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 a few documents have been posted so far and the description that follows is but a sketch of a narrative that eventually will be akin to those found in the Prosecutorial Misconduct (PMP) and Misconduct Profiles pages of this site.
The issues discussed on those pages, which involve abuses during the prosecutions that followed the appointment of Independent Counsel Arlin M. Adams to investigate the issues initially raised in the Lantos Hearings, are discussed in a large number of Justice articles (which articles may be found here). Among those, a March 8, 2011 item styled “The Remarkable Careers of Sometimes Prosecutor David M. Barrett,” is closely related to the subject addressed in the items below.
Two documents warrant brief discussion.
1. The Account of the Lantos Hearings
The first is a 50-page, single-spaced document styled “The Inquiry of Congressman Tom Lantos into Abuses of HUD’s Moderate Rehabilitation Program” (Inquiry Document). An outline to the Inquiry Document is available here. The item, which was largely written in approximately 1991 (with quite minor modifications since then) addresses 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 his Executive Assistant, Deborah Gore Dean. It should be read in connection with certain other materials relating to Demery that are maintained elsewhere on this site. These include Section B.6 of the narrative introducing the material on the Prosecutorial Misconduct page of this site; the December 1, 1994 document styled “Testimony of Thomas T. Demery” discussed in Section B.6; and the document styled “The Independent Counsel’s Use of Dean’s Off-the-Stand Remark about David Barrett and the Judge.”
The Inquiry Document should also be read with an understanding of the matter initially uncovered by John R. McArthur regarding 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 Nariyah Item 1, Nariyah Item 2, Nariyah Item 3, and many other places), as well as Hill & Knowlton’s defense of its actions regarding Nariyah (such as the February 20, 2007 blog item by Boyd Neil, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Hill & Knowlton Canada. 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,” 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 of course for an organization to be involved in presenting false testimony to congressional committee would be a serious matter, whether or not doing so 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 Thomas T. 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 had no idea that anything in the May 1989 testimony might be false. As discussed in the Inquiry document and the March 11, 2011 Truth in Justice item on David M. Barrett, 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. Such disclosure made 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, which attempt undoubtedly involve further false testimony by Demery.
Subsequent disclosures, of course, would shed considerable light on the matters addressed in the Inquiry document. While often such disclosures would confirm suggestions or arguments in the document, I am not sure that any would materially contradict anything in the document. One subsequent group of disclosures, which bears on the efforts to cause Demery’s perjury not to be revealed, does warrant mention.
The Inquiry document gives a good deal of attention to the fall 1989 disclosure of the November 1, 1987 list found on Demery’s word-processing diskettes that matched pending mod rehab requests with the names of persons like David M. Barrett or prominent mod rehab developer Phillip Winn. The document would seem patently to contradict Demery’s sworn testimony that he did not know the identity of persons benefiting from his decisions. It would also seem to contradict varied other sworn statements such as that Demery did not even know Phillip Winn was in the moderate rehabilitation business. At pages 35-43, the Inquiry discusses the May 23, 1990 hearing that took place after the November 1987 list was disclosed. It describes the way that, in what seemed to be a well-orchestrated colloquy, Lantos would initially confront Demery with the November 1, 1987 list and Demery’s earlier statement that he did not know who benefited from his decisions. But, while such confrontation would seem to establish that Demery committed perjury, such fact would hardly be noticed as the inquiry instantly segued into questioning about whether Demery kept the list for himself or for Secretary Pierce. After Demery stated that he kept the list for Pierce, the matter turned to a January 13, 1987 meeting in which, according to Demery, Pierce told Demery that he wanted to know who was behind every mod rehab request being considered at the meeting. The January 13, 1987 meeting had in fact been earlier announced by Lantos as the main focus of the hearing (and at the commencement of the May 23, 1990 hearing, people, presumably from Hill & Knowlton, distributed Demery’s prepared statement about the January 13, 1987 meeting). The Inquiry document further discusses that observers, including the press, seemed to overlook any suggestion that Demery’s perjury had been revealed in the proceeding. It also discusses that Demery’s testimony would then form a basis for the a recommendation that Independent Counsel Arlin M. Adams expand his investigation into possible perjury before the Lantos subcommittee – though, not of Demery, but of Pierce.
