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(9) Allegations that the White House caused friends of the President to be given favored treatment by the Comptroller of the Currency.
These allegations concern the granting of a charter to a New York bank organized by an associate of a friend of the President, and the denial of a charter for a Florida bank to compete with one owned by another friend of the President. Members of the staff have reviewed the relevant files of the Comptroller of the Currency and have discussed these matters with a Deputy Comptroller of the Currency. The evidence does not support the allegations that the decisions by the Comptroller of the Currency in these cases resulted from political pressure or interference.
(10) Allegations that lawsuits were not prosecuted by the Environmental Protection Agency because of campaign contributions on behalf of the corporations involved.
The staff has reviewed relevant files of the Environmental Protection Agency and has discussed this matter with staff of the Conservation and Natural Resources Subcommittee of the House Government Operations Committee. No evidence has been found supporting the allegations that corporate contributions played a role in administrative decisions favorable to the contributors.
(12) Allegations of attempts to obtain campaign contributions in return for promises of assistance with the Federal Housing Administration.
The staff's review of testimony before the Senate select committee and other relevant material has revealed conflicting testimony as to whether a high campaign official attempted to obtain a contribution in return for promises to aid the contributor in an FHA matter. The nature of the accusatory testimony suggests further investigation would not be materially helpful to the committee.
(14) Allegations that the Department of Justice failed to prosecute certain lawsuits as a result of campaign contributions by defendants.
The staff has reviewed the relevant files of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, documents from and testimony before the Senate select committee, and records of campaign contributions allegedly related to three Department of Justice decisions not to proceed in la wsuits against administration supporters. While in two cases there is evidence of contacts between White House aides and the Department of Justice, no evidence was found that the Department of Justice failed for improper reasons to prosecute any of them.
(18) Allegations that the Antitrust Division dropped an investigation of a corporation because its owner was a friend of the President.
Members of the staff have reviewed the Department of Justice files relevant to this matter. They indicate that the case was handled properly, in a routine manner and without outside interference. In hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on October 29, 1973, former Special Prosecutor Cox indicated that his staff similarly had found no evidence of wrongdoing with respect to this matter.
(20) Allegation that a corporation obtained permission to increase prices after one of its principals made a substantial campaign contribution.
Members of the staff have reviewed the relevant files of the Price Commission and have discussed the case with a member of the staff
of the Cost of Living Council (the custodian of the records of the Price Commission, which no longer exists). While the evidence indicates that there may have been White House interest in the Price Commission decision, no support has been found for the allegation that this affected the action of the Price Commission or that the action taken by the Commissioner was improper.
(25) Allegation that the Department of Commerce failed to put into effect certain safety standards because of contributions by the industry involved to the President's reelection campaign.
A Department of Commerce decision favorable to an industry occurred at about the same time campaign contributions for the President's reelection were received from members of that industry. The evidence developed by a Senate select committee investigation does not support the allegation of a link between the two or that the Department of Commerce action was improper.
(26) Allegation that in exchange for a contribution to the President's reelection campaign the Department of Interior failed to revoke an import allocation grant to an oil corporation.
Members of the staff have reviewed the Department of Interior files relevant to this allegation. Although a substantial campaign contribution was followed by favorable Department of Interior action, there is no indication in the files of procedural irregularity, and the staff has not found that the evidence supports the allegation that the contribution and the Department of Interior decision were related or that political pressure or interference was involved.
F. ALLEGATIONS CONCERNING OTHER MISCONDUCT
1. THE BOMBING OF CAMBODIA
The inquiry staff has completed its preliminary review of public statements on this subject and available congressional testimony of executive branch officials, including those within the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the Executive Office of the President.
On March 27, 1974, Senator Hughes presented to the Senate a summary of the Senate Armed Services Committee's report of its hearings on secret U.S. military operations in Southeast Asia. Congressional Record S4491-4494, March 27, 1974 (daily ed.). Senator Hughes summary referred to evidence of both bombing in Cambodia, allegedly in violation of Congressional restrictions on U.S. military activities in Southeast Asia, and falsification of Defense Department bombing records and false reporting of operations to the Senate. On March 29 the staff was advised that the report of the Senate Armed Services Committee's hearings would be available on or about April 5, 1974. Subsequently the staff was informed that the release of the Senate committee's report had been deferred in order to complete the editing of classified portions of the report. It is hoped that it will be possible to arrange for early access by the staff to all relevant materials secured by the Senate committee.
The staff believes that review of these materials can be completed within 7 to 10 days after receipt, enabling the staff then to report further to the committee.
2. THE IMPOUNDMENT OF FUNDS, AND 3. THE DISMANTLING OF THE OFFICE
OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
Although listed separately in the March 1 report, these categories involve substantially similar issues. The "dismantling of OE0"-and particularly action taken in 1973 with respect to the Community Action Program—is one instance of the class of actions included within the category of “impoundment.” “Impoundment” itself is an inexact term. As generally used with reference to actions by the Nixon administration, especially during fiscal year 1973, it covers steps taken to control Federal spending by reducing allotments or allocations under various programs, effectively terminating others by failing to process applications for them, and ordering the use of grant funds under some programs (such as community action) to phase out the programs of grantees, as well as refusals to obligate the entire amount appropriated by law for particular programs.
The staff has reviewed more than 50 court decisions in which actions within these categories have been challenged in litigation, as well as congressional hearings and other materials. The cases have involved a number of different statutory provisions and a wide variety of factual situations and legal arguments. The courts have held the issues raised by most of the challenged impoundments to be justifiable and generally have declared, on the basis of construction of the statutes involved, that the impoundments were illegal. The administration appears to have complied with those court determinations that have become final.
The court cases passing upon the administration's claim of a right to impound funds have arisen in different districts and circuits. The courts have sometimes found the statutory language involved to be ambiguous. The legal arguments presented on behalf of the executive's action, although generally not successful, were respectable. The administration position has been accepted in a few suits. The actions of the President and of inferior executive officials with respect to impoundment of funds appear generally to have been open and public. The practice of impoundment appears to have diminished since the series of adverse judicial decisions in 1973. The administration has publicly announced a shift away from its previous policy of impoundment. While the adverse impact of a delay in implementing a congressional appropriation cannot be wholly counteracted retroactively, it does appear that where impoundments have been successfully challenged in court, the funds have been allotted or obligated. Under all the circumstances, no one of which is determinative, the staff is not presently conducting further investigation with respect to these categories.