Businessweek Archives

Talk Show


Up Front

TALK SHOW

"All calls that I made were charged to the Democratic National Committee. I was advised there was nothing wrong with that." -- Vice-President Al Gore, explaining why it was O.K. to solicit donations by phone from the White HouseEDITED BY LARRY LIGHTReturn to top

RADICAL CHIC, 1997

FOR LOUIS FARRAKHAN, IT was a chance to meet the white power structure--100 national politicos and Wall Streeters. For supply-side guru Jude Wanniski, who admires Farrakhan's credo of black self-reliance, the meeting was part of a campaign to show that the Muslim minister is unjustly tarred as a racist and anti-Semite.

At a Boca Raton (Fla.) conclave held by Wanniski's Polyconomics consulting firm, Farrakhan spoke on restoring traditional values. He drew "sustained" applause, says Wanniski. One attendee, money manager Russell Redenbaugh of Cook & Bieler, says of Farrakhan: "He seems sincere."

How did the politicians take to him? Pressed for time, Jack Kemp--who was criticized last fall by Jewish groups after praising Farrakhan's self-help message--gave a speech, then left without mingling. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) merely shook Farrakhan's hand. Even though the minister spoke to Bill Richardson from the audience, the U.N. ambassador "had no idea Farrakhan was there," says an aide. After Senator John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) dined with the cleric, he still felt Farrakhan is an anti-Semite. Farrakhan didn't respond to requests for comment.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHTReturn to top

AN OLD BOYS' CLUB AT TREASURY

ALTHOUGH THE CLINTON Administration stresses diversity in its appointments, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin's inner circle of advisers has become nearly an all-male club. Under Lloyd Bentsen, seven women political appointees held top policymaking posts in such areas as finance, taxes, economics, and international policy. Now, there are just two: Assistant Secretary Linda Robertson, the congressional lobbyist, and IRS Commissioner Margaret Richardson. But Richardson is leaving under prodding from Rubin.

Women have left for various reasons. Darcy Bradbury, assistant secretary for financial markets, went to Wall Street. Rubin aide-de-camp Sylvia Mathews moved to the White House, and General Counsel Jean Hanson was sucked under by Whitewater. Men replaced them. Treasury officials note women hold other top positions, such as Treasurer of the U.S.--yet they're not in policymaking jobs.

Not until recently, say Clinton insiders. "Rubin was an untouchable when it came to White House pressure on appointments," says one. "But the pressure has picked up." Rubin aides say he will soon name a woman as a senior policymaker.By Owen Ullmann EDITED BY LARRY LIGHTReturn to top

FOREIGN AID FOR WASHINGTON?

WASHINGTONIANS LIKE TO complain they suffer the typical woes of a Third World land, with dreadful services and infrastructure. So it's not surprising that the World Bank, whose mission is to assist the poorest nations on earth, is considering whether to offer to help out.

The Bank could send its development experts to advise Mayor Marion Barry's government, says a bank official. But the proposal is controversial within the bank, with some asking why the capital of the richest nation on earth needs its help. Bank officials fear a backlash from Congress if they commit scarce resources to Washington, the World Bank's home. City officials couldn't be reached for comment.By Paul Magnusson and Owen Ullmann EDITED BY LARRY LIGHTReturn to top


Toyota's Hydrogen Man
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus