NEED FOR APPOINTMENT OF INDEPENDENT COUNSEL (House of Representatives - April 08, 1997)

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 21, 1997, the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Buyer] is recognized during morning hour debates for 5 minutes.

Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, I come to the House floor; I do not come here often, but I come with very deep concern. A majority of the majority party Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. The letter that we sent was pursuant to section 592(g) of title 28, United States Code, that she apply for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate the following matters:

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The illegal contributions to the Democratic National Committee in connection with the 1996 elections.

No. 2, the attempted influence of the 1996 elections by foreign countries, foreign corporations, or persons representing such entities; and, No. 3, the improper fundraising conduct or practices by administration officials, the Democratic National Committee, or individuals working on behalf of the committee in connection with the 1996 elections.

We believe that section 591(c) of the Independent Counsel Act necessitates that Attorney General Janet Reno seek the appointment of independent counsel in reference to the matters which I just listed. Accordingly, per section 591(c), the Attorney General has been authorized to initiate the preliminary investigation which is defined by the act and is distinct from the Department's current investigations into the matters.

We also believe that it is very clear that the matters referred to are an obvious political conflict of interest for the Attorney General and other political appointees within the Department of Justice.

I am well aware that she has held at bay those of us who have been asking for the appointment of special counsel by saying that there is not sufficient credible evidence. I am not so certain how much more credible evidence she needs.

Often the Washington Post it seems gets cited here on the House floor, not by Republicans but by Democrats on the House floor, and here we have now Bob Woodward, who gained national attention with regard to President Nixon some years ago, is now talking about allegations that the White House supplied top secret intelligence information to the Democratic National Committee to keep a Latvian businessman with alleged ties to organized crime, international crime, from attending a $25,000 fundraiser with President Clinton.

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe anyone in this country has a problem with the National Security Agency advising the President with regard to an individual, whether they should or should not be at a Presidential dinner. It is part of their job. What is distressing, though, is when the National Security Agency leaks top secret, classified information to political operatives, that being that our intelligence architecture was monitoring the international calls of this alleged organized crime individual and syndicate, and the fact that that intelligence was leaked to someone who did not have a right to know, who did not have a security clearance, is a breach of our security at the highest levels within the White House.

Why was that done? It was information that was leaked and it was done under this guise, under the pressures of political fundraising. As a matter of fact, to quote out of this article, I guess quoting whomever Bob Woodward is using for his intelligence to write this article, he quotes a White House senior official that the information that was leaked was top secret and it further demonstrates the total politicalization of all intelligence and White House operations, anything and everything was done in the name of fundraising at the White House.

Mr. Speaker, the reason that the Committee on the Judiciary had asked for the special counsel deals with the outright admissions by the Vice President, Al Gore, and Ms. Margaret Williams having admitted engaging in fundraising activities, the propriety of which is being questioned by many within the White House itself. I have heard in their defense even the Vice President would say, well, there is no controlling legal authority, some kind of a lawyerly type of language that only lawyers can understand. But when you pull out Title XVIII of the U.S. Code it is very clear, and it being very clear for people that anywhere can understand in America, that fundraising activity is not permitted in Federal buildings.

So whether it is out of my congressional office, whether it is out of a senatorial office, whether it is a Cabinet member or the President of the United States, it is wrong, and Janet Reno as the Attorney General of the United States, we seek your appointment with due speed.

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