Subsequent disclosures would reveal that the January 13, 1987 meeting occurred when Demery tried to fire a Deputy Assistant Secretary for refusing to implement Demery’s certain moderate rehabilitation funding decisions. The Deputy Assistant Secretary maintained that Demery had stated he had to make the particular allocations in order to pay back people who had helped him get his job. As suggested by the Inquiry document (and the Siegel/Phoenix Chronology) among the persons benefiting from these decisions was Joseph A. Strauss. This was a particular concern to Pierce, and it would be in the course of discussion of such issue that Pierce would demand to know who was behind each request, and, as Demery would later acknowledge, Demery lied to Pierce about who was behind the requests (or “gave an incomplete answer,” as Demery would put it testifying as an Independent Counsel witness in the Dean case (Tr. 1914)). And whereas the November 1,1987 listing was supposed to be maintained for Pierce, more documents would emerge indicating that the lists Demery actually disclosed to Pierce or others matched requests with persons different from those on Demery’s November 1987 list. Thus, for example, while Demery’s November 1987 list would match a Moore, Oklahoma request with Barrett, documents Demery shared with others would match it with Oklahoma Senator Don Nickles.
Thus, if the absurdity of Demery’s telling Pierce that the persons behind the request were “my friend Artiano, my friend Barrett, … my ex-partner Rohlwing …,” is not evident from the Inquiry Document itself (at 42), the reader might well wish to consider the matter in light of the subsequent disclosures.
The second document warranting mention is 8-page narrative document in the form of a chronology styled “David M. Barrett (5/14/90).” The item is a chronology of David M. Barrett’s contacts with Demery that was in the possession of Lantos’s staff when, in a hearing on May 23, 1990, Lantos questioned Demery concerning Demery’s contacts with Barrett. Though the Barrett chronology addresses many issues that Lantos did not come close to addressing, the chronology nevertheless would apparently form the basis for Lantos’s 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 initially 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, 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. .
The Barrett Chronology, along with Inquiry Document, which discusses Barrett at pages 1,18-19, 23-25, 28, 30-32, 36-37, 41-42, 47,[i] 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. See the July 27, 2008 document available on the Prosecutorial Misconduct page styled “The Responsibility of Independent Counsel Arlin M. Adams for the Appointment of Independent Counsel David M. Barrett” (Barrett Appointment).
Aspects of my connection to these matters is reflected elsewhere on this site, especially Section B.1 of the Prosecutorial Misconduct page (Prosecutorial Misconduct in US v Dean) and the affidavit referenced there (Scanlan Aff). Nevertheless, since this page may be read on its own, the following warrants mention:
During the period of the Lantos Investigation, I was dating Deborah Gore Dean. For that reason, I was present at the hearing on October 13, 1989, during which it was revealed, somewhat dramatically, that Dean had been responsible for a particularly questionable 1988 moderate rehabilitation funding in Casper, Wyoming. This matter is discussed at pages 10-16 of the Inquiry Document. Also discussed there is the fact that Dean had resigned from HUD on July 2, 1987, and, though she stayed on for a time as a consultant while awaiting resolution of a confirmation process, there had never been a suggestion that she had any role in the moderate rehabilitation process after her resignation. Even Thomas T. Demery acknowledged that she had no role beyond the summer of 1987. As Demery had explained in a letter to Congressman Bruce Vento, "[b]y the fall of 1987, after Dean had left HUD, true reform to the selection process could begin and did so." Banking Hearings 1256.
My observing of the events of October 13, 1989, including the ease with which a funding was attributed to Dean, even though every member of the committee and every member of the press in the room at the time should have known that Dean was no longer at HUD at when the funding occurred, caused me decide to start developing some of the facts of the matter. That became much easier to do when a short time later HUD released the documents from Demery’s from word processing diskettes showing, among other things, his matching of moderate rehabilitation requests, including the Casper request, with persons supporting the requests.
I then created the Barrett Chronology and various others chronologies that are posted on this site and Dean’s counsel provided them to the Lantos subcommittee. I created the Inquiry document sometime later, after observing the May 23, 1990 hearing and various other events of 1990 that are described in that document.
[i]The page references may be inexact because annotations occasionally added to the Inquiry Document have altered the pagination a bit.