Senate Ethics Doesn’t Resolve Hearings Issue
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Senate Ethics Committee failed Wednesday to decide whether hearings should be conducted into Sen. Bob Packwood’s sexual and official conduct. A session scheduled for Thursday was canceled.
It was not clear why Chairman Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., canceled the next meeting and set no date for the next session.
However, earlier in the day, Sen. Barbara Boxer repeated her intention to force the full Senate to vote on hearings if the committee failed to approve hearing testimony publicly.
Boxer, D-Calif., said she would try to attach her resolution to a pending bill. Asked whether a prime target was the regulatory reform bill now on the Senate floor _ a top legislative priority of the Republican leadership _ she responded, ``You bet.″
``I will go to the floor immediately″ upon learning of any committee decision against hearings, she said.
Several Republican leaders have been publicly cool to hearings. Boxer said the majority party would be to blame if they were not held.
Two Democrats on the committee, Richard Bryan of Nevada and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, have called for public hearings. No others on the committee of three Republicans and three Democrats have publicly expressed an opinion.
The panel has found ``substantial credible evidence″ that Packwood made unwanted sexual advances to 17 women in 18 instances from 1969 to 1990; altered his personal diaries when he learned the committee might subpoena them for the investigation; and tried to solicit a job for his wife from lobbyists and businessmen with legislative interests, while the couple was obtaining a divorce.
Any increase in Mrs. Packwood’s income could have lowered the senator’s alimony payments.