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White House aides testifying before Congress.

Although White House aides do not testify before congressional committees on a regular basis, under certain conditions they do. First, intense and escalating political embarrassment may convince the White House that it is in the interest of the president to have these aides testify and ventilate the issue fully. Second, initial White House resistance may give way in the face of concerted congressional and public pressure. This article identifies the instances since 1970 when White House aides have testified.

Even when the White House decides that aides shall not testify, other mechanisms may be offered for satisfying congressional interests. For example, the White House may suggest that the aides meet with a committee or subcommittee chair to respond to inquiries and respond to any written questions the chair submits. White House aides are also subject to deposition by congressional committees.

An example of a compromise arrangement occurred in 1981, when Martin Anderson, President Ronald Reagan's assistant for policy development, refused to appear before a House Appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding his budget request for the Office of Policy Development. The subcommittee retaliated by deleting all of the $2,959,000 requested for the office. In doing so, it pointed out that the previous heads of the office (Stuart Eisenstat in the Carter years, James M. Cannon in the Ford years, and Kennedy R. Cole in the Nixon years) had appeared before the subcommittee.(1)

Fred F. Fielding, White House counsel, offered legal grounds to support Anderson's decision. As a senior adviser to President Reagan, Anderson participated in the deliberative process by providing "frank and candid advice." Such candor "is possible only in an atmosphere that insures that the advice win remain confidential. "(2) These arguments are strained. Cabinet heads are also senior advisers to Presidents and are part of a deliberative process requiring candor and confidentiality. They nevertheless regularly appear before congressional committees, and may (as could Anderson) at any time decline to respond to committee questions and inquiries that jeopardize confidentiality. In many cases a committee is interested in specific facts and general policies, not in the deliberative process.

In his legal memorandum, Fielding said that Anderson "remains willing to meet informally with the Subcommittee to provide such information as he can consistent with his obligations of confidentiality to the President."(3) If he could meet informally, why not formally? Certainly informal meetings pose some risk to confidentiality and inquiries into the deliberative process. Advisers can fend off such inquiries in informal meetings and can do the same in formal hearings. After the subcommittee mark-up in 1981, Anderson met informally and off the record with the subcommittee.(4) After the Senate restored almost all of the funds, Congress appropriated $2,500,000 instead of the budget request of $2,959,000.(5)

Nomination of Richard G. Kleindienst (1972)

President Richard Nixon's nomination of Richard G. Kleindienst in 1972 to be attorney general precipitated lengthy hearings by the Senate Committee on the judiciary. Columnist Jack Anderson charged that Kleindienst had lied in disclaiming any role in the justice Department's out-of-court settlement of antitrust cases against International Telephone and Telegraph Corp (ITT). The Senate was interested in having Peter Flanigan, a presidential aide and the chief White House figure involved in the controversy, testify. However, on April 12, 1972, White House counsel John W. Dean III wrote to the committee that the doctrine of executive privilege would protect Flanigan and other White House aides from testifying before congressional committees: "Under the doctrine of separation of powers, and long-established historical precedents, the principle that members of the President's immediate staff not appear and testify before congressional committees with respect to the performance of their duties is firmly established"(6) Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr. made it clear that the Senate should not vote on Kleindienst's confirmation "so long as those fellows aren't coming up here and the White House is withholding information."(7) Within a few days the White House retreated from Dean's theory and Flanigan appeared at the hearings on April 20. Following committee action, the Senate confirmed Kleindienst by a vote of 64 to 19.(8)

Watergate (1973-1974)

The June 17, 1972, break-in of the Democratic national headquarters at the Watergate office building in Washington, D.C., led to the establishment of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. The hearings investigated not only the break-in but a number of other activities. President Nixon at first opposed the appearance of White House aides at congressional hearings. When asked at a press conference on March 2, 1973, why he would object to the appearance of White House Counsel John Dean, he replied: "Well, because it is executive privilege. I mean you can't--I, of course--no President could ever agree to allow the Counsel to the President to go down and testify before a committee "(9) Ten days later he elaborated on his constitutional reasons for not only denying Congress certain documents but for refusing to allow White House aides to testify:

Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the manner in which the

President personally exercises his assigned executive powers is not

subject to questioning by another branch of Government. If the President

is not subject to such questioning, it is equally appropriate that members

of his staff not be so questioned, for their roles are in effect an

extension of the Presidency.(10)

Three days later, on March 15, President Nixon further explained the constitutional basis for denying Congress the right to question Dean at legislative hearings: "Mr. Dean is Counsel to the White House. He is also one who was counsel to a number of people on the White House Staff. He had, in effect, what I would call a double privilege, the lawyer-client relationship, as well as the Presidential privilege."(11) He reiterated his position that members of the White House staff "will not appear before a committee of Congress in any formal session."(12)

On April 17, however, President Nixon agreed to allow White House aides to testify before the Senate Select Committee under four ground rules: White House aides would appear, in the first instance, in executive session, if appropriate; executive privilege would be expressly reserved and could be asserted during the course of the questioning to any question; the proceedings could be televised; and all members of the White House staff would appear "voluntarily" and testify under oath to "answer fully all proper questions."(13) On April 30, President Nixon announced the resignation of Dean and two other White House aides, H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman.(14)

On July 7, President Nixon advised the Senate Select Committee that he would not testify or permit access to presidential papers. At the same time, he relaxed some of the guidelines for White House staff. He directed that the right of executive privilege concerning possible criminal conduct "no longer be invoked for present or former members of the White House staff."(15) He also agreed to permit "the unrestricted testimony of present and former White House staff members" before the Committee.(16) Beginning on May 17, 1973, and continuing until September 23, 1975, a number of White House aides testified before the Committee.

Bruce A. Kehrli, special assistant to the president. "Presidential

Campaign Activities of 1972: Senate Resolution 60" (Book 1), hearings

before the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities,

93d Cong., 1st sess. (1973). Hereafter PCA. May 17, 1973.

Hugh W. Sloan, Jr., formerly employed as staff assistant to the president.

PCA (Book 2); June 6-7, 1973.

Herbert L. Porter, formerly employed by the White House in the Office of

the Director of Communications. PCA (Book 2); June 7, 12, 1973.

Jeb Stuart Magruder, former special assistant to the president. PCA (Book

2); June 14, 1973.

John W. Dean III, former counsel to the president. PCA (Book 3); June

25-26, 1973. PCA (Book 4); June 27-29, 1973.

Richard A. Moore, special counsel to the president. PCA (Book 5); July

12-13, 1973.

Alexander P. Butterfield, former deputy assistant to the president. PCA

(Book 5); July 16, 1973.

Herbert W. Kalmbach, personal attorney to the president. PCA (Book 5);

July 16-17, 1973. PCA (Book 17); June 13, 1974. PCA (Book 21); March 21,

1974. PCA (Book 23); May 5, 1974.

Fred C. LaRue, former special counsel to the president. PCA (Book 6); July

18, 1973. PCA (Book 23); May 28, 1974.

Gordon Strachan, former staff assistant to H.R. Haldeman. PCA (Book 6);

July 20, 23, 1973. PCA (Book 16); March 12, 1974.

John Ehrlichman, former chief domestic adviser to the president. PCA

(Book 6); July 24-25, 1973. PCA (Book 7); July 26, 27, and 30, 1973. PCA

(Book 16); February 8, 1974.

H.R. Haldeman, former assistant to the president. PCA (Book 7); July 30,

1973. PCA (Book 8); July 31 and August 1, 1973. PCA (Book 16); January 31,

1974.

Patrick J. Buchanan, special consultant to the president. PCA (Book 10);

September 26, 1973.

Clark MacGregor, former counsel to the president for congressional

relations. PCA (Book 12); November 1, 1973.

William H. Marumoto, formerly employed by the White House under Fred

Malek. PCA (Book 13); November 7, 1973.

L. J. Evans, Jr., former staff assistant to the president. PCA (Book 18);

May 28, 1974.

Rose Mary Woods, personal secretary to President Nixon. PCA (Book 22);

March 22, 1974.

J. Frederick Buzhardt, special counsel to the president. PCA (Book 22);

April 10, 1974. PCA (Book 23); May 7, 1974.

Gen. Alexander M. Haig, Jr., staff coordinator to the president. PCA

(Book 23); May 2 and 15, 1974.

