YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

House Post Office Worker Tells of Campaign Donation Pickups

May 30, 1992|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Two House employees were ordered to pick up and deliver mailed campaign contributions to offices in the Capitol complex, despite prohibitions against receiving political money in government offices, one of the couriers said Friday.

Griff Williams, who worked at the House post office as a congressional staffer, said in an interview that he picked up campaign mail, sent to a regular post office outside the Capitol grounds, for five lawmakers for several months.

He said he refused to continue because he questioned the action's propriety.

Both federal law and House rules restrict the receipt of campaign contributions in government offices. In addition, employees are barred from political work as part of their official duties, and government equipment, such as the House postal vehicles used by the couriers, cannot be used for campaign work.

Williams, the son of Rep. Pat Williams (D-Mont.), is one of three House post office employees subpoenaed this week by a federal grand jury investigating operations at the facility.

All House post office employees work for Congress, not the U.S. Postal Service.

Williams, who spent most of his time assisting lawmakers and others in obtaining passports and visas, said he was regularly ordered by a supervisor to go to a post office in Washington and pick up mail at boxes rented by campaign organizations for five House members. The pickups were made on work time, Williams said.

He identified the five as Reps. Nicholas Mavroules (D-Mass.), Dennis M. Hertel (D-Mich.), Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio), Jim Moody (D-Wis.) and Edward F. Feighan (D-Ohio).

Williams said he described the arrangement to House investigators probing possible wrongdoing at the post office.

Also subpoenaed were James Jenkins, whom Williams identified as a colleague who was told to make similar courier runs, and Kimberly Scrogum, an aide to the post office's chief of staff, Joanna O'Rourke, who is on medical leave.

The subpoenas are for testimony on Tuesday. Williams and Jenkins also were told to bring documents relating to--and keys to--boxes "obtained on behalf" of lawmakers or their political committees from 1985 through 1992.

Los Angeles Times Articles