Capital Briefs: Mar. 5-9

Gored on Green:

According to figures from the Nashville Electric Service, Al Gore’s mansion in the Belle Meade area of Nashville consumes 20 times more than the average household. Gore, who urges Americas to reduce personal energy consumption by conserving energy at home, used almost 221,000 kilowatt-hours in 2006. His average monthly energy bill was more than $1,359 per month. The average American household consumed 10,565 kWh. Gore’s household energy consumption increased after the release of his global-warming alarmist documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006. This information was found by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. The group’s president, Drew Johnson, said in a press release: “As the spokesman of choice for the global-warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use.” The office of the former Vice President said that Gore has made up for his energy consumption by installing solar panels and purchasing carbon offsets. “What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible,” Gore’s office said, according to “Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gores do, to bring their footprint down to zero.”

Largest CPAC Ever:

In a telling indication of the fervor and resolve of the conservative movement, the largest Conservative Political Action Conference of all time opened last week at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. A record-breaking 6,000-plus conferees gathered at CPAC ’07 to hear dozens of experts and activists explain and advance conservative principles. Also addressing this year’s CPAC will be all but one of the potential 2008 Republican presidential nominees, including Mitt Romney, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo and Rudy Giuliani. The only one missing is erratic John McCain, who turned down the invitation. However, when they found out last week that Giuliani was going to come, the McCain staffers bypassed the CPAC organizers and tried unsuccessfully with the hotel to line up a room in which to greet the conferees.

Jefferson Scandal Lingers:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.), leader of the “most ethical Congress in history,” is standing by her decision to appoint the corruption-ridden Rep. William Jefferson (D.-La.) to the Committee on Homeland Security. Rather than appointing him to the spot by routine vote on the House floor, the House Democratic Caucus signed off on a resolution to do it. Jefferson is the target of an ongoing FBI investigation for accepting bribe money in exchange for facilitating telecommunications deals in Nigeria. Jefferson previously served on the Ways and Means Committee but was determined to be unfit for that seat. House Republicans have vowed to oppose Jefferson’s sitting on the Homeland Security Committee as well. Minority Leader John Boehner (R.-Ohio) said: “The Democrats previously determined Congressman Jefferson is unfit to serve on the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees the nation’s finances and trade, so it is difficult to comprehend how they can approve of Congressman Jefferson’s fitness for a seat on the Homeland Security Committee, with access to America’s most sensitive and closely guarded intelligence information. House Democrats and their leaders should immediately reconsider this baffling and troubling decision.”

Rudy on Top:

As John McCain signaled to David Letterman last week that he would announce his candidacy for President in April, the latest Rasmussen Poll shows the Arizona senator still badly trailing Rudy Giuliani among likely Republican voters. According to the poll, Giuliani leads McCain by 33% to 17%, with Newt Gingrich (who has yet to say whether he will run in ’08) closely behind at 13%. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the presidential favorite of 10% of the GOP voters, followed by Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback at 3%, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel at 2%, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 1%. With conservative support so split, the next poll of great interest will be the one taken last week of the CPAC ’07 attendees.

Al Qaeda in the Courts?

That’s what Arlen Specter wants. The Pennsylvania Republican launched an effort in the Senate last week to amend Article 2241 of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to permit enemy prisoners to sue in U.S. courts.

In a conference call with reporters (including HUMAN EVENTS Political Editor John Gizzi), Republican Senators Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) vowed to fight the Specter measure and cited a D.C. Court of Appeals ruling last year that denied enemy combatants the right to sue in civilian courts. Noting that Japanese and German prisoners in World War II were not allowed to sue, Graham said that civilian judges were “not trained” to deal with military matters and that Specter’s amendment would be “turning the law of conflict upside down [and] criminalizing global war.”

Kyl Fire Back in U.S. Attorney War:

As Democrats continued to charge that there was something wrong with the Department of Justice’s decision to replace eight U.S. attorneys, Sen. Jon Kyl fired back last week. Noting that U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President, Kyl told Human Events Political Editor John Gizzi that the exiting U.S. attorney in Arizona, Paul Charlton, “is highly respected and a good friend of mine. He understood that he could be removed at any time and, while the Justice Department has named an interim successor, the candidate that John McCain and I recommended, Diane Humetewa, is in the process of being nominated.” In rejecting the Democratic charge that the Patriot Act provision to allow the Justice Department rather than federal judges to name interim U.S. attorneys is a way to “get their own guys in,” Kyl said that “the allegation is belied by the facts.”