Leonard Garment, assistant to the president. PCA (Book 23); May 17, 1974.

Lawrence M. Higby, former deputy assistant to the president. PCA (Book 23);

May 22, 1974.

Thomas H. Wakefield, counsel to President Nixon. PCA (Book 24); June 10,

1974.

Impeachment Hearings (1974)

Following the Watergate hearings conducted by Senator Ervin, the House judiciary Committee held hearings on the impeachment of President Nixon. Several White House aides testified at the House hearings.

Alexander P. Butterfield, former deputy assistant to the president.

"Testimony of Witnesses" (Book I), hearings before the House Committee on

the judiciary, 93d Cong., 2d sess. (1974). Hereafter Impeachment hearings.

July 2, 1974.

John W. Dean III, former counsel to the president. Impeachment hearings

(Book II); July 11, 1974.

Charles W. Colson, former special counsel to the president. Impeachment

hearings (Book III); July 15-16, 1974.

Herbert W. Kalmbach, former personal attorney to the president. Impeachment

hearings (Book III); July 10-17, 1974.

Huston Plan (1975)

On June 5, 1970, President Nixon called in FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, CIA Director Richard Helms, National Security Agency Director Admiral Gayler, and Defense Intelligence Agency Director General Bennett. President Nixon directed these officials to get better information about domestic dissenters. In a memorandum, White House aide Tom Charles Huston recommended a number of options (known as the Huston Plan), including illegal opening of mail, burglary, surreptitious entry, and other methods. President Nixon approved the operation and submitted the plan to the FBI, the CIA, and the military intelligence agencies for implementation. Five days later he revoked the plan at the insistence of the FBI director and the attorney general, but the intelligence agencies ignored the revocation and continued to carry out some of the recommendations, including mail-opening and surveillance.(17) Huston was called before a Senate select committee to testify.

Tom Charles Huston, former associate counsel and staff assistant to

President Nixon. "Intelligence Activities: Senate Resolution 21" (Vol. 2),

hearings before the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental

Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 94th Cong., 1st sess.

(1975). September 23-25, 1975.(18)

Pike Committee (1975)

On February 19, 1975, the House created a Select Committee on Intelligence to investigate the CIA and other parts of the U.S. intelligence establishment. The first chair was Lucien N. Nedzi P-MI). After a number of problems prevented the committee from functioning effectively, it was abolished and replaced by a new select committee, headed by Otis G. Pike (D-NY). Several White House aides, former and current, appeared at the hearings.

Henry A. Kissinger, secretary of state, but during this period he also

served in a dual capacity as national security adviser until he was

succeeded in the latter role by Brent Scowcroft. "U.S. Intelligence

Agencies and Activities: The Performance of the Intelligence Community"

(Part 2), hearings before the House Select Committee on Intelligence,

94th Cong., 1st sess. (1975). Hereafter "Intelligence hearings."

October 31, 1975.

McGeorge Bundy, former assistant to the president for national security

affairs. Intelligence hearings (Part 5); December 10, 1975.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., former special assistant to President John F.

Kennedy. Intelligence hearings (Part 5); December 11, 1975.

William G. Hyland, deputy assistant to the president for national security

affairs. Intelligence hearings (Part 5); December 17, 1975.

Billy Carter and Libya (1980)

In 1980, a special subcommittee of the Senate judiciary Committee investigated whether Billy Carter, the president's brother, had influenced U.S. policy or committed criminal activities in his relationships with Libya. After hearing from numerous witnesses, including White House Counsel Lloyd Cutler and National Security Adviser Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, the subcommittee found that he did not influence U.S. policy and was not involved in criminal wrongdoing. On July 24, 1980, the White House announced that President Carter had instructed all members of the White House staff to cooperate fully with the special subcommittee, that he did not expect to assert claims of executive privilege with respect to these matters, and that White House staff were instructed "to respond fully to such inquiries from the subcommittee and to testify if the subcommittee determines that oral testimony is necessary."(19)

Lloyd Cutler, counsel to President Jimmy Carter. "Inquiry Into the Matter

of Billy Carter and Libya" (Vol. II), hearings before the Subcommittee

to Investigate the Activities of Individuals Representing the Interests

of Foreign Governments of the Senate Committee on the judiciary, 96th

Cong., 2d sess. (1980). September 10, 1980.

Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, assistant to the president for national security

affairs. Same hearings. September 17, 1980.

Iran-Contra Affair (1987)

On November 3, 1986, a Lebanese weekly reported that the United States had secretly sold arms to Iran. Although the Reagan administration initially denied the reports, within a few weeks it was evident that the United States had sold arms to Iran with the hope of gaining the release of American hostages in Lebanon. On November 25, Attorney General Edwin Meese III announced that proceeds from the Iran arms sales had been "diverted" to the Nicaraguan resistance at a time when Congress had prohibited U.S. military aid to the Contras.

President Ronald Reagan ordered an internal investigation and then cooperated with an investigation initiated by Congress. He did not assert executive privilege. He told executive officials, including those in the White House, to assist with the legislative inquiry in any way possible, including testifying before Congress. Both Houses of Congress created special committees to study the matter and issue a report. Several White House aides testified at the congressional hearings.

Robert C. McFarlane, former deputy assistant to the president for national

security affairs. "Testimony of Robert C. McFarlane, Gaston J. Sigur, Jr.,

and Robert W. Owen" (Vol. 100-2), Joint hearings before the House Select

Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions With Iran and Senate

Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan

Opposition, 100th Cong., 1st sess. (1987). Hereafter Iran-Contra hearings.

May 11-14, 1987. Iran-Contra hearings (Vol. 100-7: Part II); July 14, 1987.

Bretton G. Sciaroni, counsel to the president's intelligence board.

Iran-Contra hearings (Vol. 100-5); June 8, 1987.

Fawn Hall, secretary to Lt. Col. Oliver L. North. Iran-Contra hearings

(Vol. 100-5); June 8, 1987.

Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, former staff member of the National Security

Council. Iran-Contra hearings (Vol. 100-7: Part I); July 7-10, 1987.

Iran-Contra hearings (Vol. 100-7: Part II); July 10, 13, and 14, 1987.

Adm. John M. Poindexter, former national security adviser to the

president. Iran-Contra hearings (Vol. 100-8); July 15, 16, 17, 20

and 21, 1997.

White House-Treasury Contacts (1994)

Congressional hearings in 1994 focused on whether White House aides had inappropriately learned details of a Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) investigation of the failed Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan. In March 1993, Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger C. Altman became interim chief of the RTC. William Roelle, an RTC senior vice president, said he briefed Altman that RTC had forwarded a criminal referral to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney in Little Rock, naming the Clintons as potential beneficiaries of alleged wrongdoing at Madison. On September 29, 1993, Treasury General Counsel Jean E. Hanson told White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum of the referrals. Other contacts took place between the Treasury Department and the White House concerning the referrals. Both Houses of Congress held hearings to investigate these contacts. Among the many witnesses were White House aides.

Lloyd N. Cutler, special counsel to the president. "White House Contacts

with Treasury/RTC Officials About `Whitewater'-Related Matters" (Part 1),

hearing before the House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs,

103d Cong., 2d sess. (1994). Hereafter White House/Treasury hearings. July

26, 1994. Regarding the congressional oversight hearings, Mr. Cutler

stated that "No White House staff witness has declined to appear"

(page 12 of hearing).

Lisa M. Caputo, press secretary to the first lady. White House/Treasury

hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

W. Neil Eggleston, associate counsel to the president. White House/Treasury

hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

Mark D. Gearan, assistant to the president for communications. White House/

Treasury hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

Harold Ickes, assistant to the president, deputy chief of staff. White

House/Treasury hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

Bruce Lindsey, assistant to the president and senior adviser. White

House/Treasury hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

Thomas F. McLarty III, former White House chief of staff. White House/

Treasury hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

Bernard W. Nussbaum, former special counsel to the president. White House/

Treasury hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

John D. Podesta, assistant to the president, staff secretary. White House/

Treasury hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

Clifford Sloan, associate counsel to the president. White House/Treasury

hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

George R. Stephanopoulos, senior policy adviser to the president. White

House/Treasury hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

Margaret Ann Williams, chief of staff to the first lady. White House/

Treasury hearings (Part 2); July 28, 1994.

