Several years ago, the
Clinton Administration nominated William Weld, a Republican political
figure in Massachusetts, to be the U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
Weld, as governor of the state, had gained a reputation of being
a "liberal Republican" and thus was not welcome by Senator Jesse
Helms and some of his ultraconservative friends in Congress. In
what ultimately was a successful campaign to defeat Weld's nomination,
Helms argued that Weld was soft on drugs and thus would be a danger
in Mexico. As the debate neared its conclusion, the Globe became
aware of Justice Department data developed and published by TRAC
some years before that showed that when Weld had been the U.S.
Attorney in Massachusetts before being governor he had dramatically
increased the prosecution of illegal drugs in his district. The
record showed that Weld was in no way soft on drugs. Reporter
Kate Zernike used the numbers for extensive follow-up reporting.
On August 17, 1997, the Globe ran Zernike's front-page investigation
proving that the allegations about Weld were false.