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Hastert: Wants meeting with Justice to negotiate congressional search issues.

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House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) in rare unity with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez they are developing guidelines on how the Justice Department can obtain evidence from House members--without violating the separation of powers provisions in the Constitution.

The letter from his lawyer............


Speaker's Press Office

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

May 30, 2006

Letter from the House General Counsel to the Attorney General

(Washington, D.C.) Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) today
released the following text of a letter from the House General Counsel to
the Attorney General:

May 30, 2006

The Honorable Alberto R. Gonzalez

Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear General Gonzalez:

Last Thursday, the Speaker and the Democratic Leader of the
House authorized the House Office of General Counsel to begin discussions
with the Department of Justice in order to establish procedures and
protocols that would allow you, consistent with the Constitution, to execute
a search warrant on House offices.

It is the duty of the Department of Justice to aggressively
investigate and prosecute public corruption. No one is above the law. It
is vital to the well-being of our Nation that corruption, wherever it is
found, be eliminated.

It is also vital to the well-being of our Nation that all
branches of government safeguard the Constitutional system of checks and
balances that were designed by the Founders to protect the American people
from the potential for abuse of power by a single branch. That is why the
Speaker and the Democratic Leader have instructed us to develop a set of
procedures that are consistent with the Separation of Powers principle and
the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution, while also assuring that
congressional offices are not used to shield anyone from legitimate
investigations of criminal wrongdoing. The House Office of the General
Counsel believes that we can do this.

We know that you and the Department of Justice share the values
outlined above, and we hope that you will agree with us that it is possible
to develop jointly a set of procedures and protocols that will pass
Constitutional muster.

We very much look forward to working with you and your
colleagues on this important matter. I hope that we might begin our
discussions as early as next week. In order to prepare for this meeting, we
have been developing proposals for you to obtain the evidence you need in a
manner consistent with the Constitution. If your lawyers are ready for a
meeting next week, please contact me at your earliest opportunity so that we
may move forward with this process as quickly as possible.


Sincerely,


Geraldine R. Gennet


General Counsel

cc: The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert

Speaker

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Democratic Leader

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 30, 2006 6:20 PM.

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