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September 11, 1995 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-11

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Packwood disputes
accumacy of his
ory s

The Michigan daily - Monday, September 11, 1995 -
Diaries give insight
into Senate business

Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - With his career
and personal affairs in shambles, Sen.
Bob Packwood tried yesterday to sal-
vage some of his reputation as a respon-
sible legislator, rejecting indications in
his own diaries that he traded favors
with lobbyists and tried to extract fi-
nancial benefits from his Senate com-
mittee chairmanship.
Three days after the public release of
passages from the diary helped force
his resignation, the senator insisted that
many of the accounts in it - dictated in
his own voice over 25 years - are
misstated or never happened. About
other incidents, he said he had no recol-
lection. He says the diary passages were
based on misunderstandings of events
he held at the time.
Packwood's comments about the diary
passages illustrate his relentless determi-
nation to dispute every point of the mas-
sive ethics case compiled against him,
Judges to
hear cases
on gays m
Thomasson fired off a letter to his boss
- the admiral enforcing the Navy's
policy against homosexuals - days
after President Clinton's "don't ask,
don't tell" policy went into effect. "I am
gay," he wrote.
Despite Thomasson's stellar 10-year
record and the support of his command-
ing officer, the Navy moved to dis-
charge him.
Thomasson fought back in court,
challenging the policy as unconstitu-
tional. His case goes before the 4th
CircuitCourt of Appeals in Alexandria,
Va., this week - the first challenge of
the Clinton policy to reach the federal
appeals court level.
A second challenge to the policy -
Able vs. Perry - is slated to be argued
before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
later this year.
The two cases illustrate how differ-
ent judges can hear similar arguments
on the same issue and reach opposite
They also cast doubt on the Clinton
administration's claim that people would
no longer be discharged from the mili-
tary merely for being gay or lesbian.
At the crux of the new policy is the
presumption that someone who says he
or she is homosexual would engage in
homosexual activity, which is prohib-
ited. To remain in uniform, openly gay
members must prove they won't have
gay sex.
So far, four people have "rebutted
the presumption" that because they are
gay they would engage in homosexual
activity, according to court papers. But
"two effectively recanted and said they
were confused and not gay," said C.
Dixon Osburn, co-executive director
of the Servicemembers Legal Defense
Network, which advises gay and les-
bian servicemembers and helps them
find lawyers.
Pentagon officials were unable to say
how many servicemembers have at-
tempted to challenge the theory. But the
discharge rate under the new policy has
not changed significantly from the rate

under the old policy, according to figures
provided by the Defense Department.
Lawrence Korb, assistant defense sec-
retary for manpower under President
Reagan, now a scholar at the Brookings
Institution, called the new policy only
"marginally different" from the old.
"In some cases, it may even be worse
because you get into the whole question
of freedom of speech," he said.
It may ultimately be up to thejustices
on the Supreme Court to decide if the
policy is unconstitutional.
"I think what you've got now is three
for, three against and three in the middle,"
Korb said, identifying the swing votes as
Justices David Souter, Sandra Day
O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy.
Korb, who used to enforce the old
policy on homosexuals, has appeared
as an expert witness on behalf of gay
servicemembers in several high-profile
court challenges.
Neither Thomasson nor the six Able

even while abdicating in the face of it.
"I have discovered there are many
inaccuracies in the diary," Packwood
said in an interview on the CBS News
program "Face the Nation."
"Some of them simply weren't true.
I didn't know it at the time, but they
weren't true."
Entries from the diary, which was
obtained by the Senate Ethics Commit-
tee during its two-year investigation of
Packwood and released upon the
completion of the case, portray
Packwood as sometimes adding provi-
sions to legislation to help favored lob-
byists and then relying on their finan-
cial help to keep him in office.
In one such instance, he told of his
intention to "hit up" lobbyists and busi-
ness executives to hire his estranged
wife, Georgie Packwood, to lessen her
need for alimony.
And he talks of concealing contribu-
tions from donors, saying of support

Packwood wrote his own headline
for the behind-the-scenes dealings
with lobbyists that helped lead to his
downfall: "Republican Fat Cat Buys
off Senator with Job to Senator's
That diary entry, dated Dec. 10,
1990, is part of a rare glimpse into the
backroom connections among money,
politics and lobbyists that usually are
only whispered about on Capitol Hill,
if they are mentioned at all.
The Oregon Republican hadnot slept
the night before, worried that his di-
vorce proceedings would have to go to
a public trial and the arrangements he
had made with lobbyists and political
backers to reduce his alimony pay-
ments would become known, resulting
in headlines like the one he wrote.
The Justice Department earlierthis
year declined to prosecute Packwood
for soliciting jobs for his former wife
from the lobbyists.
Yet the diaries provide unusual in-
sights into how lobbyists and busi-
ness executives sometimes exploit
personal connections inside the Capi-

tol. Excerpts were released last week
by the Senate Ethics Committee.
In one blunt entry, Packwood wrote
that Ronald Crawford, a lobbyist with
the firm F/P Research Associates,
was helpful to him in raising money
from Washington political action
committees "because much of his
income is dependent on his relation-
ship with me. He has got a vested
interest in my staying in office."
In another, Packwood recounted a
1990 dinner conversation with
Crawford in which the lobbyist of-
fered to put up $7,500 a year to help
support Packwood's wife, Georgie;
after their marriage broke up.
"If you're chairman of the Finance
Committee, I can probably double
that," he quoted Crawford as saying.
Packwood, who at the time was a
senior minority member of the tax-
writing panel, later told the Ethics
Committee the remark was meant as
a joke.
Packwood's entries underscore that
access to the powerful is the commodity
that nets lobbyists their six-figure sala-

Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) speaks to members of the press outside CBS studios
yesterday after his appearance on the television show "Face the Nation".

from auto dealers: "Of course we can't
know anything about it.... We've got to
destroy any evidence we've ever had."
Asked in the interview why the pub-
lic shouldn't get a picture of the Senate
as a place for "backroom deals,"
Packwood said: "Because those are all
taken out of context. When you look at
the full panoply of diary entries, you
will see in this, time and time and time
again, references that say, 'I will not

allow that as a quid pro quo,''I will not
do this,' or 'these people think they can
get in here and give money and get
something, they're totally wrong - I
throw them out."'
The Oregon Republican, for years a
central force on the Senate Finance
Committee, had a reputation as a dili-
gent legislative arbiter, advocate for
women's issues and tax policy expert
before sexual harassment allegations


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