Sign in to comment!

Special Report

Attorney General Holder Sidestepping Black Panther Questions?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Avoiding the Obvious

Some House Republicans say Attorney General Eric Holder is sidestepping calls for an explanation into the dismissal of voter intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party.

The Hill newspaper reports Virginia's Frank Wolf says Holder has failed to respond to at least three letters demanding to know why the charges were dropped. They were filed during the Bush administration and accuse two members of the New Black Panther Party of threatening voters at a Philadelphia polling station on Election Day. The only charge that stood was against the group's leader, who was punished for brandishing a deadly weapon.

In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Wolf writes that inaction by the Justice Department "merits congressional attention." But a Justice Department spokeswoman says the facts do not back up the charges and that career officials — not political appointees — made the decision.

Like Father, Like Son?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's poor poll numbers in his home state may have a big effect on his son. The Washington Post reports former Nevada Democratic Party Chairman Rory Reid plans to announce his candidacy for governor in the coming weeks. But his father's politics could make it difficult for the younger Reid to define himself.

Washoe County Democratic Party Chairman Chip Evans says: "It's a very unfortunate thing for Rory that his father is running for reelection at the same time that he is running for governor. Senator Reid's popularity in the state has really taken a hit... Rory is going to be painted with the same brush."

In a May poll by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, just 35 percent of Nevadans said they would re-elect Senator Reid; 17 percent said they would consider another candidate, while 45 percent said they would definitely vote to replace him.

Bummed Out

Homeless alcoholics are costing New York taxpayers millions of dollars every year. The New York Post reports that dozens of homeless people fake illnesses and call 911 on a regular basis to get free food and shelter. Chronic caller Ricky Alardo says that he pulls the stunt four to five times a week — that means he has cost the state $300,000 a year or $3.9 million over the past 13 years.

Alardo says emergency room medics "treat me like a king." EMS personnel cannot legally refuse to treat or transport any patient. One medic says: "We have a system that is extremely dysfunctional... they know what to say to our call takers."

Another medic says when the chronic caller dies: "I'll probably even go to his funeral. I've seen him almost every day for the past 13 years."

— FOX News Channel's Zac Kenworthy contributed to this report.