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104th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 2d Session                                                     104-559
_______________________________________________________________________


 
 PROVIDING AMOUNTS FOR THE EXPENSES OF THE SELECT SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE 
 UNITED STATES ROLE IN IRANIAN ARMS TRANSFERS TO CROATIA AND BOSNIA OF 
 THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IN THE SECOND SESSION OF THE 
                      ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
_______________________________________________________________________


 May 6, 1996.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed

                                _______


   Mr. Thomas, from the Committee on House Oversight, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                       [To accompany H. Res. 417]

  The Committee on House Oversight, to whom was referred the 
resolution (H. Res. 417) providing amounts for the expenses of 
the Select Subcommittee on the United States Role in Iranian 
Arms Transfers to Croatia and Bosnia of the Committee on 
International Relations in the second session of the One 
Hundred Fourth Congress, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the 
resolution be agreed to.
  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike out all after the resolving clause and insert the 
following:

That (a) there shall be paid out of the applicable accounts of the 
House of Representatives not more than $995,000 for the expenses of the 
Select Subcommittee on the United States Role in Iranian Arms Transfers 
to Croatia and Bosnia (hereinafter in this resolution referred to as 
the ``select subcommittee'') of the Committee on International 
Relations, any part of which sum may be used for procurement of 
consultant services under section 202(i) of the Legislative 
Reorganization Act of 1946.
  (b) Payments under this resolution shall be made on vouchers 
authorized by the select subcommittee, signed by the chairman of the 
Committee on International Relations, and approved in the manner 
directed by the Committee on House Oversight.
  (c) Amounts shall be available under this resolution for expenses 
incurred during the period beginning on the date on which this 
resolution is agreed to and ending on the date on which the select 
subcommittee ceases to exist or ending immediately before noon on 
January 3, 1997, whichever first occurs.
  (d) Amounts made available under this resolution shall be expended in 
accordance with regulations prescribed by the Committee on House 
Oversight.
  (e) The Committee on House Oversight shall have authority to make 
adjustments in the amount under subsection (a), if necessary to comply 
with an order of the President issued under section 254 of the Balanced 
Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 or to conform to any 
reduction in appropriations for the purposes of such subsection.

                           general discussion

    H. Res. 417, as amended, provides $995,000 for the expenses 
of the Select Subcommittee on the United States Role in Iranian 
Arms Transfers to Croatia and Bosnia of the Committee on 
International Relations in the second session of the One 
Hundred and Fourth Congress. Any part of this amount may be 
used to procure consultant services under section 202(i) of the 
Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946.

The select subcommittee investigation

    The Honorable Benjamin Gilman, Chairman of the Committee on 
International Relations, appeared before the Committee on May 
1, 1996 to discuss the need for the investigation and to 
explain the funding request.
    As presented to the Committee, the Select Subcommittee is 
needed to investigate the issues and questions that have arisen 
following the revelation that the Clinton Administration 
acquiesced over two years ago in the creation of an Iranian 
arms pipeline to Croatia and Bosnia. The Administration's 
policy (1) directly contradicts the stated position of the 
United States Government; (2) was not revealed to Congress; (3) 
has allowed the terrorist nation of Iran to gain a foothold in 
Europe; (4) affects the United States exit strategy from 
Bosnia.
    Discussion at the Committee meeting raised several 
unanswered questions. How was this policy developed? What was 
the U.S. role in implementing it? What are its consequences? 
Was Congress deceived or misled? Has any U.S. law been 
violated? As Chairman Gilman discussed, the serious nature of 
these issues warrants further investigation by the Select 
Subcommittee established specifically for this purpose.

The funding request

    Before beginning its investigation, the Select Subcommittee 
has requested a fixed budget and fixed expiration date for 
funding the completion of their work. This request is far 
different from the last similar such funding request for ``The 
October Surprise Task Force.'' That Task Force spent over 
$769,000 and operated for over seven months before receiving 
the needed funding authorization from the House for its 
investigation.
    Chairman Gilman requested a total of $1,200,000 to fund the 
personnel and non-personnel expenses of the Select 
Subcommittee. The request allocates personnel resources to the 
minority in excess of the ratio of minority membership on the 
Subcommittee. The justification for the request is outlined in 
the letter and budget category summary submitted to the 
Committee on House Oversight and printed below.