Joel I. Klein, deputy counsel to the president. "Hearings Relating to

Madison Guaranty S&L and the Whitewater Development Corporation-Washington,

DC Phase" (Volume IV), hearings before the Senate Committee on Banking,

Housing, and Urban Affairs, 103d Cong., 2d sess. (1994). Hereafter Senate

S&L hearings. August 3, 1994.

W. Neil Eggleston, deputy counsel to the president. Senate S&L hearings;

August 3, 1994.

Clifford M. Sloan, associate counsel to the president. Senate S&L hearings;

August 3, 1994.

Beth Nolan, associate counsel to the president. Senate S&L hearings;

August 3, 1994.

Thomas F. McLarty III, counselor to the president, former chief of staff

to the president. Senate S&L hearings; August 4, 1994.

Margaret A. Williams, assistant to the president and chief of staff to

the first lady. Senate S&L hearings; August 4, 1994.

Harold Ickes, assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff. Senate

S&L hearings; August 4, 1994.

Bruce R. Lindsey, assistant to the president and senior adviser. Senate

S&L hearings; August 4, 1994.

George R. Stephanopoulos, senior adviser to the president for policy and

strategy. Senate S&L hearings; August 4, 1994.

John D. Podesta, assistant to the president and White House staff

secretary. Senate S&L hearings; August 4, 1994.

Bernard W. Nussbaum, former counsel to the president. Senate S&L hearings;

August 4, 1994.

Lloyd N. Cutler, special counsel to the president. Senate S&L hearings;

August 5, 1994.

Travelgate (1995-1996)

On May 19, 1993, seven employees of the White House Travel Office were dismissed with the charge that they followed poor management practices. Dee Dee Myers, President Clinton's press secretary, also stated that the FBI had been asked to examine the records of the Travel Office, suggesting that the employees might have been guilty of criminal actions as well. After the Republican victories in the 1994 elections, the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight initiated an investigation that included hearings with former White House aides.

John D. Podesta, former assistant to the president and White House staff

secretary. October 24, 1995.

David Watkins, former director of the White House office of

administration. January 17, 1996.

Whitewater (1995-1996)

On May 17, 1995, the Senate created a Special Committee to Investigate Whitewater Development Corporation and Related Matters. The purpose of the committee was to look into a number of White House activities, to determine matters such as whether improper conduct occurred regarding the way White House officials handled documents in the office of White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster following his death; whether the White House engaged in improper contacts with any other agency or department with regard to confidential Resolution Trust Corporation information relating to Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association or Whitewater Development Corporation; and whether the report issued by the Office of Government Ethics on July 31, 1994, or related transcripts of deposition testimony, were improperly released to White House officials prior to their testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking.

Mark D. Gearan, assistant to the president and director of communications

and strategic planning, July 25, 1995.

Sylvia Mathews, former special assistant to the assistant to the

president for economic policy. July 25, 1995

Patsy L. Thomasson, deputy assistant to the president, assistant director

for presidential personnel, former director of office of administration and

special assistant to the president for management and administration. July

25, 1995.

David Watkins, former assistant to the president for management and

administration. July 25, 1995.

Evelyn Lieberman, White House deputy press secretary for operations,

former assistant to the chief of staff to the first lady. July 26, 1995

Margaret A. Williams, assistant to the president and chief of staff to

the first lady. July 26, 1995.

Deborah Gorham, assistant to associate counsel to the president. August 1,

1995.

Linda Tripp, former executive assistant to the counsel to the president.

August 1, 1995.

Thomas Castleton, former special assistant to the counsel to the

president. August 3, 1995.

Carolyn C. Huber, special assistant to the president and director of

personal correspondence. August 3, 1995.

Stephen Neuwirth, associate counsel to the president. August 3, 1995.

Clifford M. Sloan, former associate counsel to the president. August 3,

1995.

William Burton, former counselor to the president. August 7, 1995.

David Gergen, former counselor to the president. August 7, 1995.

Thomas F. McLarty III, counsel to the president, former chief of staff to

the president. August 7, 1995.

John M. Quinn, assistant to the president and chief of staff to the vice

president. August 7, 1995.

Bruce R. Lindsey, assistant to the president and deputy counsel, former

assistant to the president, and senior adviser and director of presidential

personnel. August 8, 1995.

