12/26/2000 -- FUND-RAISING SCANDAL LOOMS OVER SWEARING-IN CEREMONIES
When George W. Bush mounts the Inauguration platform to be sworn in as President of the United States, he will be directly in front of the Capitol's historic Statuary Hall.
Statuary Hall has been reserved for the next Saturday, January 27th, for the celebration of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's birthday.
The latter ceremony was arranged through the office of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, who hired the controversial Nancy Dorn as his senior national security advisor. This made national news when it was revealed that she had represented Pakistan and the Peoples Republic of China.
But what is less known is that she okayed the financial arrangements for the restoration of the Confederate Monument in Arlington National Cemetery when she was Assistant Secretary of the Army as a political appointee in the elder Bush's administration.
And Here's the rub.
The Memorial Fund turns out to be a political slush fund set up by Vicki Heilig and Richard Hines, the moving forces behind the Lee ceremony in the Capitol Building. The Washington Times has reported that both of these individuals were involved in a confrontation with the Capitol Police several years ago over the Confederate flag. Both have also worked for affirmative action contractors with the federal government.
In addition, Heilig works for the U.S. Coast Guard with a security clearance and Hines currently works as a $550,000 lobbyist for Cambodian dictator Hun Sen.
Hines and Heilig have also collaborated in financing another project: a 13-year lawsuit against the Confederate Memorial Association, which had owned and operated the only Confederate museum and library in the Nation's Capital for nearly a century until litigation costs forced its sale. The litigation, however, continues, with a jury trial scheduled for February 12th, Abraham Lincoln's birthday.
Newsweek magazine and The Wall Street Journal have identified Hines as the man who bankrolled a dirty-trick mailer that finished the chances of George W.'so rival, Senator John McCain, in the South Carolina primary. The primary fight was ugly, with telephone banks making sly insinuations about the adoption of a black child by the McCains. Justice Department filings by Hines make no mention of those South Carolina political activities as required by law, nor is there any attached list of his contributions to U.S. political candidates.
John Edward Hurley, president of the Confederate Memorial Association, said that it has taken him 13 years to get a jury trial in the D.C. Superior Court -- 7 years longer than it took Robert E. Lee's son to get a jury to hear his case about the federal government's confiscation of his father's house in Arlington National Cemetery.