ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: LET'S SHUT DOWN IRAN-CONTRA PROBE (House of Representatives - July 24, 1990)

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(Mr. BROOMFIELD asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks, and include extraneous matter.)

Mr. BROOMFIELD. Mr. Speaker, 3 years ago, when the congressional investigation of the Iran-Contra affair was winding down, I said that the investigation went on too long.

Nothing that has happened since then has changed my judgment.

The special prosecutor has hired a treasure trove of attorneys, spent tens of millions of dollars over the better part of 4 years, and still hasn't done any better.

Enough is enough. Lawrence Walsh has invested an elephant's worth of taxpayer dollars, and he has come up with a mouse.

Today I sent a letter to Attorney General Thornburgh asking him to shut down the office. And I plan to introduce legislation putting a 2-year sunset provision on future special prosecutors.

Mr. Speaker, I include my letter to the Attorney General as part of the Record.

House of Representatives,
Washington, DC, July 24, 1990.

Hon. Richard L. Thornburgh,
Attorney General,
Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

Dear Mr. Attorney General: I am writing to request that you use your authority under title 28, chapter 40, section 596(b)(2) of the United States Code to begin actions to terminate the office of independent counsel established for the Iran-Contra matter.

Last Friday's decision by the federal appeals panel setting aside the convictions of Lt. Col. Oliver North again focuses attention on Lawrence Walsh's `perpetual investigation,' which has continued for the better part of four years and cost tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. I believe we are well past the point where further pursuit of this matter by an independent counsel serves any public good. Your office can tie up any remaining loose ends from the current investigation and make appropriate decisions as to how to respond to the recent court decision.

The Iran-Contra affair has been thoroughly investigated; we've paid for two congressional committees, a presidential commission, and an independent counsel; and scores of lawyers, accountants, and investigators have pored over the documents, interviewed hundreds of witnesses, and issued report after report. Still, Walsh seems intent on ensconcing himself as part of the permanent bureaucracy as he continues to pursue his investigation, which might more appropriately be labeled a fishing expedition. I believe the time has come to say enough is enough.

Already, Walsh has spent twice as long on his investigation as any other Independent Counsel or Special Prosecutor appointed since enactment of the Ethics in Government statute save one. Prolonging this appointment, and moving into new areas as Walsh declared he was going to do following the Poindexter conviction (which now also seems likely to be set aside), is contrary to the intent of the authorizing statute. Congress never intended that a special prosecutor make a career of his investigation. In fact, when we reauthorized the Independent Counsel Act in 1987, we tried to make it clear that the independent counsel should work as diligently and as quickly as possible to resolve his particular investigation or prosecution.

The Independent Counsel Reauthorization Act of 1987 gives you the authority to request that the division of the court terminate an office of independent counsel and have remaining matters turned over to your office for completion. I hope you will act swiftly to put this entire ordeal behind us.


William S. Broomfield,
Member of Congress.