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This article appeared in the June 26, 1998 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Battle rages around McDade-Murtha `Citizens Protection Act of 1998'

Lobbying efforts are intensifying on Capitol Hill, both on the part of those seeking passage of the Citizens Protection Act of 1998, and of those determined to block it at all costs. The bill, H.R. 3396, was introduced on March 5 by Representatives Joseph McDade (R-Pa.) and John Murtha (D-Pa.), and is designed to clean up prosecutorial abuses by the permanent bureaucracy in the Department of Justice and other government agencies (see "Exonerate LaRouche to Stop America's Political Lynchings," EIR, May 15, 1998). As of June 18, the bill has 167 Congressional co-sponsors, out of 218 that would be required to force the Congressional leadership to hold hearings.

The Schiller Institute has sponsored several delegations of dignitaries from around the country, to meet with Congressmen and their aides, and to press for passage of the bill. They are insisting that the case of Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. be placed at the center of Congressional hearings on the matter. As EIR reported on June 5, the railroad prosecution of LaRouche and his associates manifested nearly all the areas of prosecutorial misconduct that the bill covers, including indictment without probable cause; failure to promptly release information that would exonerate a person under indictment; intentional misleading of a court as to the guilt of any person; intentional or knowing misstatement of evidence, etc.

This mobilization has drawn opposition from the Department of Justice and its advocates. The National Association of U.S. Attorneys has not only sent out a letter opposing McDade-Murtha, but is descending upon Congressional offices to lobby against it.

Attorney General Janet Reno, at her weekly press conference at the Justice Department on June 18, denounced the bill, and said she would advise the President to veto it, should it pass the Congress.

In response to a question on McDade-Murtha, Reno said:

"Well, I think the sponsors of this bill are trying to solve a problem that really doesn't exist. I've had a chance to review on a regular basis the complaints that are received, and they are few and far between, considering the thousands of lawyers within the department. They are--the lawyers of this department are really extraordinarily dedicated. I have watched them in action. I've seen the results of their work. And I think that the standards they exhibit don't require something like this in the least.

"The bill constitutes, I think, an unjustified and an unwarranted interference with lawful and effective Federal law enforcement. I think it would interfere with that effort, and if the bill passes, I'm going to strongly urge the President to veto it."

Asked what is "driving" this bill, she continued:

"I don't know exactly what's driving it, but my message to everyone is that we're committed to ensuring that our attorneys and our employees conform to the highest standards of conduct. We have a formal disciplinary proceeding for attorneys, which is administered by the Office of Professional Responsibility. The department's law enforcement agencies have their own Office of Professional Responsibility or are reviewed by the inspector general. The department has an extensive training program in legal ethics, and each United States Attorney's office has at least one professional responsibility officer whose job it is to provide guidance and advice. I think there is a good procedure in place.

"I think one of the points that has been raised is that it would--in a multi-jurisdictional drug case which involved ten different states, it would require that the lawyer decide if he was in compliance with the disciplinary rules and rules of professional responsibility in one state, then the next state, then the next state. And I just don't think that that contributes to effective law enforcement.

"The bill would create a misconduct review board with unprecedented power to obtain and make public information concerning ongoing investigations, classified material, and other confidential information. It could be read to suggest that in the middle of a prosecution, if someone wanted to interfere with that prosecution, this board could bring it to a screaming halt.

"There is a mechanism, a very clear mechanism, that we have relied on for 200 years of our history, in which the parties are in a court. A judge decides the case. They have the right to take an appeal, and they have other appellate procedures. I think that the system of justice has worked well, and I think it would be a terrible mistake to affect it in this way."

The following are the co-sponsors of the bill, so far.

