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Dirt, or consequences?

After a long honeymoon with the national news media, front-runner Gov. George Bush is now contending with a number of persistent charges.

*Allegations of drug use, including cocaine, have dogged Mr. Bush over the past year. Bush recently said he could have passed his father's strict background check back in 1989, which forbade top-level personnel from being hired if they'd engaged in any illegal drug use in the past 15 years.

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Bush's most recent response, at a campaign stop on Friday: "I think the baby-boomer parent ought to say, 'I've learned from mistakes I may or may not have made, and I'd like to share some wisdom with you, and that is don't use drugs."

*In a lawsuit, fired Texas lottery director Lawrence Littwin has accused Mr. Bush of using his father's position as a Texas congressman nearly 30 years ago to secure a spot on the National Guard, in the middle of the Vietnam War. Mr. Littwin, who has subpoenaed the governor's testimony, charges him with an act of quid pro quo, awarding the state's lottery contract to G-tech, a company represented by Ben Barnes. Mr. Barnes was lieutenant governor of Texas during the Vietnam War, and could have interceded in selecting the final candidates for the Texas Air National Guard.

Bush's response, through spokeswoman Linda Edwards: "There is no reason for the governor to go to court because the governor was not involved in the Lottery Commission's decision to dismiss Mr. Littwin."

*Salon, an online magazine, is in the vanguard of reports that Bush's office is being sued by Eliza May, former director of the Texas Funeral Service Commission. She charges that Bush interfered in a state investigation of a powerful Houston funeral-home business and had her fired. The business, Service Corporation International, was a major donor to President Bush's campaign.

Bush's response, via Ms. Edwards: "Governor Bush stands by what he said in his affidavit, which is what he has said all along - that he was not involved in the case and has no personal knowledge of the facts of the case."

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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