The Next Grand Jury
LEGI-SLATE News Service
Friday, August 21, 1998
As a federal grand jury investigating possible perjury and obstruction of justice charges against President Clinton wraps up its work, members of Congress are bracing for a report from Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr on possible impeachable offenses.
Several members of Congress already have called for the president's resignation or impeachment in the aftermath of Clinton's nationally- televised address in which he acknowledged an improper relationship with Lewinsky after previously denying having "sexual relations."
But most members of the House Judiciary Committee, who will decide whether to bring impeachment charges, say they will withhold any judgment until the report and Starr's evidence are submitted to Congress. That report is expected to arrive in early September.
Should the panel begin an impeachment inquiry, it will be only the third in history.
In 1868, President Andrew Johnson's impeachment investigation was prompted by his firing of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. Johnson survived by one vote in the Senate, which acts as the trial court and requires a two-thirds vote for impeachment.
The Watergate investigation culminated in 1974 with the House Judiciary Committee approving three articles of impeachment against President Nixon. The president resigned before the House could take up the matter.
Former members of the 1974 panel said that neither case may have left today's Congress with enough legal precedent to help them define an "impeachable offense" and "high crimes and misdemeanors."
Also, today's House Judiciary Committee will have "quite a bit of work" to do just to bring credibility to its proceedings because it is considered one of the most highly partisan panels in a Congress that also is deeply divided, according to political scientist Charles O. Jones of the University of Wisconsin and the Brookings Institution. "Since Watergate, the House has become much more partisan," Jones said.
Ultimately, members may have to rely on their internal and political instincts, as did former Rep. Lawrence Hogan, R-Md., a member of the 1974 Nixon impeachment panel. He was the first conservative Republican to publicly oppose Nixon in 1974 and the only Republican to vote for all three articles of impeachment that were forwarded to the House.
"My instincts were that it was a media 'ka-pow' against Nixon before impeachment [hearings] really started," Hogan said. "I don't think many Democrats can now say that. They have to see the guy perjured himself, no matter how much he dances around it."
REP. HENRY HYDE, R-Ill., 74, elected 1974, chairman House Judiciary Committee
As the leader of what is considered to be one of the most partisan committees on Capitol Hill, Hyde is considered partisan but fair. Hyde, a well-respected member of Congress, is praised for his integrity and clear legal thinking attributes which he will bring to the table as he takes charge of his committee's review of the independent counsel's expected report. Earlier this year, Hyde stood up for his committee's jurisdiction when House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., said he wanted to have a smaller, hand-picked group of Republicans review Starr's report before turning it over to the Judiciary panel. Otherwise, Hyde has remained out of the public eye on this issue, deferring comment until after special prosecutor Kenneth Starr sends his report to Capitol Hill. Following Clinton's speech on Lewinsky, Hyde said in a statement that it is the Judiciary Committee's "constitutional duty to provide a fair, full and independent review of these facts in their proper context" if Starr does indeed send a report to Congress. Easily reelected every two years, the chairman clearly has amassed a conservative voting record during his 24 years in office. He often speaks passionately against abortion, and the Hyde amendment barring use of federal funds for abortion services is named for him.
REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, R-Wisc., 55, elected 1978
Despite his seniority on the Judiciary Committee, Sensenbrenner has not taken a publicly prominent role on that panel in the 105th Congress, although he has been very active in past years. Instead, Sensenbrenner is busy with issues like the international space station and global warming confronting the House Science Committee, which he chairs. On Starr's report to Congress, a Sensenbrenner aide said the congressman believes the Judiciary Committee has a responsibility to review it without pre-judgment and to act based on what the report reveals. The 1998 Almanac of American Politics describes the Wisconsin native as a "stickler for rules and ethics" and one who "has insisted on impeachment action against federal judges convicted of crimes." Sensenbrenner generally has been easily reelected.