The committee amendment

    The Committee's amendment in the nature of a substitute 
reduced the funding request by $205,000 to $995,000. This 
amount includes an estimated $236,000 in costs which, the due 
to new budgeting requirements, were not absorbed by previous 
similar entities.
    No supplemental appropriations or reprogrammings of 
existing appropriations are required to support the funding 
level of $995,000. There are sufficient Fiscal Year 1996 funds 
available within the appropriate House account to fund the 
expenses of the Select Subcommittee, without jeopardizing other 
Committees' funding needs or violating the commitment made in 
the Contract with America to reduce committee staffing levels 
by one-third.
    H. Res. 417 as amended also does not violate the commitment 
to reduce committee funds by 30% in the 104th Congress. The 
committee funding resolution for the 104th Congress, H. Res. 
107 approved by the House on March 15, 1995, reduced committee 
funding by $67 million, or 30%, from 103rd Congress levels. 
During 1995, Committees voluntarily contributed further savings 
by underspending the authorized amount by nearly $6 million. 
Even with the additional funding authorization of $995,000, 
House committees will achieve the 30% reduction in spending.

                            funding request

    The following letter was submitted on behalf of the 
Committee on International Relations:

                          House of Representatives,
                      Committee on International Relations,
                                    Washington, DC, April 30, 1996.
Hon. William M. Thomas,
Chairman, Committee on House Oversight, House of Representatives, 
        Washington, DC.
    Dear Bill: I am writing to request consideration by your 
Committee of H. Res. 417, providing amounts for the expenses of 
the Select Subcommittee on the U.S. Role in Iranian Arms 
Transfers to Croatia and Bosnia of the Committee on 
International Relations in the second session of the One 
Hundred Fourth Congress. Attached for your consideration is a 
budget proposal in support of H. Res. 417.
    As set forth in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(7) of H. Res. 
416, the scope of the investigation to be undertaken by the 
Select Subcommittee includes matters relating to (1) the policy 
of the U.S. Government with respect to the transfer of arms; 
(2) the nature and extent of the transfer of arms or other 
assistance; (3) any actions taken by the U.S. Government to 
facilitate or to impede such transfers; (4) any communications 
or representations made to the U.S. Congress or American people 
with respect to the transfers or with respect to the 
international arms embargo of the former Yugoslavia; (5) any 
implication for the safety of U.S. Armed Forces deployed in and 
around Bosnia; (6) any actions taken to review, analyze, or 
investigate the above matters; and (7) all deliberations, 
discussions, or communications relating to the above matters. 
The Select Subcommittee shall cease to exist 6 months after the 
date on which H. Res. 416 is agreed to.
    We are requesting $1,200,000 for this six-month 
investigation. The bulk of the request--$1,111,000 or 93%--is 
to cover personnel costs. Of that amount, $675,000 has been 
budgeted for expenses of contract counsels and their staff. 
While we have not finalized any contracts, surveys and analysis 
were conducted of the expenses and contract amounts of recent 
or on-going special investigations. The budget also includes 
$226,000 to cover salaries for eight regular-salaried staff 
members and overtime for four staff members for the duration of 
the investigation and $210,000 for three detailees from the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist with interviews.
    $89,000 has been budgeted for non-personnel items, 
including domestic travel and witness expenses, supplies, 
telephone lines, equipment and tolls, and computer-related and 
other equipment.
    I hope that during its consideration of H. Res. 417, the 
Committee will bear in mind that inclusion of certain costs, 
such as reimbursement for detailees' salaries and benefits, 
overtime, and telephone lines, are now mandatory beginning with 
this Congress. Similar expenses, therefore, were not reflected 
in previous special investigatory budgets.
    I look forward to meeting with you and Members of the 
Committee on House Oversight soon.
    With best wishes,
            Sincerely yours,
                                        Benjamin A. Gilman,
                                                          Chairman.

  Proposed budget for Select Subcommittee on the Role in Iranian Arms 
                     Transfers to Croatia and Bosnia

Personnel:
    Consultant Authority (Special Counsel Requests)...........  $675,000
    Committee Staff Salaries..................................   215,000
    Overtime..................................................    11,000
    Detailees.................................................   210,000
                    --------------------------------------------------------------
                    ____________________________________________________

      Subtotal................................................ 1,111,000
                    ==============================================================
                    ____________________________________________________
Non-personnel:
    Travel....................................................    10,000
    Witness expense...........................................    10,000
    Equipment.................................................    26,500
    Supplies..................................................    20,500
    Telephone.................................................    10,000
    Publications..............................................     5,000
    Outside Computer..........................................     2,000
    Miscellaneous.............................................     5,000
                    --------------------------------------------------------------
                    ____________________________________________________

      Subtotal................................................    89,000
                    ==============================================================
                    ____________________________________________________
      Total................................................... 1,200,000

                            committee action

  On May 1, 1996, by rollcall vote (7-5), a quorum being 
present, the Committee agreed to a motion to report the 
resolution favorably to the House, as amended.