Bernard W. Nussbaum, former White House counsel. August 9 and 10, 1995.

Margaret A. Williams, assistant to the president and chief of staff to the

first lady. November 2, 1995, and December 11, 1995.

William Burton, former policy and staff director for White House chief of

staff. December 13, 1995.

Sylvia M. Mathews, former special assistant to the assistant to the

president for economic policy. December 13, 1995

Lloyd N. Cutler, former special counsel to the president. November 9,

1995.

Jane Sherburne, special counsel to the president. November 9, 1995

W. Neil Eggleston, former associate counsel to the president. November 28,

1995.

Bruce R. Lindsey, deputy counsel to the president. November 28, 1995

William Kennedy, former associate counsel to the president. December 5,

1995.

W. Neil Eggleston, former associate counsel to the president.

January 16, 1996.

William Kennedy, former associate counsel to the president. January 16,

1996.

Bruce R. Lindsey, deputy counsel to the president. January 16, 1996.

Carolyn C. Huber, special assistant to the president and director of

personal communications. January 18, 1996.

Bobby J. Nash, assistant to the president and director of presidential

personnel. January 31, 1996.

Jane Sherburne, special counsel to the president. February 8, 1996.

Dennis Freemyer, assistant White House chief usher. February 8, 1996.

Capricia P. Marshall, special assistant to the first lady. February 8,

1996.

Gary Walters, White House chief usher. February 8, 1996.

Nancy V. Hernreich, deputy assistant to the president and director of Oval

Office operations. February 13, 1996.

Helen H. Dickey, White House database administrator. February 14, 1996.

Mark D. Gearan, former assistant to the president for communications.

February 15, 1996.

Harold Ickes, deputy chief of White House staff. February 22, 1996.

Bobby J. Nash, assistant to the president and director of presidential

personnel. April 30, 1996.

Patsy L. Thomasson, deputy assistant to the president and deputy director

of presidential personnel. May 9, 1996.

Patti Solis, special assistant to the president and director of

scheduling for the first lady. May 14, 1996.

White House Access to FBI Files (1996)

In June 1996, the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight learned that the Clinton White House had obtained from the FBI hundreds of confidential files of individuals who had worked in the Reagan and Bush administrations. President Clinton explained that the request for files of people who were no longer with the White House was merely a "bureaucratic snafu" Critics charged that the White House intended to use the files for partisan, political purposes, searching for derogatory information. FBI Director Louis J. Freeh announced that the White House action constituted "egregious violations of privacy." Both Houses called a number of former and current White House aides to testify.

1. House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, June 19, 1996:

Jane Dannenhauer, director of the White House office of personnel security

in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush administrations, until her

retirement in March 19936

Nancy Gemmell, who worked for twelve years in the White House office

of personnel security.

A.B. Culvahouse, White House counsel for President Reagan.

C. Boyden Gray, White House counsel for President Bush.

Richard Hauser, former deputy White House counsel for President Reagan.

2. Senate Committee on the judiciary, June 20, 1996:

Bill Ray Dale, former director of the White House Travel Office.

Anita McBride, former director of the White House Personnel Office.

Mary Kate Downham Carroll, former personnel assistant of the White

House Personnel Office.

Graven W. Craig, former intern, White House Office of Public Liaison.

Ellen J. Gober, former staff assistant, White House Office of Legislative

Affairs.

3. House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, June 26, 1996:

Bernard W. Nussbaum, former White House counsel.

Craig Livingstone, director of White House Office of Personnel Security.

[At the hearing he announced his resignation, effective immediately.]

Anthony Marceca, former detailee to the White House Office of Personnel

Security.

William H. Kennedy III, former associate counsel in the White House

Counsel's office.

Lisa Wetzl, former staff with the White House Office of Personnel Security.

4. Senate Committee on the judiciary, June 28, 1996:

Charles Easley, director, White House Office of Personnel Security.

Mary Beck, associate director for human resources management, Office of

Administration, Executive Office of the President.

Craig Livingstone, former director of the White House Office of Personnel

Security.

Lisa Wetzl, former staff with the White House Office of Personnel

Security. Nancy Gemmell, former staff with the White House Office of

Personnel Security.

