End of speech-fees investigation smoothes way for Holbrooke job

May 05, 1999|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- The State Department's inspector general said yesterday that she had cleared Richard C. Holbrooke, President Clinton's nominee as chief U.S. diplomat to the United Nations, after an investigation of speaking fees that he accepted while he was an unpaid White House envoy to the Balkans.

The decision to close the investigation removed a roadblock from Senate confirmation of Holbrooke, whose nomination to the U.N. post has been stalled for months.

But congressional officials said Sen. Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, would not allow the nomination to advance until the Senate had received a variety of internal documents from the Justice Department about an earlier ethics investigation of Holbrooke.

The first investigation delayed Holbrooke's nomination by eight months and ended with his agreement in February to pay $5,000 to settle civil charges that he had violated lobbying laws.

He denied wrongdoing at the time of the settlement.

Pub Date: 5/05/99

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