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Washington Wrap

Back In The Saddle: Campaign finance reform may hit the Senate floor this week in the final step before it reaches President Bush's desk to become law. But the threat of a GOP filibuster looms with Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle saying they have the required 60 votes to end the stalling maneuver. However, Republicans are convinced the Dems don't have the necessary votes.

Anticipating the implementation of campaign reform, effective after November's elections, the parties are furiously raising "soft," or unregulated, unlimited donations. Wednesday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is expecting to raise $4.5 million at an event headlined by independent Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont. And over the next three weeks, the Washington Post reports, congressional Democrats and Republicans are expected to raise a total of $15 million.

Returning to the Senate floor, members are expected to work on energy legislation, a bill offered by Democrats that focuses more on conservation than a White House-supported bill that passed the House. Look for some Democrats to stall the bill, namely Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, if Republicans continue to press the issue of drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Enron is also back in the spotlight this week with a few hearings scheduled on the Senate side. The big one is Tuesday's Senate Commerce Committee hearing which features former Enron folks who have previously testified: ex-CEO Jeffrey Skilling, ex-President Jeffrey McMahon and ex-VP Sherron Watkins.

President Bush, meantime, meets with some of the nation's governors who are in town for the National Governors Association meeting which ends Tuesday. On Wednesday, Mr. Bush heads to Charlotte, N.C., to campaign with Senate candidate Elizabeth Dole, who officially kicked off her run on Saturday.

Also, keep an eye out for Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., who speaks with Larry King tonight, a week before his primary.

Not So Out of Sight: Where was Vice President Dick Cheney when he was hanging out in "undisclosed" locations? Time magazine reports he was helping fellow Republicans on the fund-raising circuit.

Republican officials told Time that within a few days after a December White House warning of potential terrorist action, Cheney was on the road drumming up donations for congressional Republicans. Three days after the alert, Cheney spoke to a dinner for House Majority Leader Dick Armey in Dallas, who was raising money for an election fund. The next day, he took part in a fund-raiser for House Republican Conference chairman J.C. Watts in Oklahoma City. And the veep also attended a Washington fund-raiser for Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott.

Cheney's office told Time that these were prescheduled events and were not the only ones he was present at during that time.

On another Cheney front: Congressional investigators finally sued him to release the ames of Enron and other energy industry leaders who met with his energy task force.

Pulling No Punches: Former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, whose huge lead in California's GOP gubernatorial primary has all but disappeared, went on the warpath at a Latino Summit organized by the RNC and state Republican Party.

Riordan accused Democratic Gov. Gray Davis of undercutting Proposition 227, which limits bilingual education. "Gray Davis, in the name of God, in the name of our children, stop this," Riordan said referring to suspicions that Davis opposes the proposition. "It's worse than nonsense. It's downright evil."

He said this while standing with a Hispanic woman who claimed her English-speaking son was being kept in a Spanish-language class despite her requests.

Riordan's renewed vigor comes as the candidate, hand-picked by President Bush, has tumbled in the polls, thanks to an expensive ad campaign by Davis and intra-party attacks from businessman Bill Simon and Secretary of State Bill Jones. California's primary is next Tuesday.

Wellstone's Not So Well: Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., walks around with a pronounced limp that he's always told people was an injury from his wrestling days.

Well, Wellstone announced Sunday that it's a bit more serious than that: multiple sclerosis.

He was diagnosed with a mild form of the disease last month and has probably been living with it for the last 15 years. It only effects his right leg and doesn't require medication.

Wellstone is currently in a tight re-election race against Republican Norm Coleman but he says this diagnosis shouldn't effect his campaign. "The stress of this campaign is what I want to do, to be perfectly honest. And the stress of being a senator is what I want to do," Wellstone told the Associated Press.

Quote of the Day: "I'm getting worried about the economy. I was the first one laid off last year." -Al Gore at a Washington, D.C., fund-raiser last Friday.

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