WASHINGTON — Five Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Senate Minority Leader Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, have called on Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III to consider appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the lobbying efforts of Michael K. Deaver, an aide to Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Thursday night.
In a letter, the senators argue that the reasons for appointment of an independent counsel seem so compelling that the burden of proof was on the Justice Department to show why one should not be appointed, said Peter F. Smith, Biden's press secretary.
He said the other signers are Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois, Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum of Ohio and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont. Biden, of Delaware, who is the ranking Democrat on the committee, initiated the letter to Meese, Smith said.
Under the Ethics of Government Act, Meese must respond within 30 days and tell the senators whether he has asked the court to appoint an independent counsel, or, if not, why, he said.