REP. BILL MCCOLLUM, R-Fla., 54, elected 1980, chairman House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime
In the aftermath of President Clinton's national address about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, McCollum said the committee would be "hard pressed not to seek impeachment" if Starr's report reveals that the president committed perjury. Failure to recommend impeachment under those circumstances would set an "awful precedent," the congressman added. McCollum, as chairman of the Crime Subcommittee, has sought to crack down on juvenile offenders and sexual predators. He has sponsored several anti-drug bills and has sponsored a successful bill [Pub. L. 105-6] to ensure that crime victims and their families are not locked out of federal criminal trials.
REP. GEORGE GEKAS, R-Pa., 68, elected 1982, chairman House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law
Gekas is in a "unique" position with regard to any possible Judiciary Committee meetings on the independent counsel's report to Congress, a spokesman said. As chairman of the subcommittee that oversees administrative law issues, Gekas is responsible for monitoring authorizations for the Office of the Independent Counsel. In the late 1980s, Gekas participated in impeachment proceedings against former federal judge Alcee Hastings, a Democrat who now represents Florida's 23rd District in the House. (While the House overwhelmingly voted to impeach Hastings, and the Senate voted to remove him from office, Hastings never was convicted in court of the allegations that led to his ouster from the federal bench.) Gekas' primary accomplishment for the 105th Congress in the Judiciary panel has been to steer his bankruptcy reform bill [H.R. 3150] through the House. The bill would establish for the first time "means-testing" of those seeking to file for bankruptcy. The measure would force those people who can afford to repay more of their debts to do so.
REP. HOWARD COBLE, R-N.C., 67, elected 1984, chairman House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property
Coble has told reporters that if President Clinton did indeed lie under oath, regardless of what the lie was about, that would be an impeachable offense. However, Coble also has said that at this point everything is "conjecture." Gruff-speaking and prone to dog cliches (as in, "This dog won't hunt") to describe some political situations and doomed legislation, Coble has been immersed in judicial reform and copyright legislation traveling through the Judiciary panel this Congress.
REP. LAMAR SMITH, R-Texas, 50, elected 1986, chairman House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims
A stickler on illegal immigration, Smith has been absorbed by immigration reform legislation in both the 104th and 105th Congresses. He has taken a very critical view of the Immigration and Naturalization Service because of several well-publicized management fiascoes, although he is kinder in his remarks about INS Commissioner Doris Meissner. Smith is a cautious conservative and was appointed to the House Ethics Committee last year. As for the Monica Lewinsky situation, Smith indicated that there are many additional, serious issues under review. "The Lewinksy incident is not the final word," Smith said through his spokesman Allen Kay. "We need to wait for the independent counsel's report. There are still serious allegations under investigation."
REP. ELTON GALLEGLY, R-Calif., 54, elected 1986
Gallegly issued a statement Tuesday in which he said the Judiciary Committee would "carefully look at all the facts and give the evidence a fair, full and independent review" if Starr sends a report to Congress. "Congress should not be swayed by polls," Gallegly added. "We must proceed in a responsible, nonpartisan fashion and fulfill our duties under the rule of law and the Constitution." However, the congressman also blasted Clinton for his attack on Starr during the president's address to the nation. "While he expressed 'regret' it was disappointing that the president failed to apologize to the American people," Gallegly said. "Instead of being candid and sincerely remorseful during his address, his words were calculated and full of legalisms as he attempted to shift the blame once again" to Starr. Gallegly, who represents almost all of California's Ventura County, which is near Los Angeles, has positioned himself prominently as a foe of illegal immigration. He successfully moved a bill through Congress (Pub. L. 105-141) directing the federal government to establish a program to help identify illegal aliens incarcerated in some American jails so that they may be deported after completing their sentences.
REP. CHARLES CANADY, R-Fla., 44, elected 1992, chairman House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
Sometimes combative but coolly so and staunchly conservative, Canady is one of the most active members of the House Judiciary Committee. Canady has said that he was "disturbed" by the president's criticism of Starr during Clinton's address to the nation and indicated that Judiciary Committee members have an "independent obligation to look at all the facts and determine whether a crime has been committed." Speaking about Starr's expected report to Congress on the investigation, Canady told The Associated Press that "We won't be able to simply put that aside." He also told the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger: "I think it's good the president acknowledged the truth about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, but I was disturbed that the president then engaged in an attack of the independent investigation." The congressman has railed against abortion rights except under certain circumstances and worked to pass a ban on so-called "partial-birth abortions" and to prohibit people from taking pregnant minors across state lines to have an abortion without the parents' consent.
