Democrats urge Steele to cancel event with Rove

July 13, 2005|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

National Democrats said yesterday that Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele should cancel a fund-raising event featuring White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove because of Rove's possible involvement in the leak of the name of a CIA officer.

Steele is exploring a bid for U.S. Senate, and a July 26 event in Washington - featuring Rove and hosted by Sen. Elizabeth Dole and the National Republican Senatorial Committee - is expected to be one of his first large-scale money-raising functions.

Rove has been under fire in recent days as the possible source who leaked information that Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, was a Central Intelligence Agency agent.

Wilson wrote an article casting doubt on the Bush administration's claims of an Iraqi weapons program as justification for war. The disclosure of Plame's identity, which is a possible federal crime, is widely viewed as retaliation for Wilson's views.

Phil Singer, a spokesman with the national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, alleged that Rove, the architect of Bush's election victories, participated in a "dastardly act that might have compromised our national security. Michael Steele has to decide whether that is the kind of person who reflects his values and those of Maryland."

Steele will not cancel the event, said Dan Ronayne, a spokesman for the GOP senatorial committee, which is coordinating the early stages of Steele's potential Senate bid.

"The national Democrats are very concerned about Michael Steele. They know he is in a great position to win this race should he decide to run, and that is why they are attacking him to death," Ronayne said.

Steele is considering running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, a Democrat who has chosen not to seek re-election next year.

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