Feds investigate Rep. Condit

by Alice Gomstyn | 7/13/01 5:00am

The investigation into the disappearance of Chandra Levy, a 24 year-old former Washington intern, continued yesterday as police began an extensive search of abandoned buildings in Northwest Washington near the apartments of Levy and Congressman Gary Condit, D-CA.

Members of the Levy family have told the press that Condit and Levy, one of Condit's constituents and then an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, were once romantically involved and cite their alleged relationship as cause for Condit to undergo a lie detector test as part of the investigation. Although Condit never publicly confirmed their allegations, according to CNN, he admitted to having an affair with Levy to police last week.

Levy was last seen at a D.C. health club on April 30. She had just completed her internship and was planning to return home for her college graduation.

Meanwhile, in the White House, President Bush has reportedly spent much of this past week agonizing over whether or not to allow the continued federal financing of embryonic stem cell research.

In 1995, Congress passed a ban on federal funding for research entailing the destruction of human embryos. A policy instituted last year by the Clinton administration, however, allowed for stem cell research to be exempted from the ban provided that no federally financed researchers are involved in the destruction of embryos.

Bush now faces pressure from both conservative anti-abortion groups who claim that the policy circumvents national law and urge the President to overturn it, and from an array of actors favoring stem cell research, including doctors, scientists and potential beneficiaries of stem cell technology.

While Bush continues his deliberation on stem cell research, the House of Representatives is just beginning its consideration of two campaign finance reform bills. Debate on the competing proposals opened yesterday afternoon after the House Rules Committee decided the parameters of the impending proceedings in a late night vote on Wednesday.

The rules put in place by the committee require that a package of adjustments to the Shays-Meehan bill -- the House companion to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill passed by the Senate in April -- be broken up into individual amendments, meaning that each would be subject to a separate floor vote.

Democrats claim that the rules set by the GOP-led committee put the bill, which is backed by most House Democrats, at a disadvantage.

The Shays-Meehan bill is being challenged by the Ney-Wynn bill, the campaign-finance legislation supported by House Republican leadership. Unlike its rival, the Ney-Wynn bill does not limit the distribution of television and radio issue ads -- ads that critics claim are largely funded by soft money (unregulated donations made to political parties by individuals or groups).