The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on September 28, 1996 · Page 10
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 10

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, September 28, 1996
Page 10
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AID SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1996 NATION THE SALINA JOURNAL T WASHINGTON Ethics committee scores with Gingrich investigation Probe into House speaker's college course broadened By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — The House ethics subcommittee members who broadened an investigation of Speaker Newt Gingrich weeks before the election knew a failure to act would damage their credibility. The subcommittee decision Thursday virtually wrote the copy for new Democratic campaign ads — but also enabled the panel to counter Democrats' accusations of stalling. "If it didn't get resolved now," subcommittee members would have been peppered mercilessly with the question: "How can you justify this?" said a congressional source close to the investigation, insisting on anonymity. "The members moved forward in the way they needed to," said House Democratic Whip David Bonior, a fierce critic of Gingrich. "I don't think they could ignore the reality of the spot ... they were in." Immediately after the panel of two Republicans and two Democrats acted, Gingrich's Democratic critics switched tactics, ending criticism of the subcommittee and demanding instead that Gingrich step aside as speaker during the in- GINGR'CH vestigation. The original Gingrich probe authorized last December called for an investigation of a college course he taught to detennine whether it was a political activity that violated tax laws. The subcommittee voted unanimously Thursday to scrutinize the reliability of Gingrich's statements, examine his use of non-government personnel and facilities and dig deeper into his relationships with tax-exempt organizations. Subcommittee members would not discuss their deliberations, but people familiar with the process noted several other key factors in the decision: • The members had met numerous times the past three weeks and were ready to act on expanding the probe. If they stalled at this stage, they would have been obstructing their own investigation. • The panel's two Democrats, Nancy Pelosi of California and Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, had been pressured by members of their party to do something before adjournment. It is likely they vigorously carried this message into deliberations with Republican Reps. Porter Goss of Florida and Steven Schiff of New Mexico. • Schiff is a former district attorney with long experience making investigative decisions when the evidence dictated the time was ripe. Further, he has never been close to Gingrich and voted against him for GOP whip in 1989. • Lawmakers familiar with outside counsel James M. Cole say that if the former federal prosecutor believed new questions had to be answered, he would not sit quietly by and watch the committee stall. After the panel members acted,, both parties immediately tried to turn, the decision to partisan advantage.,, Democratic Rep. Norm Dicks,of, Washington said Republicans are how itching to "end this Congress and go home." "They feel they've got to distance themselves from the Congress, the speaker, and get home and win on the local level," Dicks said. ESPY T AGRICULTURE Espy probe focuses on gifts Grand jury investigation of Tyson Foods to return indictment later this year By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — A special prosecutor's investigation of corporate favors to former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy is focusing more sharply on officers and directors at Tyson Foods Inc., the Arkansas-based meat and poultry giant. Defense attorney Henry F. Schuelke III, who represents an indicted Tyson's lobbyist, said Friday he was informed by prosecutors that the grand jury investigating Tyson Foods is expected to return an indictment this year. Prosecutor Robert W. Ray would discuss neither timing nor charges, but he did confirm that a grand jury in Washington was hearing evidence against the company and "its officers and directors." The disclosures came during , court proceedings to set a trial date for Jack L. Williams, a contract lobbyist for Tyson Foods, and agree on a release of prosecution evidence to the defense. Ray was seeking assurances that some of the evidence would not be shared with people who were under investigation but had not been charged. The proceedings come the same week that prosecutors for Independent Counsel Donald C. Smaltz won the conviction of Sun-Diamond Growers of California, another agribusiness giant, on charges it provided nearly $6,000 worth of meals, luggage, sports tickets and other favors to Espy. Williams pleaded innocent to charges of lying to federal investigators about his role in providing favors on Tyson Food's behalf to Espy and his girlfriend, Patricia Dempsey. The gifts include $1,009 in air travel and a $1,200 scholarship for Dempsey, as well as tickets, meals and limousine rides for Espy and Dempsey for a National Football League playoff game in Dallas in January, said the indictment, returned Sept. 17. V KEVORKIAN Koop says npt to fund suicides By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Denouncing Dr. Jack Kevorkian and others who help patients kill themselves, congressional lawmakers and doctors pushed legislation Friday that would ensure federal funds don't pay for assisted suicides. "Society must not allow doctors to be killers as well as healers," said former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. The bill was spurred by Oregon's 1994 referendum to legalize assisted suicide. A federal judge has blocked that law, but the lawmakers feared an appeals court would reinstate it. In addition, they said, the director of Oregon's Medicaid program has expressed the intention to use federal Medicaid funds to reimburse assisted-suicide services. 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