Clinton Critic to Head House Oversight Panel

From Associated Press

Republicans on Friday chose Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), long a tough critic of President Clinton, to chair the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight in the next Congress. The panel oversees the executive branch and is a natural to investigate Democratic fund-raising practices, Whitewater and other ethical accusations involving the White House.

Burton, 58, took to the House floor in July 1994 to suggest that White House aide Vincent Foster was murdered and did not commit suicide as investigators had concluded.

Burton has also accused the Clinton administration of covering up political murders in Haiti and requested data on the White House’s costs of responding to mail for Socks, the Clintons’ cat.



Concerned that the seven-term veteran of Congress and former real estate agent might not be perceived as a credible, fair interrogator, House leaders have discussed creating a separate, special committee to handle the Clinton investigations, say Republicans speaking on condition of anonymity.

Burton is insisting that he will be evenhanded.

“I will be fair but thorough,” he said in a written statement Friday. “I will not go on any witch hunts. I will handle the chairmanship with a spirit of civility and bipartisanship that might surprise some people around here.”

Burton was one of 17 committee chairmen Republicans selected Friday. All but four are holdovers.

Rep. Joseph M. McDade (R-Pa.) lost his bid to chair the Appropriations Committee but will head its energy and water subcommittee.

McDade, the panel’s senior Republican, was acquitted in August of bribery and racketeering charges.

The committee chairmen, all Republicans:

Agriculture: Bob Smith (Ore.)

Appropriations: Bob Livingston (La.)

Banking: James Leach (Iowa)

Budget: John R. Kasich (Ohio)

Commerce: Thomas J. Bliley Jr. (Va.)

Economic and Educational Opportunities: William Goodling (Pa.)

Government Reform and Oversight: Dan Burton (Ind.)

International Relations: Benjamin A. Gilman (N.Y.)

Judiciary: Henry J. Hyde (Ill.)

National Security: Floyd Spence (S.C.)

Resources: Don Young (Alaska)

Rules: Gerald B.H. Solomon (N.Y.)

Science: F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Wis.)

Small Business: James M. Talent (Mo.)

Transportation: Bud Shuster (Pa.)

Veterans’ Affairs: Bob Stump (Ariz.)

Ways and Means: Bill Archer (Texas)