Justice Denies House Panel Data on Campaign Finance Probe
The Justice Department on Monday refused to give a House committee two internal memos recommending that its campaign finance investigation be turned over to an independent counsel, which Atty. Gen. Janet Reno has declined to do.
Committee chairman Dan Burton (R-Ind.) said he would discuss the department’s decision with panel members today, and may issue a contempt citation against Reno for refusing to obey a congressional subpoena.
Reno and FBI Director Louis J. Freeh “both agree strongly that they are opposed to releasing these documents,” Justice spokesman Bert Brandenburg said. “No prosecutor anywhere should have to hand out a road map to an investigation and reveal information that could tip off the guilty and smear the innocent.”
Calling the subpoena by the Government Reform and Oversight Committee “unprecedented political tampering with law enforcement,” Brandenburg said attorneys general under Presidents Reagan and both Roosevelts also had refused to give Congress documents from open criminal investigations.
Burton said Justice’s explanation was insincere, as his subpoena excluded secret grand jury information. He said he was seeking only the reasoning behind the decision of Freeh and departing chief of the Justice campaign finance task force, Charles LaBella.