Proposed agency to investigate Justice



Proposed agency to investigate Justice .


By Jon E. Dougherty

© 2000

Complaining that under Attorney General Janet Reno "the Justice Department cannot effectively police itself," Rep. James A. Traficant, D-Ohio, has proposed a bill that would create a new federal agency responsible for independent investigations of scandals that involve the Justice Department. Rep. James A. Traficant, D-Ohio The veteran lawmaker's bill, HR 4105, called the "Fair Justice Act," was introduced Mar. 28 and has since been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. It had no co-sponsors. Traficant said it is "painfully clear" through "numerous incidents" that "something is seriously wrong in our democracy if criminal and unethical behavior at the nation's top law enforcement agency goes unpunished." The outspoken Ohio Democrat frequently stirs controversy with his one-minute floor speeches ending with, "Beam me up, Mr. Speaker." If the measure passes, it would establish a new federal agency called the Fair Justice Agency, responsible for investigating and prosecuting alleged misconduct, criminal activity, corruption, or fraud by Justice Department employees. The director of the new agency would be appointed by the president and would serve a 10-year term and be subject to confirmation by the Senate. Additionally, the bill says the director of the new agency may be dismissed by the president only for inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office. And, should the president dismiss the director, the measure requires the president to submit a report to Congress within five days detailing the reasons for the dismissal. The new agency would have the same investigative and prosecutorial authority as do current Justice Department attorneys, investigators and agents, and most importantly, Traficant said, the bill would allow the agency to prosecute cases in federal court. For the past three congressional sessions, including this one, Traficant's office said he has authored legislation requiring the appointment of an independent counsel any time there is credible evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Justice Department employees. Last year Congress allowed the Independent Counsel statute to expire, and Traficant determined several months ago that there was little support or enthusiasm in Congress to revive the independent counsel model, prompting his interest in a new independent investigative agency for Justice. On the surface, however, the bill seems laden with some of the same deficiencies Traficant says currently exist within the federal judiciary and Justice Department. The appointment of a director for the newly created Fair Justice Agency would still be subject to presidential approval, appointments that are rarely challenged by the Senate. "The establishment of a small, independent agency with a limited budget is the most realistic way of dealing with the problem of the Justice Department investigating itself," Traficant said. "Independent counsels do not have a good track record when it comes to being frugal with taxpayer dollars and conducting limited investigations. Because the bill gives the agency a limited budget, there is no danger that the new agency will engage in an endless series of unwarranted and expensive witch hunts." A spokesman for the House Judiciary Committee told WorldNetDaily the measure most likely would not be included in the committee's upcoming schedule for next week, and possibly not before Congress recesses for its spring break April 15 - May 1. The Justice Department had no comment on Traficant's measure. Jon E. Dougherty is a staff reporter for WorldNetDaily. E-mail to a friend Printer-friendly version GO TO PAGE 1 | GO TO PAGE 2 | GO TO COMMENTARY SEARCH WND | CONTACT WND © 2000, Inc. This page was last built 4/21/00; 7:48:15 PM Direct corrections and technical inquiries to Please direct news submissions to


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