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Babbitt Inquiry Report Released

22 August 2000

WASHINGTON – Aug. 22, 2000 – As reported by The Associated Press: "The special prosecutor tasked to investigate Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt released her final report Tuesday, explaining why she had previously found insufficient evidence to prosecute him.

"The investigation stemmed from allegations that Babbitt rejected a proposed Indian casino because of campaign contributions and then lied to Congress about it.

"…Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton, R-Ind., said he was disappointed at statements in the report that Babbitt conceded to a grand jury that some of his sworn statements "either were not entirely accurate or at least constituted 'overstatement."'

"…To the grand jury, Babbitt described some of his testimony as hyperbole, and occasionally was "paraphrasing and summarizing and overstating in an argumentative way" to a hostile committee.

"Independent Counsel Carol Elder Bruce, a veteran prosecutor who was assigned the case in March 1998, said in October that she would not seek indictments against Babbitt or anyone else involved in the controversy.

Babbitt complained he was being attacked for political reasons and that the allegations already had been thoroughly aired at hearings in both the Senate and House, and internally by the Justice Department.

"…When Bruce's conclusions were released in October, Babbitt said he was "gratified" at the outcome. Babbitt's office said Tuesday that the secretary is happy to put the issue behind him…"

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