                             rollcall votes

  In compliance with clause 2(l)(2)(B) of rule XI of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, with respect to each rollcall 
vote on a motion to report the resolution and on any amendment 
offered to the resolution, the total number of votes cast for 
and against, and the names of those Members voting for and 
against, are as follows:

                  house resolution 417, rollcall no. 1

    Motion by Mr. Thomas. Subject: Previous question on the 
amendment in the nature of a substitute and the resolution.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Member                     Aye        Nay      Present 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Thomas.............................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Ehlers.............................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Roberts............................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Boehner............................         X   .........  .........
Ms. Dunn...............................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Diaz-Balart........................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Ney................................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Fazio..............................  .........         X   .........
Mr. Gejdenson..........................  .........         X   .........
Mr. Hoyer..............................  .........         X   .........
Mr. Jefferson..........................  .........         X   .........
Mr. Pastor.............................  .........         X   .........
                                        --------------------------------
    Total..............................         7          5   .........
------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  house resolution 417, rollcall no. 2

    Motion by Mr. Thomas. Subject: Report resolution, as 
amended, favorably to the House.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Member                     Aye        Nay      Present 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Thomas.............................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Ehlers.............................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Roberts............................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Boehner............................         X   .........  .........
Ms. Dunn...............................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Diaz-Balart........................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Ney................................         X   .........  .........
Mr. Fazio..............................  .........         X   .........
Mr. Gejdenson..........................  .........         X   .........
Mr. Hoyer..............................  .........         X   .........
Mr. Jefferson..........................  .........         X   .........
Mr. Pastor.............................  .........         X   .........
                                        --------------------------------
    Total..............................         7          5   .........
------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      committee oversight findings

  In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(A) of rule XI of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee states that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

            statement on budget authority and related items

  The resolution does not provide new budget authority, new 
spending authority, new credit authority, or an increase or 
decrease in revenues or tax expenditures and a statement under 
clause 2(l)(3)(B) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a)(1) of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974 is not required.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

  In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(C) of rule XI of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee states, with 
respect to the resolution, that the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office did not submit a cost estimate and 
comparison under section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974.

   oversight findings of committee on government reform and oversight

  The Committee states, with respect to clause 2(l)(3)(D) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, that the 
Committee on Government Reform and Oversight did not submit 
findings or recommendations based on investigations under 
clause 4(c)(2) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives.
                             MINORITY VIEWS

    Everything about this effort to establish a Select 
Subcommittee-- from procedure to substance--seems profoundly 
flawed. Indeed, there are so many objectionable aspects to this 
funding request that it is difficult to know where to begin.

                      procedural rush to judgment

    Some of these many problems might have been avoided had the 
Republican majority not chosen to act with such unnecessary 
haste. We note, for example, that we were notified of a 
legislative mark-up of H. Res. 417, shortly after its 
introduction, and just 24 hours before the mark-up actually 
occurred. Until the morning of the mark-up, we received no 
supporting documentation of any kind justifying the requested 
$1.2 million expenditure of tax dollars, or the $1 million 
which the Committee majority eventually approved. We further 
note that the House has not even created the entity which the 
Republicans seek to have funded--namely, a Select Subcommittee 
of the House Committee on International Relations. We are aware 
of no extraordinary circumstances that require the Republican 
majority to ram this legislation through the House with so 
little thought, discussion, preparation or analysis. This is no 
way to do the people's business--a criticism that has become 
increasingly common in this Congress.

          $2.4 million annualized subcommittee budget request

    Having told the minority virtually nothing about the need 
and purpose of this Subcommittee, and having rushed this 
process to a ludicrous degree, the majority suddenly presents 
us with a Subcommittee budget for 6 months of $1.2 million in 
taxpayer money. This $2.4 million annualized amount would have 
made it the most expensive subcommittee established by the 
Republican majority this Congress.\1\ That is nearly three 
times the average amount for each of the House International 
Relations Committee's other standing subcommittees. By any 
measure, even the amount eventually approved, this is a 
substantial sum of the public's money, and we should not 
authorize its use without an equally substantial and compelling 
justification for doing so.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ During mark-up, the majority erroneously left the impression 
that the ``October Surprise'' Task Force spent $4.5 million. In fact, 
the actual amount disbursed by the House was $1.47 million.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                    justification or rationalization

    What, then, is the majority's justification? Based upon the 
substance of the Republican request, the best we can determine 
is that the majority is asking for taxpayer money to do nothing 
more than review an aspect of the President's, and this 
country's, foreign policy--a policy which has proven highly 
successful to date. This $1.2 million request for taxpayer 
money was not being sought by the Republican majority for use 
in the investigation of any crimes--for no such allegations 
have been made. Nor was this $1.2 million request for taxpayer 
money being sought by the Republican majority to resolve either 
critical factual disputes or troubling uncertainty in the law, 
for as the former Chairman of the International Relations 
Committee noted in his statement before the Committee, there 
seems to be no disagreement on either the underlying facts or 
the applicable rules of law in this affair. The relevant 
controversy, to the extent that one exists at all, is one that 
relates to policy, and, as such, is an inappropriate subject 
for the creation of an expensive new Subcommittee.
    This is not to say that the Congress should play no role in 
the conduct of this country's foreign affairs. On the contrary, 
our national legislature has a responsibility to contribute to 
the formulation, funding, implementation, and oversight of 
United States foreign policy. But we believe that this role 
should first be exercised through our time-tested committee 
system. The Republican majority chooses to ignore the fact that 
the American taxpayer has already fully funded a standing House 
Committee to do this very job--the Committee on International 
Relations--and that Committee has already been funded in the 
104th Congress to the tune of over $10 million.

