proposal by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, an independent group that is moving to force companies to treat stock options for all of their employees as an expense.
Jeff Peck, the chief lobbyist for the International Employee Stock Options Coalition, which opposes widespread expensing of options.
Roll Call newspaper, which covers Congress
Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Unification Church Moon, a controversial figure who spent 18 months in prison in the 1980s for tax fraud, The Senate Rules and Administration Committee has declined to reveal who approved the use of the Dirksen Senate Office Building for the March 23 ceremony, In a March 11 letter, Christian Voice of Alexandria asked Warner to reserve room G-11 in Dirksen "for a reception Christian Voice plans to host in honor of the 'Ambassadors for Peace' award recipients." The letter, which the senator's office provided to The Post yesterday, was addressed "Dear John" and signed by group president Gary L. Jarmin. A March 8 invitation sent to many lawmakers and others said the "primary program sponsor" would be the "Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP), founded by Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon." Several co-sponsors were listed, including the Washington Times Foundation, but Christian Voice was not mentioned. The group, however, has been linked to Moon's far-flung religious and business empire in numerous articles over the years. An April article in Church & State magazine referred to "Christian Voice, a Religious Right group connected with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon." It said the group was "long associated with Moon operative Gary Jarmin."
A 1990 Los Angeles Times article said the Rev. Robert Grant -- listed on Jarmin's letter to Warner as chairman of Christian Voice -- founded the American Freedom Coalition, a group "dedicated to repairing Moon's tattered persona in the United States."
A 1989 Post article about Moon's empire also made several references to Jarmin and Grant. Grant responded to The Post with an op-ed column saying, in part, "the AFC has received support from business interests of the Unification Church," founded by Moon. "Since its founding in April 1987, the AFC has in fact received $ 5,252,473 from such business interests. This amounts to just 32.7 percent . . . of our total gross revenues."
In a phone interview yesterday, Jarmin said he requested the Dirksen room on behalf of Christian Voice because the ceremony involved hundreds of people and required an overflow room. A previous Dirksen room request, he said, "was done under the Washington Times Foundation." Senate rules limit any organization to one room per event.
Jarmin would not specify which senator approved the foundation's request, but suggested it was Warner. "The same senator can request two rooms," he said. "I had to use a different organization to get" the overflow room.
Ullyot said the March 11 letter from Christian Voice was "the only request we received" for permission to use a room for the March 23 ceremony. He said he did not know which senator approved the second room.
"From what was reported" about the ceremony, Ullyot said, "this was not an appropriate use of Senate space." He said he did not know whether anyone from Warner's office had complained to Jarmin. Sen. John W. Warner, VA Rep.
A high-profile congressional hearing into the safety of antidepressant medicines was abruptly canceled on Sunday afternoon by a House panel whose chairman is weighing a top job at a trade group representing the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
Rep. James C. Greenwood (R-Pa.) is reported to be considering an offer to become president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include most of the pharmaceutical companies that were to send representatives to testify at the hearing. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) told reporters that Greenwood will be leaving Congress but did not say what his new job would be. YEAH, RIGHT ! The outgoing president of the biotech trade organization, Carl B. Feldbaum, said the group has not talked with Greenwood about the antidepressant issue. Patients rights advocates voiced outrage at the turn of events. "What this shows is that things are so corrupt," said Vera Hassner Sharav, a patient rights advocate, after learning that the hearing had been canceled. Sharav said that in calling a hearing into the issue, Greenwood had exploited the families harmed by the medicines. "We now suspect the whole investigation was done to up his price," she said.
The Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations said its hearing was postponed because the chief counsel has been called to Los Alamos. A new date will be announced shortly, a spokesman said.
A Democratic staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue said he believes Greenwood canceled the hearing because of the job offer. The staff member, who noted that his views are shared by Republicans and Democrats, said Greenwood had likely decided that it would be unseemly to chair the hearing and then announce that he is taking a job at the trade group.
"He couldn't have held that hearing," the staffer said.
Greenwood, who supports abortion rights and is considered a Republican moderate, has seen eye to eye with the Biotechnology Industry Organization on stem cell research and other issues. Feldbaum said the group has mostly worked with Greenwood on bioethics.
The hearing had been called to investigate pharmaceutical companies that have kept negative data about their antidepressant medications secret. Greenwood had demanded information from the Food and Drug Administration on the issue and had requested a Government Accountability Office inquiry.
Companies have published only studies that found the medications to be effective, even though two-thirds of the studies found them no better than sugar pills. British regulators warned doctors last year not to prescribe the drugs, citing an elevated risk of suicidal behavior among children. The FDA is investigating the issue.