Alabama Georgia Missouri Pennsylvania
   Robert Aderholt (R)    Mac Collins (R)    William (Bill) Clay (D)    Robert A. Borski (D)
   Spencer Bachus (R)    Jack Kingston (R)    Pat Danner (D)    Robert Brady (D)
   H.L. (Sonny) Callahan (R)    Charlie Norwood (R) Montana    Mike Doyle (D)
   Earl Hilliard (D) Idaho    Rick Hill (R)    Philip S. English (R)
   Bob Riley (R)    Helen Chenoweth (R) New Jersey    Chaka Fattah (D)
Alaska    Michael Crapo (R)    Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R)    Bill Goodling (R)
   Don Young (R) Illinois    Frank A. LoBiondo (R)    Jim Greenwood (R)
Arizona    Danny Davis (D)    H. James Saxton (R)    Tim Holden (D)
   Ed Pastor (D)    Harris Fawell (R)    Chris Smith (R)    Paul E. Kanjorski (D)
   Bob Stump (R)    Ray LaHood (R) New Mexico    Ron Klink (D)
Arkansas    William O. Lipinski (D)    Bill Redmond (R)    Frank Mascara (D)
   Jay Dickey (R)    Donald Manzullo (R)    Joe Skeen (R)    Joseph McDade (R)
California    Bobby Rush (D) New York    Paul McHale (D)
   Brian P. Bilbray (R) Indiana    Sherwood Boehlert (R)    John P. Murtha (D)
   Ken Calvert (R)    Steve Buyer (R)    Michael P. Forbes (R)    John Peterson (R)
   Tom Campbell (R)    David M. McIntosh (R)    Benjamin A. Gilman (R)    Joseph R. Pitts (R)
   Gary A. Condit (D)    John Hostettler (R)    Amory Houghton (R)    Curt Weldon (R)
   Christopher Cox (R)    Peter J. Visclosky (D)    Sue W. Kelly (R)    South Carolina
   Randy (Duke) Cunningham (R) Iowa    Peter T. King (R)    James E. Clyburn (D)
   John T. Doolittle (R)    Jim Nussle (R)    Rick A. Lazio (R)    Lindsay Graham (R)
   David Dreier (R) Kentucky    Tom Manton (D)    Floyd D. Spence (R)
   Vic Fazio (D)    Anne Northup (R)    Gerald B.H. Solomon (R) Tennessee
   Elton Gallegly (R) Louisiana    James T. Walsh (R)    Bob Clement (D)
   Stephen Horn (R)    William Jefferson (D) North Carolina    John J. Duncan (R)
   Duncan Hunter (R)    Chris John (D)    Cass Ballenger (R)    Harold Ford (D)
   Jay Kim (R)    Bob Livingston (R)    Bill Hefner (D)    Zach Wamp (R)
   Jerry Lewis (R)    Billy Tauzin (R)    Charles H. Taylor (R) Texas
   Matthew G. Martinez (D) Maine Ohio    Ken Bentsen (D)
   Ron Packard (R)    John Elias Baldacci (D)    Paul Gillmor (R)    Henry Bonilla (R)
   Nancy Pelosi (D) Massachusetts    David L. Hobson (R)    Tom DeLay (R)
   Richard W. Pombo (R)    Joe Moakley (D)    Marcy Kaptur (D)    Chet Edwards (D)
   Dana Rohrabacher (R) Maryland    Steven C. LaTourette (R)    Gene Green (D)
   Esteban E. Torres (D)    Elijah Cummings (D)    Bob Ney (R)    Ruben Hinojosa (D)
Colorado    Wayne Gilchrest (R)    Deborah Pryce (R)    Sheila Jackson Lee (D)
   Joel Hefley (R)    Albert Wynn (D)    Ralph S. Regula (R)    Silvestre Reyes (D)
   Dan Schaefer (R) Michigan    Louis Stokes (D)    Ciro Rodriguez (D)
Connecticut    Vern Ehlers (R)    Ted Strickland (D) Utah
   Rosa DeLauro (D)    Dale Kildee (D)    James A. Traficant (D)    Merrill Cook (R)
   Nancy L. Johnson (R)    Joe Knollenberg (R) Oklahoma    James V. Hansen (R)
District of Columbia    Lynn Rivers (D)    Tom Coburn (R) Virginia
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D)    Minnesota    Ernest Jim Istook (R)    Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (R)
Florida    Bill Luther (D)    Wes Watkins (R)    Bob Goodlatte (R)
   Michael Bilirakis (R) Mississippi    J.C. Watts, Jr. (R)    Jim Moran (D)
   Mark Foley (R)    Mike Parker (R) Oregon    Owen Pickett (D)
   Tillie K. Fowler (R)    Charles Pickering (R)    Robert (Bob) Smith (R)    Robert C. (Bobby) Scott (D)
   Porter Goss (R)    Bennie Thompson (D)      Norman Sisisky (D)
   Alcee Hastings (D)    Roger F. Wicker (R)   Washington
   Carrie P. Meek (D)        Norm Dicks (D)
   John L. Mica (R)        Jennifer B. Dunn (R)
   Dan Miller (R)        Doc Hastings (R)
   Joe Scarborough (R)        George R. Nethercutt, Jr. (R)
   E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R)        Adam Smith (D)
   Clifford B. Stearns (R)     West Virginia
   Karen L. Thurman (D)        Alan B. Mollohan (D)
   C.W. Bill Young (R)        Nick J. Rahall (D)