, and it was a spur of the moment thing." A spokesman for the school called Lucero's actions "inappropriate."
State Republicans are calling on a New Jersey official to resign after she apparently admitted that she had committed a felony. Secretary of State Regena Thomas told the state Budget Committee that she took a pro bono job with the Kerry Campaign because "I had a commitment from the candidate for a position that I wanted in the federal government." Trouble is, such an arrangement violates federal law. State Republicans have asked U.S. attorneys to launch an investigation, but Thomas now insists she never meant to imply that a promise was made.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report