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Dole Says This Year Would Be OK For Packwood Probe

November 29, 1992 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole said Sunday an ethics probe of Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., should begin quickly, perhaps this year even before the next Congress convenes.

And Sen Warren Rudman, R-N.H., a member of the Senate Ethics Committee, also wouldn’t rule out an investigation before the next Congress meets.

Packwood, who won re-election Nov. 3, was entering a clinic for treatment of alcohol-related problems, according to two of the senator’s friends quoted by the Sunday Oregonian newspaper.

″He knows he has to answer questions publicly, but he just doesn’t feel strong enough to do it now,″ the Oregonian in Portland quoted one of the unnamed Packwood friends as saying.

Ten women - former Packwood staff members or lobbyists - have accused the four-term senator of uninvited and unwanted sexual advances over the years.

Dole, a Kansas Republican, and Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, D- Maine, said they favor swift resolution of the matter.

″My view is the quicker the better,″ Dole said on ABC’s ″This Week With David Brinkley.″ ″Let’s get it behind us maybe before the next Congress convenes.″

The Packwood matter ″could be heard this month,″ Rudman, who is retiring from the Senate, said on CBS’ ″Face the Nation.″

″I’m not volunteering to do that,″ Rudman added.

Packwood on Friday requested an ethics probe and said he will seek advice about his use of alcohol.

Mitchell said the allegations against Packwood ″are serious and should be taken seriously. ... I expect there will be a prompt and thorough investigation by the Ethics Committee.″

The allegations against Packwood were reported by The Washington Post after Packwood narrowly defeated Rep. Les AuCoin, D-0re., to win a fifth term. Before the election, Packwood categorically denied the allegations to the Post. But he has since backed away from those denials, conceding in two statements that the unwanted advances could have taken place and apologizing.

Women lawmakers are expected to press Senate leaders in the upcoming Congress to deal with sexual harassment issues on Capitol Hill.

″I think sexual harassment should be rooted out wherever it occurs,″ Sen.-elect Carol Moseley Braun, D-Ill, said on ABC’s ″This Week With David Brinkley.″

Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kan., also appearing on ″Face the Nation,″ said the Senate ″needs the same rules (on sexual harassment) that we have passed in civil rights legislation regarding the rest of the public.″