REP. BOB INGLIS, R-S.C., 38, elected 1992
Inglis, who is the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Democrat Ernest Hollings, told The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., that the president "could spare us all the indignities and resign" if he committed perjury rather than suffer through the impeachment process. In his speech, "The president asked us to define lying to the American people as a private matter," Inglis told the Greenville News. "Lying under oath is a very public matter a felony called perjury and if the president is found to have committed that crime, he should be impeached." Inglis, a conservative, is a comparatively low-key member of the Judiciary Committee, but one who faithfully toes the party line on votes. He has played a central role in term limits debates over the last few years by calling for a three-term (six year) limit for House members. And indeed, his stint in the House will be just that. Inglis has tried not to become too entrenched in Washington, even going so far as to sleep on an air mattress in his office rather than find another part-time "home" in this city.
REP. BOB GOODLATTE, R-Va., 45, elected 1992
If a bill deals with encryption or the Internet, chances are Goodlatte has taken an interest in it. The congressman has been trying for well over a year to pass legislation [H.R. 695] that would relax the administration's export controls imposed on strong encryption software. He has been stymied by those claiming that loosening the export restrictions would threaten national security. Goodlatte did not have any immediate comments about Starr's investigation or the president's public address.
REP. STEVE BUYER, R-Ind., 39, elected 1992
Buyer's role on the Judiciary Committee is perhaps less prominent than the role he plays on Veterans' Affairs. During the Persian Gulf War, Buyer, a reservist, was called to active service as a legal adviser to a prisoner-of-war camp in the Persian Gulf. He now suffers from some of the same ailments as other soldiers returning from that war. As a member of Congress he has called for more investigation into the "Gulf War Syndrome." He also helped pass a law in a previous Congress effectively permitting the Veterans Administration to "compensate" Gulf war veterans whose disabilities from undiagnosed illnesses appeared within a year of the war. Buyer was unavailable for comment on the Clinton matter.
REP. ED BRYANT, R-Tenn., 49, elected 1994
Discounting any effect of President Clinton's nationally televised apology, Bryant called for the investigation to move forward. "Apology or not, Ken Starr must follow the independent counsel statute and file a report with Congress," Bryant said in a written statement. "It is then that the House Judiciary Committee must give that report a fair, full independent review to determine whether any impeachment hearings are necessary. Further, an apology does not exonerate anyone from criminal wrongdoing. Were that the case, our prisons would be empty." Bryant has taken a tough line against crime while on the Judiciary Committee, although he is not a vocal member of the often boisterous panel. He generally votes with his party on committee matters.
REP. STEVE CHABOT, R-Ohio, 45, elected 1994
Although he would not speculate about possible impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, Chabot said he would "wait and give any report from the independent counsel a fair and thorough review." Even so, he noted that "this is taking a terrible toll on the country," and that "the president should have done more to put this behind us sooner." While voting with other Republicans on the Judiciary panel most of the time in the 105th Congress, Chabot became a moderating influence and worked against Immigration and Claims Subcommittee Chairman Smith to separate illegal immigration reforms from legal immigration provisions in the 104th Congress. He will also, on occasion, depart from his party's leadership on certain votes about which he has strong convictions, such as the 1996 GOP budget plan, which he deemed too "liberal."
REP. BOB BARR, R-Ga., 49, elected 1994
Long before Monica Lewinsky became a household name, Barr introduced the first impeachment resolution against Clinton because of alleged fund- raising irregularities and other matters. The conservative congressman, who has co-authored an anti-Clinton book, last November introduced House Res. 304, a resolution directing the Judiciary Committee to begin an inquiry into whether grounds existed to impeach Clinton. Barr was criticized by some members of his own party at that time for taking that step, although the resolution did garner 22 Republican cosponsors. After the Lewinsky scandal broke, Barr continued to press his call for Clinton's impeachment, if there is "credible evidence that [he] has abused his office." After listening to the president's acknowledgment of his relationship with Lewinsky, Barr said Clinton's remarks appeared, "on the fact of it to be perjury...I consider that a very, very serious offense" and one that merits an impeachment inquiry if it is proven that Clinton lied under oath. On another front, Barr has been closely allied with the National Rifle Association and is vocal about gun ownership and right-to-carry arms issues.
