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Senate Votes to Close Inquiry on Long-Pardoned Cisneros

October 21, 2005|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Senate decided Thursday that it was time to close a decade-old, $20-million investigation of former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry G. Cisneros -- years after Cisneros received a presidential pardon.

The amendment to a spending bill, approved by voice vote, would require that the report of independent counsel David Barrett be made public within 60 days and that the independent counsel close his office within 90 days after the report is published.

"The American taxpayers have spent a lot of money on this report, and they deserve the right to see it," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), author of the measure.

The circumstances surrounding the Cisneros investigation are "all gone but the independent counsel is still working 11 years later," said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.).

Cisneros, Housing secretary from 1993 to 1996, admitted in 1999 that when he was being considered for a Cabinet job, he lied to the FBI about how much he had paid a former mistress. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was fined $10,000.

President Clinton pardoned him shortly before leaving office in 2001.

The Cisneros provision will become law only if the House, which passed a different version of the spending bill, agrees.

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