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Moseley-Braun Mostly Passes

After weeks of wrangling between Democrats and Sen. Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate approved the nomination of former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun as ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. The vote was 96-2, and CBS News Capitol Hill Correspondent Bob Fuss reports the dissenting votes were Helms and Peter Fitzgerald, the Republican who beat Mosley-Braun in the last election to take her Senate seat.

Helms, who many lawmakers contend has a personal grudge against the Illinois Democrat, had suggested that Moseley-Braun should "look for another line of work."

Moseley-Braun had been the nation's first black female senator, representing Illinois, until her defeat in 1998.

Congressional Democrats and civil rights organizations had accused Helms of trying to block the nomination to settle an old score - a 1993 clash between the two on the Senate floor over use of the Confederate flag.

Helms had said Moseley-Braun was under an "ethical cloud." He allowed hearings on her nomination by his Committee only after the White House complied with Helms' demand for documents from the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service on Moseley-Braun's background investigation.

Helms, R-N.C., had declined to schedule the hearing until the administration went along with his demand for what he termed "essential" documents.

Among the issues were allegations that Moseley-Braun used leftover 1992 campaign funds for personal luxuries.