REP. WILLIAM JENKINS, R-Tenn., 61, elected 1996
Jenkins, a former circuit court judge, said that after Starr submits his report to Congress, the committee must determine whether the evidence indicates that the president engaged in "behavior unbecoming the office of the president" or criminal wrongdoing. "I trust the judgment of Chairman Henry Hyde and the House Judiciary Committee to give the evidence the weight and consideration to which it is entitled," Jenkins said in a statement. "Until this takes place, we should not speculate about how the House should proceed." Jenkins, a conservative committee back-bencher, is a relatively quiet member of the panel. He votes with other committee Republicans nearly all the time and has sponsored just three bills of his own in this Congress: two to suspend duties on certain types of goods and one recognizing the cities of Bristol, Tennessee, and Bristol, Virginia, for their contributions to country music.
REP. ASA HUTCHINSON, R-Ark., 47, elected 1996
In an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Hutchinson, a former federal prosecutor, predicted that the president's statement would have "no impact" on Starr's investigation. "There's still a lot left to know about what happened," Hutchinson said. "I was surprised by his attacks on Ken Starr and Paula Jones taking digs when it didn't seem to fit with the humble tone," Hutchinson added. A relative newcomer to the Judiciary Committee, Hutchinson often participates in committee debate and votes with his party most of the time. However, he also showed a bi- partisan streak when he worked with other Republican and Democratic freshman on a campaign finance reform bill that was recently defeated on the House floor. He ran for Congress after his brother now Sen. Tim Hutchinson vacated his House seat to run for the Senate in 1996.
REP. EDWARD PEASE, R-Ind., 47, elected 1996
Another lower profile member of the Judiciary Committee, Pease had no immediate comments about the president's address or Starr's investigation and expected report. Pease is a member of both the Subcommittees on Courts and Intellectual Property and Immigration and Claims, where he has been an active participant.
REP. CHRISTOPHER CANNON, R-Utah, 47, elected 1996.
Cannon, a former Reagan administration official, told the Salt Lake Tribune that Clinton's statement has led to more questions than answers about whether the president pressured others to lie for him, and has increased the likelihood of an impeachment proceeding. "Given that he has now said what appears on the surface to indicate that he was not truthful in the Paula Jones case, that would certainly increase the likelihood that an impeachment inquiry would be started," Cannon said. "I hate to pre-judge him, but there's a mountain of indication out there that he short-changed us in his statement," Cannon said, adding that when Clinton denied having an affair with Lewinsky on Jan. 26, he "wagged his finger at the American public and lied to us. He may have perjured himself." Cannon also told the Salt Lake Tribune that the speech sounded like "just another Clintonian word game." But an aide to Cannon subsequently told LEGI-SLATE News Service that the lawmaker would wait for Starr's report before drawing any conclusions about whether impeachment proceedings are in order. Cannon's election was enhanced by his district's opposition to a plan by President Clinton establishing a 1.7 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National monument in an area which is a revenue source for local schools.
REP. JAMES ROGAN, R-Calif., 40, elected 1996
Rogan assumed the late-Rep. Sonny Bono's seat on the Judiciary Committee earlier this year. As the representative for several communities near downtown Los Angeles, including the community of Burbank home to NBC Studios, Disney's headquarters and other multimedia entertainment firms Rogan is in a prime spot to keep up with intellectual property issues so important to his entertainment-focused district. In addition to the Judiciary Committee, he also sits on the House Commerce Committee, which has dealt with some key copyright issues as well. Rogan remained publicly silent after Clinton's address to the nation.
