Alexander Threatens To Cut Budget Of Non-cooperative Agency..


"Alexander threatens budget ax to get agency's cooperation
 He pledges to continue investigation into drug trafficking"
By  Maria Henson
THE ARKANSAS GAZETTE 
October 5, 1988

    WASHINGTON  Rep. Bill Alexander, D-Ark., is prepared to wield a
new weapon in his quest for drug trafficking information: the budget
ax.
    "If we don't get it through cooperation, then we get it by
intimidation," he said.
    Alexander has been trying to get assistance from the Reagan
administration for a General Accounting Office investigation into the
ways that information about drug trafficking by foreign officials
influences decisions by U.S. foreign policymakers.
    So far, he has been stonewalled.
    Tuesday he reiterated, with a threat, his pledge to keep pressing
for information.
    "I can promise you this  when we take up the appropriations, I
intend to investigate the  and the , as well the federal judicial
system, and all the matters that we've pursued," he said.
     He added, "If you can hold up their money, you can get what you
want."
     Alexander is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, the
key committee responsible for deciding on actual spending for federal
agencies and programs.

              Will garner committee support

    He acknowledged that he alone would be unable to hold up spending
bills for the agencies. "I have to have the support of my committee,"
he said. "I expect it will be forthcoming."
    If Alexander tried to affect the appropriations process, he would
do it during the next session of Congress, likely to begin in
January. Congress is busy winding down its business for this session
and has approved all appropriations bills for the current budget
year.
    The GAO investigation is focusing on possible illegal activities
by Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega and what U.S. officials knew of drug
trafficking to this country.
     The White House has said it won't provide information sought by
investigators unless the scope of the investigation is narrowed. It
has said the GAO request goes beyond the statutory authority of the
GAO, an investigative arm of Congress.
     Alexander has said the GAO also is investigating the Mena airport
and its alleged link to foreign drug trafficking. Drug dealers
allegedly operated at the Mena airport. A congressional committee
heard testimony this spring that the late Barry Seal, a convicted
drug pilot turned government informant, flew a cocaine smuggling
mission out of the airport in May 1984.

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