Anthony Marceca, former detailee to the White House Office of Personnel

Security. [He declined to testify, citing Fifth Amendment

self-incrimination grounds.]

5. Senate Committee on the judiciary, July 18, 1996:

Anthony Marceca, former detailee to the White House Office of Personnel

Security. [At this dosed-door session, he repeatedly invoked his Fifth

Amendment privilege not to incriminate himself.]

The above-named hearings do not include the annual hearings on the White House budget conducted by the Appropriations Committee& White House aides in charge of management and administration regularly appear at these hearings to support the budget justifications for the White House. For example, several White House aides appeared at the House hearings in 1995

Patsy L. Thomasson, special assistant to the president for management and

administration and director of the Office of Administration.(20)

John W. Cressman, deputy director, [White House] Office of Administration.

March 14, 1995.(21)

Jurg E. Hochuli, director, Financial Management Division, [White House]

Office of Administration.(22)

The same three White House aides appeared at the hearings on March 27, 1995, conducted by a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.(23)

Conclusions

The White House is usually insulated from congressional inquiry because of a long-standing comity that exists between Congress and the presidency. By and large, each branch concedes a certain amount of autonomy to the other. Only in clear cases of abuse and obvious bad faith will Congress insist that White House aides appear and give an account of their activities. The White House could minimize such requests by conducting its operations with integrity and good judgment, but the growing dominance in the White House of aides with little experience other than running a campaign suggests that future White House mishaps, especially during first terms, will remain more the rule than the exception.

Notes

(1.) U.S. Congress, House, 1981, H.R. 97-171, 97th Cong., 1st sess., July 9, 1981, p. 30.

(2.) Ibid., p. 62.

(3.) Ibid., p. 63.

(4.) Ibid., p. 30.

(5.) Budget of the United States Government (Appendix), Fiscal Year 1983, p. I-C5.

(6.) Wall Street Journal, April 13, 1972 p. 4.

(7.) The New York Times, April 13, 1972 p.

(8.) U.S. Congress, Senate, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Peter M. Flanagin, Assistant to the President, testifying in Richard G. Kleindienst-Resumed (Part 3), 92nd Cong., 2d sess., April 20, 1972, p. 1585.

(9.) Public Papers of the Presidents, 1973, p. 160 (1975).

(10.) Ibid., p. 185.

(11.) Ibid., p. 203.

(12.) Ibid., p. 211.

(13.) Ibid., p. 299.

(14.) Ibid., p. 326.

(15.) Ibid., pp. 636-7.

(16.) Ibid., p. 637.

(17.) U.S. Congress, Senate, 1976, H.R. 94-755, 94th Cong., 2d sess., April 23,1976, pp. 926--27.

(18.) The Senate select committee (the Church Committee) also heard from a number of former White House aides. On December 5, 1975, the committee received testimony from Clark Clifford, former counsel to President Truman; Cyrus Vance, former special representative of the president; and Morton H. Halperin, former assistant for planning, National Security Council staff. "Intelligence Activities: Senate Resolution 21" (Volume 7), hearings before the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 94th Cong., 1st sess. (1975). The committee's report on assassination plots indicates that other former White House aides appeared in executive session to give testimony. Robert H. Johnson, a member of the National Security Council staff from 1951 to January 1962, Gordon Gray and Andrew Goodpaster, two members of President Eisenhower's staff responsible for national security affairs; Theodore Sorensen of President Kennedy's staff; McGeorge Bundy and Walter Rostow of President Lyndon B. Johnson's staff: and Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig of President Nixon's staff. See U.S. Congress, Senate, Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, an interim report of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 94th Cong., 1st sess. November 20, 1975, pp. 5-5, 64, 111-3, 148, 156-7, 186--7, 246-54 (Committee Print 1975).

(19.) Public Papers of the Presidents, 1980-81 (II), 1982 p. 1420.

(20.) U.S. Congress, House, Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1996 (Part 2), hearings before the Subcommittee on the Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government Appropriations of the House Committee on Appropriations, 104th Cong., 1st sess., March 14, 1995.

(21.) Ibid.

(22.) Ibid.

(23.) U.S. Congress, Senate, Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1996.
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Author:Fisher, Louis
Publication:Presidential Studies Quarterly
Date:Jan 1, 1997
Words:5309
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