Republicans call changes in House management 'a sham'

April 10, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- Over angry Republican protests, the scandal-plagued House has approved unprecedented changes in its internal management -- even as a federal grand jury indicted a former House employee on charges of selling cocaine at the House post office.

By a vote of 269-81, a near-unanimous Democratic majority yesterday authorized the appointment of a professional manager to oversee many administrative services and an inspector general to watch for waste and fraud.

Although the plan would give the House Republican leader veto power over the selection of specific officials, GOP lawmakers in some of the most acrimonious debate in years denounced it as "phony" and a "sham." As a sign of protest, 64 Republicans abstained on the vote for final passage of the resolution.

Sixteen Republicans and one independent joined 252 Democrats to adopt the changes, with only three Democrats lining up with 78 Republicans against it.

Maryland Republicans Helen Delich Bentley and Wayne Gilchrest voted against the measure.

Meanwhile, word of the grand jury indictment hit with explosive force during the House debate. It charged that the House post office was not only involved embezzlement of congressional funds but was used by the former employee to distribute crack cocaine and other illegal drugs to co-workers.

Wendell Magruder was charged in yesterday's indictment with conspiracy to obtain cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana and with distributing cocaine "in exchange for money and favors."

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