REP. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C., 43, elected 1994
In his two terms in office, Graham has registered a nearly perfect voting record by American Conservative Union standards. He also is a maverick and was one of the leaders of the failed coup attempt against House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., in the summer of 1997. He was critical of Clinton but also tempered his remarks of the president's address. "The president hit a foul ball instead of a home run," said Graham, who assumed the Judiciary Committee seat of the late Rep. Steven Schiff, R-N.M., earlier this year. "Neither the president nor his lawyers can decide when this will be over. There is a constitutional process to bring closure to this episode," Graham said. While he faults Clinton for his attacks on Starr, Graham also said "he may not be a perfect independent counsel but the president should not try to shift the blame." Graham gave the president some credit: "If he was candid before the grand jury, that was a step in the right direction."
REP. MARY BONO, R-Calif.
Bono, the only female Republican on the Judiciary Committee, sounded a cautionary tone concerning the Clinton investigation this week, urging Starr to submit a report if he "has any substantial and credible information that may constitute grounds for impeachment." But she said she has not reached that conclusion, as "many questions still remain to be answered." Bono, the widow of the late Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif., was elected to Congress in a special election in April to fill her husband's congressional seat, which is based in Palm Springs. Amid speculation that the committee might be receiving Starr's report on the Lewinsky matter, and since there were no Republican women on the panel, an extra seat on the Judiciary Committee was created for Bono.
REP. JOHN CONYERS, D-Mich., 69, elected 1964, ranking member House Judiciary Committee
"The American public has said it's time for the nation to move on, and I agree wholeheartedly that the time has come for the independent counsel to leave the stage and allow the president to return to the governing of this country," Conyers told The Washington Post. He called Starr's investigation "an inquisition." Conyers is the only current member of the House Judiciary Committee who served on the panel in 1974 when three articles of impeachment against President Nixon were approved and sent to the full House. (Nixon resigned before the House voted on the impeachment question.) The Starr inquiry soured relations between Conyers and Chairman Hyde when Conyers claimed that $1.3 million in extra funds for the committee was set aside in March in premature preparation for an impeachment inquiry. Hyde said the money was needed to hire 18 additional staff members for a thorough and long overdue review of the Justice Department. But Hyde conceded the extra staff likely would be called upon to help if an impeachment proceeding is warranted. As ranking member of the panel, Conyers is, in a sense, the commander-in-chief of Democrats on Judiciary. But there are many very active Democrats on the panel who at times overshadow Conyers.
REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-Mass., 58, elected 1980, ranking member House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property
Making several prominent television appearances in the aftermath of Clinton's address, Frank argued Aug. 18 on NBC's "Today" that launching impeachment proceedings against Clinton for lying in a "deposition on a peripheral issue in a case that was thrown out" would be "wildly excessive." And, he added that any speculation at this point on what Congress should or may do as well as the contents of any report sent to Congress by Starr is premature. Frank, one of the sharpest, and sharpest-tongued, members of Congress, plays a general's role in Democratic resistance to GOP-sponsored bills in the Judiciary Committee and on the House floor. He delights in finding hypocrisy or inconsistency in GOP positions and he is proud of his solidly liberal voting record. Though he does not question Hyde's integrity, he worries that the impeachment process will be taken out of the chairman's hands by the Republican leadership. "Frankly, at this point, we are more worried about Dr. Jekyll" than Hyde, Frank once said.
REP. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y., 47, elected 1980, ranking member House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime
Despite Schumer's seniority on the Judiciary panel, few might guess he is a subcommittee ranking member based on his attendance record. Schumer, busy pressing the flesh and searching for supporters in his bid for Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato's seat, rarely attends committee meetings. Neither did he comment on the Clinton-Lewinsky matter. Generally a liberal, Schumer has taken a more moderate view on crime by sponsoring or supporting some bills that would crack down on criminals, including juvenile offenders. The New Yorker also is a strong supporter of gun control legislation, and has sponsored legislation that aims to cut down on interstate gun-running.
