That's hardly conclusive evidence, but it may be enough to tip the balance in the DOJ's bitter civil war over whether to call for a campaign-finance independent counsel. Repeated calls for a probe from Louis Freeh and prosecutor Charles La Bella have so far gone unheeded by Janet Reno; according to a report in Thursday's New York Times, however, the A-G is beginning to swing. Reno has until the end of August to order a 90-day preliminary inquiry into the allegations against Gore. That's just enough time to give Al a nice "welcome home" present.
If Al Gore thought vacationing in Hawaii would shelter him from Washington woes, he was sadly mistaken. As new evidence emerges in the case of the mysterious fund-raising phone calls, the Veep is once again in danger of finding his very own Ken Starr yapping at his heels. Justice Department investigators have turned up a 1995 memo from a senior Gore aide indicating that he and his boss discussed ways of diverting Democratic Party soft-money contributions into the Clinton-Gore reelection fund -- an apparent contravention of campaign finance laws.