TIME TO INVESTIGATE THE MANAGUA SURPRISE (House of Representatives - November 05, 1991)

[Page: H9361]

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Louisiana [Mr. Livingston] is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. LIVINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, as my colleagues know, 31 years ago today, on election day in 1960, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley withheld scores of Cook County precincts until he knew just how many votes were needed to deliver Illinois to John Kennedy for the President of the United States. Combined with the known vote fraud in Texas, that was enough to throw the election from Richard Nixon to Jack Kennedy.

[TIME: 1530]

Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of hard evidence that this occurred, but do the Democrats urge an investigation? No. But when a disgruntled former aide to President Carter spends 3 years peddling the October Surprise story that Reagan aides dealt with Iran to hold hostages until after the 1980 election, and he finally gets an article in the New York Times, suddenly the Democrats act as if we have another Teapot Dome affair.

Of course, they make no mention of the many discredited stories panhandled by this same partisan staffer. They do not admit that he at one time had unequivocally proclaimed that Bush was in Paris secretly meeting with the Iranians at a time when Secret Service logs clearly showed that George Bush was in Washington. Nor

do they mention that several of the corroborating linchpins in the October surprise allegations, including Iranian Bani-Sadr, have each frequently been caught in half truths, distortions, and outright lies, as now acknowledged by the New Republic and Newsweek magazines of this week, appearing in yesterday's Congressional Record in a special order taken out by me.

The fact is, Mr. Speaker, that the Democrats have a very selective moral indignation. They gave a wink and a nod to the vote fraud of 1960. They act unconcerned that President Lyndon Johnson, who was born in near poverty and who spent a career in public service, somehow managed to retire as a multimillionaire--this from the same group that was so fixated on Ed Meese's cufflinks.

We hear no cries of investigation of such things as I have just mentioned, or for investigations into the relationship, for example, between ex-President Jimmy Carter and his pal, Bert Lance, and BCCI, the Bank of Crooks and Criminals. Interestingly enough, but hardly surprising, we do not hear a peep of interest from them over possibly illicit contacts between Democratic Members of this Chamber and the Communist Sandinista Government of Nicaragua.

Mr. Speaker, several current and former Members of this body held private talks with high-ranking Sandinista officials, both in Nicaragua and here in Washington and over the phone between them. These same Sandinista officials were at the time receiving some $500 million in weaponry each year from the Soviet Union, the old Soviet Union. There were some men in communist control over that country, and they were systematically and brutally stamping out all forms of dissent, political, ethnic, and even religious, in their own country, and training and arming communist terrorists and subversives to take over their neighbors.

Just what did these Democratic Members discuss with the Sandinistas in those meetings? Just what did they discuss during all those private phone calls to the Nicaraguan Embassy? What information did their staffs convey in other private communications? Well, we do not know. Suddenly these self-same paragons of open government have grown silent, and they have refused to allow the transcripts of their conversations to be made public. Yet the evidence is trickling out that some may have engaged in some truly outrageous and possibly even criminal acts.

There are serious allegations that they disclosed classified information to a Communist country or the leaders of a Communist country, and that is an outrage and worse. There are allegations they may have coerced other Central American governments into supporting the Sandinistas by threatening them with cutting off their U.S. foreign assistance if they did not cooperate. Then there is even a credible allegation that a Democratic staffer deliberately advised the Sandinistas to temporarily relax their serious human rights abuses for the sole purpose of avoiding congressional action in favor of the Contras.

Yet, they have the audacity to claim that their rights were violated by CIA agents who monitored their contacts. Now, let us be clear, Mr. Speaker. The U.S. Government did not violate anybody's rights in obtaining this information. In fact, our intelligence agencies were monitoring the Sandinistas' cables, not those of Americans. If some people got caught under those circumstances, well, I say good.

Mr. Speaker, their protests will not wash. The facts do not add up. There is something rotten in Nicaragua and its trail leads all the way into this Chamber. That is why we need an investigation into these contacts, not as revenge for the October surprise investigation, which has been proven bogus by the New Republic and Newsweek magazines. No, it is not that easy. We need this investigation because questions have been raised, serious questions, about the integrity of certain Members and their conduct while on official business. It is time to answer those questions and to set the record straight. It is time to investigate the Managua surprise.

[Page: H9362]

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Pease] is recognized for 5 minutes.

[Mr. PEASE addressed the House. His remarks will appear hereafter in the Extensions of Remarks.]