HOUSE PANEL WIDENS PROBE OF

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EDITORIAL

Saipan Tribune July 28, 1999

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR OFFICIALS

The House Resources Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has given its chairman Congressman Don Young blanket authority to issue further subpoenas into the alleged illegal political activities of U.S. Department of Interior officials.

Earlier subpoenas demanded a wide array of materials from top officials at Interior and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The political attacks are alleged to have been focused on House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, House Majority Leader Richard K. Armey and Senator Frank Murkowski.

The House Resources Committee chairman said recently that he has received "serious allegations of illegal actions by employees of the Office of Insular Affairs." The allegations involve violations of the Hatch Act -- which bars government employees from using their offices for partisan purposes -- and the "misuse of federal resources" in ways that undermine the democratic process."

It is alarming how the "we few" vicious Interior officials have taken it upon themselves to disregard their primary responsibility (as the lead federal agency for insular areas) to engage -- using U.S. taxpayers’ money -- in filthy political warfare so prohibited by federal law.

Alarming in the sense that if they can purposely violate the Hatch Act, then it goes without saying that they can willfully neglect adherence to the spirit of the Covenant Agreement (another federal law) which mandates Interior's Office of Insular Affairs to "assist the CNMI attain a higher standard of living."

It is further alarming for this group of U.S. Citizens to be victimized by the abuse of little power granted OIA officials on an agenda that would not only compromise the democratic process, but make a mockery of the essence of self-government so penned in the Covenant Agreement. Therefore, the apparent net result of alleged illegal political activities so prohibited by federal law has resulted in mediocrity in the handling of insular matters.

Despite heavy media trumpeting of President Clinton's economic policies, OIA officials simply refuse to ascertain that such policy is made equally applicable in the CNMI. The exiting OIA helmsman and cronies have a lot to learn about the equal application of federal laws and policies that must be inclusive of all American Communities (CNMI included) who refuse to obey an arbitrary and abusive OIA agenda that runs contrary to the very essence of self-government. Further more, it (OIA) has blindly engaged in its mini-world of playing favorites as to grant American Samoa an industry wage, but refuses to do likewise for the CNMI.

And Interior's OIA is supposed to be the lead federal agency working in partnership with the CNMI only to turn complete adversary since 1993! Our most profound "Si Yuus Maase" to Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Committee Chairman Don Young, Senator Frank Murkowski and other supporters for demonstrating real and superior leadership in protecting the interest of this group of U.S. Citizens situated outside the fringe of mainstream America. You've given us hope, after all the discriminatory stampeding from OIA, that our country isn't what OIA makes it to be. God Bless America!

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