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News Briefs

Some Democrats Decry Kerry Leaving $16 Million Unspent


The Democrat who was defeated in one of the closest Senate races in the country joined some other party leaders Thursday in questioning why Senator John F. Kerry kept $16 million in a campaign account rather than donate it to Democrats who desperately needed funding down the stretch.

Kerry aides said the money was set aside to cover late-arriving bills and any legal challenges to the presidential outcome. But other Democrats said the money, which was raised during Kerry’s primary-election campaign and could not be spent on his own general-election campaign due to federal limits, should have been given to other candidates to spend.

Daniel Mongiardo, who lost a US Senate race in Kentucky by slightly more than 1 percentage point, said he would have loved to combat negative advertising by his opponent, Senator Jim Bunning. Mongiardo was unable to afford either mailings or a door-to-door effort to get out the vote, he said.

“We lost in the west, where they were running an ad against me that tied me to Kerry and accused me of being liberal, and that was far from the truth,” said Mongiardo, who estimated that he was outspent 4-1 by Bunning. “But we didn’t have the resources to combat their message. We definitely outworked the guy. We just were underfunded.”

Reporter Faces Jail For Refusing To Say Who Leaked Video


A television reporter here was convicted of criminal contempt on Thursday for refusing to identify the person who leaked him an FBI videotape in 2001 concerning an investigation of government corruption in Providence.

Jim Taricani, a longtime investigative reporter for WJAR, an NBC affiliate, faces the possibility of up to six months in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 9.

Taricani would be one of only a handful of journalists to go to prison for refusing to identify a source. He is also one of several reporters now facing court action over their refusal to reveal confidential sources, but he is only one among them to go on trial on criminal contempt charges.

“When I became a reporter 30 years ago, I never imagined that I would be put on trial and face the prospect of going to jail simply for doing my job,” Taricani said outside the courthouse after Judge Ernest C. Torres, chief judge in the U.S. District Court in Providence, pronounced him guilty.

For 9/11 Families, Payments Ranged From Zero to Millions


The federal Victim Compensation Fund, the ambitious endeavor that delivered $7 billion to the families of those killed or injured on Sept. 11, issued its final report Wednesday. It is an avalanche of data that captures, in detailed and sometimes new ways, the fund’s largest awards and its many inequities, the demographics of the dead, and the time it took to get the grief-stricken their checks.

Among the disclosures, the report shows that the fund, established to compensate for the lost earning potential of the dead, paid awards for 17 victims -- children among them -- who listed no income at the time of the attacks. For the 25 wealthiest victims -- people who were earning $2 million a year or more -- awards averaged $6.3 million. And for those who applied but were ultimately deemed ineligible, it took an average of nearly six months to learn that no check would come.