REP. HOWARD BERMAN, D-Calif., 57, elected 1982
Berman, who sat on the House Ethics Committee that levied a $300,000 fine against Gingrich in early 1997, is keeping a low profile on the Clinton-Lewinsky matter, one aide indicated. "He has a reaction but he's keeping it to himself," joked a Berman spokesman, who added that the lawmaker will publicly comment when Starr's final report is sent to the Judiciary Committee. Berman has been involved in several issues before the Judiciary panel, such as immigration and high-tech matters, but he also is deeply involved in foreign relations as ranking member of the International Relations Subcommittee for Asia and the Pacific. However, Berman has sponsored just one bill in the 105th Congress, a resolution [H.Con.Res. 283] "expressing grave concern" about a December 1997 report on human rights issues in Tibet.
REP. RICK BOUCHER, D-Va., 52, elected 1982
Boucher, a conservative Democrat representing the western counties of Virginia, has been most active on intellectual property issues. His district encompasses Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and the congressman has repeatedly fought any legislation that he believes will discourage manufacturers of high-tech hardware from inventing and selling their gadgets. During debate over a crucial copyright bill [H.R. 2281] the congressman won some concessions, easing the manufacturers fears of lawsuits filed against them should their products be used to infringe a copyright. Meanwhile, Boucher spokeswoman Sharon Ringley said that the lawmaker is on vacation and had no comment on the Clinton speech.
REP. JERROLD NADLER, D-N.Y., 51, elected 1992, ranking member House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law
Nadler has argued that the Lewinsky issue has more political than legal impact, but has not commented much further. The New York congressman has amassed a solidly liberal voting record, and as such, has not seen much legislative success in the GOP-controlled 105th Congress. Nadler has been a sharp critic of GOP bankruptcy reform legislation. He strongly opposes means-testing of those who file for bankruptcy, but Rep. Gekas, chairman of the Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee, shepherded such a bill [H.R. 3150] through the House. Nadler, meanwhile, has said he blames the dramatic increase of bankruptcy filings on the reckless extension of credit by profit-hungry lenders, and he attempted several times to amend the Gekas bill to reflect that view.
REP. ROBERT (BOBBY) SCOTT, D-Va. , 51, elected 1992, ranking member House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution
Scott has been tasked in the 105th Congress with the responsibility, as ranking member of the Constitution Subcommittee, to head off GOP-backed legislation affecting certain constitutional issues including abortion, affirmative action and religion. However, as there are many Democrats on the full committee who also are constitutional scholars, Scott a graduate of Harvard University and Boston College Law School has plenty of help. Scott, an outspoken and articulate member of the committee, also was the first African American to be elected to Congress from Virginia since Reconstruction, according to the 1996 Almanac of American Politics. As for Starr's investigation, Scott urged the independent counsel to finish his work. "President Clinton has admitted that his behavior was wrong," Scott said in a statement. "It is now time for independent counsel Kenneth Starr to wrap-up his investigation and present whatever evidence he has of high crimes and misdemeanors or admit that he has no such evidence."
REP. MELVIN WATT, D-N.C., 53, elected 1992, ranking member House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims
Watt has made it no secret that immigration issues are not his passion, although he has willingly shouldered his responsibilities as ranking member of that subpanel. Watt, a slow-speaking North Carolinian, would rather be ranking member of the Constitution Subcommittee, a slot held by his good friend, Rep. Scott. Watt is a frequent sharp foe of Republicans in the full committee on most issues. Watt, who earned his law degree from Yale University, said that members of Congress should refrain from speculating about any report that Starr may send to Congress. "We do ourselves, the president, the public and the process a real disservice by speculating about this until we receive any report and fully review all the facts," he said in a statement.
