Saturday, March 13, 2004

Hatch uses Democrats' absence to torpedo Memogate probe 

While Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were on the floor voting Thursday night, committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) seized the opportunity to kill a bipartisan request to federal prosecutors to investigate Republicans' theft of memos from Democrats' computers and tossed the issue back to the Senate's sergeant-at-arms to decide what to do.

Following a contentious day in trying to find compromise language on how to proceed, Democrats believed they had time to cast their votes on the floor and return to the committee before a vote was taken there.

"'We weren't boycotting this -- we thought we had 10 more minutes,' said Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who said some Republicans wanted to stop or curtail the probe because they did not want any revelations about 'which interest groups received these stolen documents' about the battle over the judges," according to a Reuters article.

Reuters reported that Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle "released a report last week showing how two Republican staffers, both of whom have since left the committee, improperly retrieved sensitive documents from Democratic committee staff computers."

Earlier in the day, Pickles said he thought "a referral to the US attorney's office was probably the right course of action."

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?