Today's Papers

PAC Men Yes, Pac Man No

At the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post the lead story is the investigation of Bill Clinton’s fund raising. At USA Today, it’s IRS abuses. And the New York Times goes with a new national database designed to catch deadbeat parents.

The LAT lead describes how Republican leaders are intensifying their drive to get Janet Reno to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Clinton’s alleged campaign-fund soliciting. (USAT also has a front-page story on this upwelling of Republican pressure.) The LAT has Sen. Orrin Hatch saying that Reno should have commenced a review “seven months ago,” and that, “It seems to me there’s politics being played all the way around.”

But the WP lead reports a nonpolitical if not exactly confidence-inspiring cause of the delay: The records of Clinton’s White House fund-raising calls, although turned over to a Department of Justice task force months ago, were not examined by the relevant DOJ attorneys until a few days ago.

The LAT goes front page with the results of a survey it did of corporate political giving. Of the 544 biggest U.S. corporations, the paper reports, 26 percent made no political contributions and didn’t operate PACs during the 1995-1996 election cycle. Included in this number are IBM, Campbell Soup, and Gillette.

The NYT lead tells of the inauguration on Oct. 1 of a federally administered “vast database” of all new hires in jobs nationwide that is expected to yield a considerable increase–possibly billions–in the payment of child support. That’s because states will be able to use the directory to locate deadbeat parents and dun them, typically by getting court orders that force their employers to deduct the owed child support from paychecks. The Times does however quote a privacy expert who expressed concern that “private detectives will find a friend in the police department or a child welfare office to give them access to information” from the new database.

USAT reports in its lead that the battle over the IRS’s tactics and powers is due to intensify Tuesday when the Senate Finance committee opens hearings on the agency. The inquiry will look into whether the agency is overzealous in its use of liens and levies, and tends to pick on small “mom and pop” returns that are less likely to mean a challenge to the IRS in court–rather than major corporations.

The Wall Street Journal and USAT run front-page items about a new breakthrough in computer chip technology to be announced today by IBM–using copper instead of aluminum in semiconductors, which will mean smaller, faster, and more powerful computer chips. This development, the papers observe, could be a boon not just to IBM’s computer line, but also to its chip manufacturing division, which has already grown quite a bit in recent years. (The WP buries this story eight pages in.)

The NYT recounts on its front page how employers are cracking down on their employees’ office use of computers for nonwork-related activities. Some of the new management measures include software programs that allow managers to track which Web sites employees are visiting during work, and the provision of stripped-down computers that don’t take games, and a software package called “Antigame,” that scans office PC networks for games and zaps them.

The fight, says the Times, has hit Congress too. Sen. Lauch Faircloth became so incensed earlier this year when he caught members of his staff playing PC games in the office that he has introduced an amendment to a pending bill that would require federal agencies to remove any games installed on their computers and prohibit the purchase of new computers that have games pre-installed. The Senate has unanimously approved the amendment, which now awaits House action.