Executives from seven pharmaceutical companies were to testify at the hearing, according to documents the subcommittee gave Sharav. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and Co., Pfizer Inc. and Wyeth are all members of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, said Dan Eramian, the group's vice president for communications. Two other companies that were to testify, Forest Laboratories Inc. and Organon, are not members.
Minnesota entrepreneur Larry Colson has developed WebVoter, a program that lets Republican activists in the state report their neighbors' political views into a central database that the Bush-Cheney campaign can use to send them targeted campaign literature. The Bush campaign has a similar program on its Web site. And here's Colson's response to anyone who feels a privacy qualm or two about this program: "[It's] not as if we're asking for Social Security number and make and model and serial number of car. We're asking for party preference... Party preference is not something that is such a personal piece of data." Minn. GOP Asks Activists to Report on Neighbors' Politics
By Brian Faler
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, July 18, 2004; Page A05
All politics is local. But this year, it is getting downright neighborly.
Take Minnesota. The state Republican Party has developed a Web site that allows its activists to tap into a database of voters whose political allegiances and concerns it would like to know. But it is not just any group of voters -- they are the activists' neighbors.
The project, dubbed WebVoter, gives GOP activists the names and addresses of 25 people who live, in most cases, within a couple of blocks from them. The party has asked 60,000 supporters from across the state to figure out what issues animate their neighbors and where they stand in the political spectrum, and report that information back to the party -- with or, possibly, without their neighbors' permission.
Those who seem persuadable will receive campaign literature from Republican candidates -- including President Bush -- with whom the party plans to share its data. Those deemed incorrigible Democrats will be struck from the list.
"We don't want to waste our time or money on people who are not going to vote with us regardless of what we do," said Larry Colson, a Minnesota entrepreneur who helped develop the site. "We would like to be able to hone the message to people who are already with us and then people who are on the fence -- those are the people that we'd like to target."
The Minnesota GOP, like many state parties, already collects voter information. It uses public information that Minnesotans provide when they register to vote, including their names, addresses and phone numbers. The party cross-references that data with information gleaned from other public and private sources.
Colson, who is also the Bush campaign's "e-campaign chairman" for Minnesota, declined to say what other information the state party uses. But other state parties and campaigns typically tap demographic and consumer data taken from census reports or direct-marketing companies. The goal is to create detailed profiles of voters that will help the party decide whom it should woo -- and how.
Minnesota and 22 other states do not require those registering to vote to identify their party affiliation. But through its efforts, Colson said, the party believes it has determined the political leanings of about 60 percent of the state's households. Some of the remainder -- he would not say how much -- has landed in the party's new database, a list that includes "tens of thousands" of names.
The site and the party's reliance on neighborly connections, Colson said, are ways of filling those gaps. "You're more likely to tell your neighbor what your party preference is when they ask than you are to some stranger on the phone," he said.
The project, which was first reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, could affect the November election in this battleground state. Democrat Al Gore won in 2000 by a little more than 2 percent of the vote -- about 60,000 ballots.
The Bush campaign launched a similar effort on its Web site. Those who sign up to be campaign volunteers -- and who live in a state the campaign is targeting -- can access a list of their neighbors the campaign would like to reach. The site provides their names, addresses, phone numbers, maps of where each lives and a script with a number of questions -- including whether they are registered to vote, are opposed to abortion rights and support the president.
The script also directs activists to identify themselves as Bush volunteers -- to prevent any questions as to where the respondents' information will end up, the campaign said.
Colson said the Minnesota GOP has also asked its activists to identify themselves as such. But he said it is still possible that some will report on neighbors' views without their permission. "We don't really have a script, so to speak, other than 'get to know your neighbors -- talk to them.' So we've only given them rough guidelines," Colson said.
"But it's not as if we're asking for Social Security number and make and model and serial number of car. We're asking for party preference," he said. "Party preference is not something that is such a personal piece of data."
Online fraudsters appear to be learning how to use America Online's instant messaging chat software to trick people into giving up their personal data. Using a scam known as "phishing," they send unsuspecting IM users a message warning that their AOL billing information must be renewed or their accounts will be suspended. Recipients who click on the link are directed to a site that mimics AOL's members page, which asks for the user to type in their screen name, password, address, credit card number and personal identification number.
The scam was publicized by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, a group of Internet service providers, banks and other companies that tries to fight the spread of online fraud. The working group urges Internet users to be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information, and to avoid filling out forms in e-mail or other online messages that ask for personal and financial information. Instead, consider calling the company on the phone, or logging into the company's Web site directly by typing the Web address in your Internet browser.
More advice on how to avoid falling prey to phishing scams can be found at washingtonpost.com and at the working group's site. Meanwhile, Congress is considering a bill that would toughen criminal penalties against phishers.