In Silicon Valley, GOP help for Gore

By Globe Staff and Wires, 12/7/2000

AN JOSE - A high-tech philanthropist - and registered Republican - has undertaken to help supporters of Democratic candidate Al Gore pay some of the mounting Florida legal bills. Steve Kirsch, who founded Infoseek and has become one of Silicon Valley's most aggressive philanthropists, has already wired $200,000 to Seminole and Martin counties to help pro-Gore forces battling over thousands of absentee votes in two Florida counties. He has pledged to spend at least another $150,000. ''I think you can very easily show statistically that Gore won the election, and it is just not right that the actual count does not reflect that,'' Kirsch said yesterday. Although a registered Republican, Kirsch has been a supporter of Gore's bid for the presidency since he met the vice president at a Silicon Valley fund-raiser featuring rock star Elton John. ''There were lawyers who were about to drop out of the case because they were not getting paid, they were doing it all pro bono,'' Kirsch said. ''So I'm paying their legal bills.'' (Reuters)

WASHINGTON, D.C. Inaugural panel is forging ahead

Congressional leaders held the traditional nail-driving ceremony yesterday to kick off construction of the platform on which the yet-to-be-named president-elect will be sworn in next month. But even they seemed a bit baffled by the historic presidential election that had Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush scrambling to see who had enough votes to be declared the winner. ''Hopefully we will have the answer of `who' sometime soon,'' said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Senator Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat and member of the committee, put another spin on it: ''This ceremony is an American ceremony. This ceremony can be planned around the event without necessarily knowing.'' But even McConnell admitted the delayed election results were beginning to cause problems planning the Jan. 20 event. Thousands of programs, invitations and tickets that would ''normally be in the printing process'' are not completed because of the uncertainty, McConnell said. The committee is responsible for planning the inaugural activities at the Capitol: the swearing-in ceremony and the luncheon honoring the president and vice president. (AP)

NEW YORK No Bush effort on executions seen

NEW YORK - Despite George W. Bush's staunch support of the death penalty, it is doubtful he will lead a push for federal executions if he becomes president, the head of the American Bar Association said yesterday. Martha Barnett, a Tallahassee lawyer who is an active voice for the ABA's call for a death penalty moratorium, said that she particularly does not see Bush making federal executions an agenda item in light of statistical data showing problems with the administration of capital punishment. ''I don't see him taking a leadership role in this at all,'' Barnett said. ''I don't see a lot of movement at all at the federal level with a Bush administration even to the degree they may want to ... speed up or heighten potential federal executions and thereby influence governors and others in the states.'' Bush has presided over 149 executions in Texas since becoming governor of that state in 1995. (Reuters)