REP. ZOE LOFGREN, D-Calif., 51, elected 1994
Lofgren is out of the country on a family vacation and was not available for comment about Clinton's public address. However, an aide said she has been relatively silent on the presidential investigation from the outset, choosing to preserve her impartiality in case of impeachment proceedings. Lofgren, whose district includes Silicon Valley, is quick to leap into the fray of high-tech issues confronting the Judiciary panel, such as encryption exports and the apparent shortage of qualified American high-tech workers. Lofgren's other key issues include helping underprivileged children and preventing gun violence.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, D-Texas, 48, elected 1994
Jackson Lee said in a statement that she was "grateful" that the president "took responsibility" for his actions. She also noted that she is "cautiously optimistic" that the investigation will soon end, that Starr "will soon finally complete his work and allow the president to return to the business of running of this country." On the Judiciary Committee, as well as in the full House, Jackson Lee who has a powerful speaking voice is a frequent participant in debate. She was the only Texan not to vote for the Defense of Marriage Act, which sought to outlaw same sex marriages; she voted "present" instead.
REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-Calif., 50, elected 1990
Waters, who heads the Congressional Black Caucus, had no comments following the Clinton speech, an aide said. A tried-and-true liberal on the Judiciary Committee, however, Waters has been highly critical of the Starr investigation. During an August 5 debate on the House floor over prosecutorial misconduct, Waters called Starr the "poster boy for unethical prosecutors," lambasting him for leaks regarding possible indictments of Hillary Clinton and senior presidential aide Bruce Lindsey. Her other responsibilities often keep her away from the majority of Judiciary panel meetings although she will show up for important votes. However, the congresswoman was instrumental in helping to defeat in committee a bill [H.R. 1909] sponsored by Rep. Canady that was designed to end federal affirmative action programs. While it was a Republican, Rep. Gekas, who was ultimately responsible for killing the bill by successfully offering a motion to table it, Waters spearheaded a successful effort to round up civil rights leaders and average citizens from across the country to show up at that meeting and illustrate the depth of opposition to the bill.
REP. MARTY MEEHAN, D-Mass., 41, elected 1992
Meehan gained prominence this term as the co-sponsor of the bipartisan Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform bill that recently passed the House despite objections by the Republican leadership. He also has taken the lead in anti-tobacco legislation. Meehan did not comment on the president's speech. However, the congressman has been critical of the Starr investigation from the outset, calling it an "incredible waste of time and money," according to Meehan spokesman Bill McCann. McCann said the congressman would wait until Starr sends over his report before deciding Clinton's fate, but added Meehan would be "very upset" if there's "nothing there" and Starr sends a report anyway.
REP. WILLIAM DELAHUNT, D-Mass., 57, elected 1996
In an interview with the Cape Cod Times before Clinton's address, Delahunt refused to comment on Clinton's political future directly because of his potential role in any impeachment proceedings. However, Delahunt, who has also turned down offers to speak on Sunday talk shows about the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, told the local paper that Americans are tired of hearing about the White House scandal. Despite Democratic back-bencher status, Delahunt has leapt into the issues fray at the Judiciary Committee. He is a former district attorney for Norfolk County in Massachusetts, and appears well-equipped to debate the fine points of law confronting the panel.
REP. ROBERT WEXLER, D-Fla., 37, elected 1996
The freshman congressman said in a statement that "an extramarital affair is simply wrong" and expressed regret that Clinton did not make his disclosure sooner. However, he issued one of the strongest Democratic statements in support of the president. He backed Clinton's request that he be allowed to resolve the issue privately with his family, and expressed regret over what he called "ruthless tactics" by Starr "in an attempt to bring down this president." Wexler, an occasional participant in committee meetings, added that the "private matter does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. I continue to believe strongly in the presidency and policies of Bill Clinton."
REP. STEVEN ROTHMAN, D-N.J., 45, elected 1996
Rothman is one Democrat who sometimes sides with Republicans on the panel. A former local judge, Rothman issued a scolding statement in which he called Clinton's behavior "morally wrong," adding he was "greatly disappointed" by the president's "misleading statements on the subject to the American people" when the scandal first broke. Rothman added: "I take my constitutional role in this matter very seriously. Therefore, I reserve all judgment on the legal and constitutional questions in this matter until I have the opportunity to review whatever report Mr. Starr sends to the committee and all the facts in their entirety."
LEGI-SLATE News Service reporters Bill Ghent, Sara Hebel, Molly Peterson, Katherine Harris, Justin Pritchard and David Safford contributed to this report.
© Copyright 1998 LEGI-SLATE News Service