House Majority Leader Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.) said this week other congressional panels have plenty of leads to pursue once the House-Senate Iran-contra investigating committees issue their final report and go out of business.
Foley told a breakfast gathering of reporters he was concerned that the committee lacked "the fullest opportunity" to determine whether some of the funds from the secret sale of U.S. arms to Iran were diverted to political campaigns to help elect politicians sympathetic to the contras fighting the government of Nicaragua.
He also said Congress has not exhaustively probed allegations that the government was behind scores of burglaries of offices of church groups and organizations critical of U.S. policy in Central America. A House Judiciary subcommittee headed by Rep. Don Edwards (D-Calif.) held hearings early this year on allegations of Federal Bureau of Investigation involvement in the break-ins.
"I see no reason why other committees should not follow up leads," said Foley, a member of the House Iran-contra committee. "I would personally recommend that they would do so."
A Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on terrorism already has launched an investigation of allegations that some contras trafficked in narcotics, while another House Judiciary subcommittee is investigating whether the Justice Department improperly interfered with a probe of gunrunning to the contras.
The Iran-contra committees reviewed a number of documents and allegations that funds from sales of arms to Iran were diverted to domestic political activities, but did not come up with conclusive evidence.
Last week, the committees released documents suggesting that a pro-contra fund-raising and public relations operation linked to Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North considered a plan to "destroy" former representative Michael D. Barnes (D-Md.), an opponent of contra aid opponent.
Carl R. (Spitz) Channell, who headed the public relations group, and Richard R. Miller, a former Reagan-Bush campaign aide, have pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the government by using tax-deductible donations for contra military activities.