(July 8, 2008; rev. July 13, 2008)
The documents referenced on this page relate to the 1989-1990 hearings of the Employment and Housing Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations of the House of Representative, Chaired by Congressman Tom Lantos, into abuses of HUD’s moderate rehabilitation program. Only several document have been posted so far and the description follows is but a sketch of a narrative that eventually will be akin to that found on the page on this site styled “Materials Relating to Conduct of Attorneys in the Office of Independent Counsel Arlin M. Adams and Independent Counsel Larry D. Thompson in the Prosecution of Deborah Gore Dean (June 5, 2008)”
Two documents are currently posted:
1. A 50-page, single-spaced document styled “The Inquiry of Congressman Tom Lantos into Abuses of HUD’s Moderate Rehabilitation Program”: http://www.jpscanlan.com/images/1991_Account_of_Lantos_Hearings.pdf
2. An 8-page narrative document in the form of a chronology styled “David M. Barrett (5/14/90)”: http://www.jpscanlan.com/images/Barrett.pdf
Item 1, which was largely written in approximately 1991 (with quite minor modifications since then) involves the way Thomas T. Demery (the HUD official named in the title of HUD Inspector General’s Report that led to the Lantos Hearings), with the assistance of the public relations firm of Hill & Knowlton and an accommodating and not very insightful subcommittee managed to divert attention within and without the hearings from himself to HUD Secretary Samuel R. Pierce, Jr. and Deborah Gore Dean. It should be read in connection with certain other materials relating to Demery that are maintained elsewhere on this site. The include a December 1, 1994 document styled “Testimony of Thomas T. Demery” (http://www.jpscanlan.com/images/05-DEMER.pdf), Section B.6 of the narrative introducing the material on the following the page of this site under the “Prosecutorial Misconduct” tab (http://www.jpscanlan.com/homepage/prosecutorialmisconduct.html); and the document styled “The Independent Counsel’s Use of Dean’s Off-the-Stand Remark about David Barrett and the Judge” that is mentioned at various places on that page (http://www.jpscanlan.com/images/David_Barrett_and_the_Judge_7-4.pdf).
Item 1 should also be read with an understanding of the matter initially uncovered by John R. McArthur regard to the October 1990 hearings of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and a witness named Nariyah who represented that she had observed certain atrocities following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, such as is discussed, say, at http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=103&topic_id=313962&mesg_id=313962, and many other places, as well as Hill & Knowlton defense of its actions regarding Nariyah, such as the February 20, 2007 blog entry by Boyd Neil, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Hill & Knowlton Canada (http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/blogs/boydneil/default.aspx). It would also be useful to consider the February 13, 2008 Washington Post op-ed piece by Hill & Knowlton’s Frank Mankiewicz, “Tom Lantos’s Lifelong Fight Against Tyranny” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/12/AR2008021203045.html), where Mankiewicz discusses his long relationship with Lantos, Lantos’s entertaining Mankiewicz and his wife in Budapest in 1990 (presumably in between Demery’s May 1990 testimony and Nariyah’s October 1990 testimony), as well as Mankiewicz’s role in securing Hill & Knowlton office space for Lantos’s Congressional Human Rights Caucus.
In considering the relationship of the Demery matter and the Nariyah matter, I suggest that the reader give thought to the following. While acknowledging that its representatives coached Nariyah to prepare for her testimony, Hill & Knowlton has always denied any knowledge that Nariyah’s testimony might have been false. And course for an organization to be involved in presenting false testimony to a congressional committee would be a serious matter, whether or not it involved testimony intended to lead the country to war. So, too, would be any involvement of the firm in causing false testimony to go undetected. As discussed in the referenced materials maintained elsewhere on this site, there is no doubt that while being represented by Hill & Knowlton Demery committed perjury numerous times in May 1989 hearings before the Lantos subcommittee and before a subcommittee of the House Banking Committee, as well as in a May 1990 hearings before the Lantos subcommittee.
Assuming that the Hill & Knowlton representatives handling the matter were of reasonable intelligence, it is hard to believe that they were not immediately aware that many statements in Demery’s May 1989 testimony were false. But let us assume that the Hill & Knowlton representatives at that point were unaware that anything in the May 1989 testimony was false. As discussed in item 1, in October 1989, the release of Demery’s word-processing diskettes revealed that Demery kept lists of the developers and consultants benefiting from his decisions, making it abundantly clear to Hill & Knowlton’s representatives that Demery’s May 1989 testimony was false in many respects. The firm, however, continued to represent Demery, and in doing so, was presumably involved in attempting to cause the fact that Demery’s May 1989 testimony was false not to be recognized.
Item 2 is a chronology of David M. Barrett’s contacts with Demery that was possessed by Lantos when, in a hearing on May 23, 1990, Lantos questioned Demery about what actions he had taken to benefit Barrett. The document would apparently form the basis for that questioning and would be relied upon in the discussion of Barrett at pages 90-91 of the subcommittee’s final report (pages 216-17 of draft version of the same report). It presumably would be information on this document that caused Lantos to describe Barrett’s May 1995 appointment as independent counsel to investigate HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros as “mind-boggling” (see Johnson D, “Lawyer Linked to 80’s HUD Scandal is Named to Investigate Housing Chief,” New York Times, May 25, 1995: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE6D71E3DF936A15756C0A963958260) and later as “appointing the well fed fox to investigate missing hens at the chicken coop” (see Morgan D, “Counsel Has Previous HUD Connections,” Washington Post, Aug. 30, 1999: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/cisneros/stories/fbarrett083099.htm).
Item 2, along with item 1, which discusses Barrett at pages 1,18-19, 23-25, 28, 30-32, 36-37, 41-42, 47, should be read with appreciation that Barrett’s tenure as Independent Counsel would be regarded by many as the most wasteful of all time. It was regarded as protracted as early as January 1997, when a Legal Times article would be styled “What’s Taking David Barrett So Long?” Ultimately, Barrett had to be forced to close his investigation in January 2006. The prior May, a Justice Department official who had been permitted to read certain portions of the Barrett final report would describe it as "a fitting conclusion to one of the most embarrassingly incompetent and wasteful episodes in the history of American law enforcement." But whereas Barrett’s tenure as an Independent Counsel may be deemed remarkable, as suggested by the initial reaction of Congressman Lantos, Barrett’s tenure was probably not as remarkable as the fact that someone with his level of involvement in 1980s HUD scandal should be appointed as Independent Counsel to investigate a matter involving HUD.