Representative Burton Issues Subpoenas on 1996 Campaign Finance Scandal

By Bob Melvin | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - US Representative Dan Burton (R-IN), Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, announced on Friday he will call three key witnesses to testify about the Justice Department's decision not to investigate the Democratic campaign fundraising scandal four years ago.

Burton's Committee will issue a subpoena to require Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder to produce, in person, documents related to the Department of Justice's decision not to appoint an Independent Counsel in the case.

The hearing is scheduled to begin May 25th.

Burton and his Government Reform Committee also will require Lee Radek and William Esposito to testify about an alleged conversation during which Mr. Radek indicated that he and the Public Integrity Section were under a lot of pressure in 1996.

Wire service reports previously indicated that on December 9th, 1996, FBI Director Louis Freeh wrote a memo concerning a talk he had with Attorney General Janet Reno. In the memo, Freeh referred to Radek as saying, "he was under a lot of pressure not to go forward with the (campaign finance) investigation," and that Reno's job "might hang in the balance."

Government Reform Committee attorneys have reviewed the memo.

"This committee has been investigating the campaign fundraising scandal for three years," Burton said. "In that time, we have uncovered significant evidence that has led us to conclude that Attorney General Reno has been blocking for the President and this administration.

"Now we have a piece of evidence from the Director of the FBI that makes it abundantly clear that we have been right all along. Janet Reno and Lee Radek have been blatantly protecting the President, the Vice President and their party from the outset of this scandal," Burton stated.

"To this day, the Justice Department continues to stonewall our investigation by not turning over documents. This is not about national security or matters of executive privilege. This is about the Justice Department obstructing justice by withholding documents from our Committee - documents that have been under subpoena for two years," Burton declared.

Burton says there is enough evidence compiled during the past three years to present a case for "a shocking dereliction of duty that has been the hallmark of Attorney General Reno's handling of the campaign finance investigation."

Burton concluded his announcement by saying, "The American people have a right to expect that the Justice Department works for the people, not as defense counsel for politicians and a political party."