Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kc Officials Are Called `Gagged' on Whitewater Lawmaker Accuses Washington Rtc Office

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kc Officials Are Called `Gagged' on Whitewater Lawmaker Accuses Washington Rtc Office

Article excerpt

Officials of the Resolution Trust Corp. office in Kansas City "are being gagged and possibly coerced" on the subject of the Whitewater affair by their superiors in Washington, Rep. James A. Leach, R-Iowa, charged Friday.

Leach made the allegation in a letter to special counsel Robert Fiske in which he argued for the need for congressional hearings on Whitewater. But in a breakfast meeting with reporters, Leach would present no proof of his allegations.

Leach said he would agree to delay hearings to give Fiske a chance to interview witnesses first. Fiske has said that hearings could damage his investigation.

In the letter, Leach said Fiske had been premature in saying the White House had cooperated in the investigation.

". . . There are indications to the contrary," he wrote. "I am particularly concerned that officials of the Kansas City RTC office are being gagged and possibly coerced by the Washington RTC office."

An RTC spokesman said he was unaware of any coercion and said Leach had not brought the allegations to the agency's attention.

At the breakfast meeting with reporters, Leach said that finding out what happened in Kansas City was a "central issue" and "a higher priority than Washington." He would not detail his allegations, nor release a copy of a memorandum he said he had sent to Fiske with more specifics.

"I want to give the special counsel first crack," he said. Leach added that he thought it was important for Fiske to "intervene and protect" employees in the office.

Four of the witnesses Leach has said he wants to subpoena are investigators in the Kansas City office. The Post-Dispatch reached two of the four; both declined to comment on Leach's concerns or on how the RTC has handled the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan inquiry.

But The Washington Post quoted agency sources as saying that debate in the Kansas City office began last fall and continued as the Whitewater matter intensified. …

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