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The Bolton fight

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Now Sen. Pat Roberts is waist-deep in the controversy over John Bolton's nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.Democrats have alleged that Bolton has been abusive to intelligence staffers, and have asked for access to National Security Agency intercepts - sought by Bolton - that contained the names of Americans. That's where Roberts - chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee - comes in.[The Hill reports today:][1] "Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter yesterday to senior Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee dismissing as overly broad the Democrats' request to obtain classified information requested by John Bolton, the embattled nominee to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations."As a possible compromise for moving Bolton's nomination forward, Sens. Joseph Biden (Del.) and Chris Dodd (Conn.), the ranking Democrat and a senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, suggested that the administration reveal whether the conversations of any of a list roughly 36 people were intercepted."In an accompanying statement, Roberts said: 'After careful review, the Senate Intelligence Committee continues to find no evidence of abuse' by Bolton."But Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the vice chairman of the intelligence panel, flatly contradicted Roberts in a statement released late yesterday."'Despite assertions by the Chairman, the Senate Intelligence Committee has not reached any conclusion regarding Under Secretary Bolton's actions,' stated Rockefeller."[Here is a press release from Roberts' office,][2] containing the full text of his letter. "I am prepared to assist in any reasonable effort to examine the facts," Roberts says, "but an examination of upwards of 40 names appears to be an effort to preserve the issue, not to resolve it." So where does that leave Bolton? In limbo, according to the [New York Times.][3] Democrats say they won't budge until they get the information."But Democrats, undaunted, said they would continue to block any vote until the White House provided information they were seeking relating to Mr. Bolton's tenure at the State Department, where he served until recently as under secretary for arms control," the Times reported. "Though there are several sticking points, the central issue is Mr. Bolton's review of names of American individuals and companies mentioned in communications intercepted by the National Security Agency."Stay tuned.Other links:Wealthy senators [(AP) Forms Reveal Kansas Senators' Finances:][4] Newly released federal disclosure forms show Senator Pat Roberts is financially comfortable and Senator Sam Brownback still has considerable wealth. But neither Kansas Republican is in the upper echelon of a Senate increasingly occupied by millionaires.Sam Brownback links [(USA Today) Christian right's alliances bend political spectrum:][5] Brownback, a leading figure on evangelical causes, has worked with such liberals as Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy on counseling families about Down syndrome and California Sen. Barbara Boxer on women's rights in Afghanistan. He says such alliances work best on issues that are "the right thing to do" but offer little partisan gain. "You get directly at the issue of abortion, of (same-sex) marriage, you've got pretty hard, dug-in sides that are well-built into the base of each party," he says. "They're tough to change, and there's political gain or loss in those."How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][6] [1]: http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/061505/roberts.html [2]: http://roberts.senate.gov/06-14-2005.htm [3]: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/15/politics/15bolton.html? [4]: http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/1633876.html [5]: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-06-14-christian-right-cover_x.htm [6]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed

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