           taxpayers pay for duplicative committee functions

    Everything the Republican majority proposes for this Select 
Subcommittee--however unnecessary or unwise the undertaking 
itself--can be achieved by the existing Committee on 
International Relations and done so within its existing budget. 
We have seen nothing that is unique or extraordinary to justify 
the creation of yet another new House entity, with its own 
separate funding, staffing, and mandate. We already have an 
excellent House standing Committee in the foreign policy arena, 
and if the Republican majority really cares to pursue this 
particular matter, it should use the standing committee and 
existing resources which the House created and authorized for 
that purpose. Under these circumstances, to allocate an 
additional $1 million in taxpayer funds is a waste and an 
embarrassment. Surely Republicans must have more respect for 
tax dollars than is suggested by this resolution.

                    what's wrong with this picture?

    The establishment of a Select Subcommittee in this 
situation is neither necessary, appropriate, frugal nor wise. 
It does, however, achieve one purpose which is readily 
apparent. Speaker Gingrich imposed a strict staffing freeze, 
and the House funding resolution specified funding limits, on 
all House committees. At the time, the Republican majority 
represented that it was serious about reducing the size and the 
cost of government, and touted the staffing freeze and reduced 
funding levels as indicative of its commitment. It even claimed 
credit for reducing the number of subcommittees, and in an 
ironic twist, the very subcommittee which would ordinarily 
oversee this matter was eliminated at the beginning of this 
Congress, its jurisdiction being taken over by the full 
Committee on International Relations. Yet the Republican 
majority's creation of a special Select Subcommittee, fully 
funded and newly staffed within a standing committee of the 
House, circumvents the staffing limitations imposed on the 
House, while allowing the Republican majority to say one thing 
and do another.

                        must be that time again

    Despite so little basis to support this resolution, one 
need not venture very far to determine what is really at stake 
here. For in the Republican majority's actions there is the 
unmistakable whiff of election year politics in the air. From 
Speaker Gingrich's press release, issued during the week 
preceding the introduction of H. Res. 417, it is quite clear 
that the purpose of this proposed Subcommittee is to gin up 
criticism of the President's foreign policy. That's why the 
American taxpayers are being asked to foot a $1 million, six 
month investigation, and everyone knows it. The purpose of this 
exercise is as transparent as the election in November is 
certain.
    Indeed, this proposal to create yet another new panel can 
best be understood in the context of the majority Leadership's 
recent memorandum to its committee chairs directing them to dig 
up information with which to attack the Clinton Administration. 
Apparently, this is all part of the Republican election year 
strategy. And as the Republican candidate for the White House 
continues to do poorly in his campaign, we assume that we'll 
see more of the same.
    But for the Republican majority to so brazenly manipulate 
the machinery of government in this manner is to violate the 
public trust and squander hard-earned tax dollars. Far too much 
of our time and the resources of this Congress are being spent 
by the majority in pursuit of political gain in its efforts to 
tarnish unfairly an increasingly successful and popular 
President.

                         how much is too much?

    The most obvious of these is the so-called Whitewater 
investigation, which, in the Senate alone, has produced 44 
hearings, 136 witnesses, 244 depositions, and a stack of 
documents more than 180 feet high. The total money authorized 
for all Whitewater-related investigations now totals a mind-
boggling $30,000,000.00. The costs of numerous other Republican 
investigations of this Administration, such as the inquisition 
into the White House Travel Office, add up to hundreds of more 
pointless hours, and hundreds of thousands of additional public 
dollars. It is a staggering amount of time and money, all of 
which has been enormously wasted in a partisan effort to 
discredit the President and obtain political advantage.

                            while rome burns

    The real tragedy in all this is that the time and resources 
expended by the majority in these efforts could have been put 
to far better use in furtherance of a substantive legislative 
agenda. This is politics at its worst and the majority gravely 
underestimates the patience of the American public in pursuing 
this course. The minority has done what it can to point out the 
needlessness of this undertaking. Absent a more compelling 
basis than has been presented thus far, the House should reject 
the present effort to convert appropriated funds to undertake 
yet another baseless attempt to attack this Administration.

                                   Vic Fazio.
                                   Sam Gejdenson.
                                   Steny Hoyer.
                                   Wm. Jefferson.
                                   Ed Pastor.