Congressional Accountability Project
P.O. Box 19446
Washington, DC 20036
fax (202) 833-2406
July 26, 1994
Senators Richard Bryan and Mitch McConnell
United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senators Bryan and McConnell:
I am writing to inquire about your June 9, 1994 letter to Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
clearing him of allegations related to a July 2, 1993 memorandum prepared by Eve Lubalin. The
memorandum documents the appearance, if not the actuality, of linkage between Senator
Lautenberg's official activities and his campaign fundraising activities. However, your letter
raises a number of questions concerning whether the Senate Ethics Committee performed a
complete and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Lautenberg memo.
You state that "the appearance created by the memoranda entries is troubling to the Committee."
However, you conclude that "nothing in the evidence obtained by the Committee indicates the
existence of actual linkage, nor does the evidence indicate that either you or Ms. Lubalin
solicited contributions from individuals on the basis of official actions... Based on the available
information, no further action appears appropriate with respect to this matter."
The Lautenberg memorandum is deeply troubling because it contains passages such as "We need
to find out who Nick Forsman [sic] is from FRL [Senator Frank R. Lautenberg]. Keep this name.
I think he is represented by Tom Quinn in town and is VERY rich. Just did something nice that
made him very $$. He called FRL to thank him..." Nicholas Forstmann is a Wall Street
The memorandum states that "Mimi [Lautenberg DC campaign staffer Miriam Altschuler Walsh]
-- should follow up with Minikes and see when he feels we could move on a Philly business
event. Fax him Kean clips 1st and tell him you'll be calling. Can tell him I helped Karin Daroff
[Philadelphia businesswoman] out with something since dinner and she seems enthusiastic about
Another passage states "DC business event. FRL could call Michael Barnes or Bob Linnowes
(They can draw in DC Board of Trade people -- FRL gets transp $$ [Senator Lautenberg is the
Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation] ... Not sure if Abe
Pollin [businessman, owner of the US Air Arena, the Washington Bullets and the Washington
Capitals] would be part of the business group or Jewish DC. FRL helped him out on a number of
things lately and he should be called for an event in this area..." [Memorandum is quoted from
Roll Call, March 31, 1994 p.47]
Public skepticism about the thoroughness of Senate Ethics Committee investigations is common,
in part, because of recent Committee investigative failures. Here are three examples of such
1. Gramm 1990: Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) received a $117,000 interest-free loan for
construction on Gramm's house, and repaid only $63,433 to indicted Dallas S&L owner Jerry
Stiles. Senator Gramm failed to inform the Senate Ethics Committee about his letter to the
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas in support of Stiles, or of his meeting with Stiles in 1989 to
give advice about new regulations concerning S&L's. The Senate Ethics Committee cleared
Gramm of all charges.
2. D'Amato 1991: Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) was the target of a Senate Ethics Committee
investigation concerning, among other issues, whether Senator D'Amato used his office to further
the career and lobbying efforts of his brother, Armand. Armand D'Amato was lobbying on
behalf of Sperry/Unisys, a defense contractor. An April 25, 1994 New York Observer article
prepared with documents leaked from the Senate Ethics Committee investigation suggests that
Senator D'Amato lied under oath concerning what and when he knew about Armand D'Amato's
lobbying activities for Sperry/Unisys. Senator D'Amato was merely reprimanded in August 1991
for his "misuse" of his Senate office "for personal gain."
3. Gramm 1994: A 1993 series of articles in the Dallas Morning News alleged that Senator Gramm had used public monies from his government office expense account to fund large amounts of campaign-oriented travel in Texas for the year and three-quarters preceding his 1990 re-election bid. The articles also documented the use of Senate staff to perform campaign functions, misuse of the franking privilege, and Senator Gramm's expenditure of $9,000 in office expense account funds to pay for a family vacation, with minimal work. Senator Gramm was cleared of all wrongdoing involving the Dallas Morning News allegations, and Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Richard Bryan and Vice-Chairman Mitch McConnell refused to indicate whether they had solicited information from anyone other than Senator Gramm during their investigation.
Given the strong appearance of linkage between Senator Lautenberg's congressional and
campaign fundraising operations, your brief and incomplete letter to Senator Lautenberg fails to
allay public concern that the Lautenberg memo has not received a full and thorough
investigation. In particular, you letter is bereft of any explanatory basis for the conclusion that
the Committee will take "no further action" regarding the Lautenberg memo.
Interested citizens deserve answers which I hope you will urge the Committee staff to provide:
1. Will you publicly release copies of correspondence between the Committee and Senator
2. Did the Ethics Committee request for information about the alleged improprieties go only to
Senator Lautenberg and Ms. Lubalin? Was anyone else interviewed? Was Nicholas Forstmann
interviewed? Were any other contributors interviewed?
3. On what evidence did you base the conclusion that the Committee will take "no further action"
regarding the Lautenberg memo?
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
cc. Senator Bob Smith
Senator Tom Daschle
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Senator Larry Craig
Senator Frank Lautenberg