Sign in to comment!

Special Report

Senator Harkin Dishonest Over Health Care Grievance?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Inside Job

One of the citizen complaints read during today's health care summit was something of an inside job.

Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin read a letter he said he received Tuesday from a farmer in Iowa. It said the man's health insurance premiums were going up almost 15 percent. It ended: "the health of my family and the future of my small business depends on [affordable health care.] Sincerely, Raymond Smith, Buffalo Center, Iowa."

However, Harkin did not mention that Raymond Smith is the brother of Dan Smith who works for the senator. Harkin's office says he read the farmer's full name and city and therefore had nothing to hide.

But one former Buffalo Center resident says Harkin was being disingenuous and dishonest for not disclosing the connection.

Green Light

The administration's online program designed to help employers detect illegal workers wrongly clears them more than half the time.

Researchers say the E-Verify system misses workers mainly because it cannot detect identity fraud. The inaccuracy rate for unauthorized workers is said to be about 54 percent. Tens of thousands of companies participate in E-Verify, either voluntarily or as a condition of doing business with the government.

The Obama administration has made cracking down on employers who hire people here illegally, rather than the workers themselves, a central part of its immigration enforcement policy.

New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer called the report a wake-up call.

Sit This One Out

Fellow New York Democrat Steve Israel has called for Governor David Paterson to abandon his run for a full term.

This follows a New York Times report of a domestic abuse complaint against a top Paterson aide and allegations the governor and New York state police intervened in the matter. Congressman Israel says to the Associated Press: "I think it's become apparent that he should not seek election and should announce it soon. And sometimes friends have to speak unpleasant truths."

Van-tage Point

Former White House green jobs adviser Van Jones has an explanation for why his name was included on a petition that said the Bush administration may have been involved in the 9/11 attacks. Jones says six years ago, a group saying it represented 9/11 families approached him and he offered his support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VAN JONES ON PBS: "These people, I didn't know what their agenda was, they went and put my name on some abhorrent crazy language, that they never showed me, I never saw, and it just sat there on his Web site for years. Somebody discovered it, and then boom. So people actually believe that I signed onto something that I never saw, never signed on to."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

The group 911truth.org disputes this. A spokesman said last fall that Jones, "did agree with that statement and he did sign on to it."

Fox News Channel's Lanna Britt contributed to this report.