The Corner

War Over The Barrett Report

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn is circulating a letter today in an effort to stop a Democratic amendment that would cut off funds to the office of Independent Counsel David Barrett.

Barrett spent years investigating the case of Henry Cisneros, the Clinton administration Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Cisneros was accused of lying to the FBI about payments he made to a former girlfriend. In September 1999, Cisneros pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

Barrett, who has finished his final report, is said to have uncovered evidence of Internal Revenue Service officials’ efforts to protect Cisneros over allegations Cisneros had not paid taxes on the money he gave to the former girlfriend. Democrats are attempting to cut off Barrett’s funds to keep the report from being made public.

Here is the Coburn letter, in full:

The Honorable Thad Cochran

Chairman, Committee on Appropriations

United States Senate

Washington, D.C.

Dear Chairman Cochran:

We are writing to express our concern regarding Senate Amendment 399 that was adopted by unanimous consent during recent debate over the emergency supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 1268). This amendment prohibits any additional funds from being spent on the Independent Counsel investigation of Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. If the language from this amendment is enacted into law, there is the risk that the final report on this investigation will not be released. Given the extraordinary amount of time and public funds that have already been expended on this matter, we do not believe that the Cisneros investigation should be prematurely terminated before its final findings are made public.

We understand that many people have very strong feelings about the propriety of the Independent Counsel itself. We also understand that others have concerns about the use of taxpayer dollars to fund these types of investigations. We share these same concerns.

The Independent Counsel, which began its investigation in May 1995, was appointed to investigate false statements by Mr. Cisneros to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, according to myriad news reports, the scope of the Independent Counsel¹s investigation later included both the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service. According to one of the judges overseeing the Independent Counsel, the investigation was ³an apparently wide-ranging probe of government officials who mightŠhave sought to shield Mr. Cisneros.² If there is any truth to the charge that Mr.

Cisneros was shielded by any federal official or department, both the Congress and the public deserve to know.

Accordingly, we respectfully urge you to not include any language regarding the Independent Counsel investigation of Mr. Cisneros in the final conference agreement for H.R. 1268.


Tom Coburn

Byron York — Byron York is is the author of The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.

Most Popular


The Inquisitor Has No Clothes

This is a column about impeachment, but first, a confession: I think I might be guilty of insider trading. At this point, I would like to assure my dear friends at the SEC that I do not mean this in any actionable legal sense, but only in principle. Some time ago, I was considering making an investment in a ... Read More

The Present American Revolution

The revolution of 1776 sought to turn a colony of Great Britain into a new independent republic based on constitutionally protected freedom. It succeeded with the creation of the United States. The failed revolution of 1861, by a slave-owning South declaring its independence from the Union, sought to bifurcate ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Shaming Women Who Vote Right

Some progressives have decided that rather than convincing women that their candidates and policy proposals are better than those of conservatives, they will shame women who fail to vote for the Left by defining them all as racist and self-loathing tools of the patriarchy. Think I’m exaggerating? See this ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Way Forward from the Midterms

With the 2018 midterm elections now in the rearview mirror, Republicans have been awakened to a simple fact: The laws of political gravity apply to President Trump. Democrats won sweeping victories in the House, kept their Senate losses to a near-minimum despite a brutal map, and took down-ballot races with ... Read More