By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
In honor of Congresswoman Pat Schroeder's impending retirement next year after 24 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, her staff compiled a Harper's-like list intended as a testimony to her accomplishments (e.g., hours spent working for constituents: 78,000) and integrity (political consultants hired: 0). Parts of it were published by both of Denver's daily newspapers.
One category the list omitted, however, was Schroeder's interest in investigations. She is so well-known for her sense of outrage and her (shocked, shocked!) demands for somebody or other to look into this or that, that a Virginia researcher named his newsletter after her: Schroeder's List, which catalogues the ethical failings of the Clinton administration, echoes the Democratic congresswoman's persistent accusations of Republican misdeeds over the years.
Of course, long after the headlines disappear, the investigations plod on. Or not. What hath Schroeder's outrage wrought? Read on.
RESOLUTION TRUST CORP.
In August 1992, Bruce Pederson, a whistleblowing Resolution Trust Corporation staff lawyer, complained that his agency went easy on some savings-and-loan executives. In May 1993 he discovered his bosses had inspected his computer files. Pat demanded an investigation.
"This action can only be seen as retaliation against Mr. Pederson," Pat wrote to Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen.
"It was a rather quick investigation; the agent didn't spend a whole lot of time talking to me," Pederson recalls. "They concluded that it was perfectly proper for my supervisor to do what he did. It was sort of a whitewash. I think it was a joke."
NATIONAL GUARD The Outrage
In June 1994 Pat's office received a tip that some members of the Colorado National Guard may have defrauded the government by collecting unemployment benefits as well as their Guard pay. Pat demanded an investigation.
Such double-dipping in Colorado "could result in a loss to state and federal government of up to $1.8 million," Pat wrote to the General Accounting Office.
Pat's request was forwarded to the General Accounting Office's Education and Employment Division. "They tell me they've finished collecting all the data and will begin to analyze it soon," a GAO spokesman promises. "They hope to complete it in March of next year. That's a ballpark figure."
In the meantime, says Colorado National Guard spokesman Major Michael Yowell, the Colorado Legislature passed a law in 1995 explicitly permitting Guard members to collect unemployment benefits as well as their Guard pay.
M&L BUSINESS MACHINE CO.
Newspaper reports published in May 1994 raised questions about a federal trustee's handling of a Denver bankruptcy case involving M&L Business Machine Co. Pat demanded an investigation.
"It was okay," says the trustee in question, Christine Jobin. "I had to submit some reports to the trustee's office that I would have had to submit anyway. We file two reports a year, and I filed my September report a little early, that's all."
Adds Jobin: "With all due respect to Pat Schroeder, I don't think she understood what was going on."
DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT The Outrage
In November 1994 published reports suggested that DIA's concrete runways may have been poorly built. Pat demanded an investigation.
"I think we need to get to the bottom of it and find out if this is fact or fiction," Pat told the Denver Post.
"The results of that investigation were benign," a Schroeder spokesman concedes. "They found nothing."
BOB ENYART The Outrage
Bob Enyart, a Greenwood Village-based television personality who once described himself as "the nation's most popular right-wing religious-fanatic homophobic anti-choice talk-show host," angered pro-choice supporters in January 1995 when he broadcast a map to an abortion doctor's home on KWHD/Channel 53. He already had inflamed gays when he played the song "Another One Bites the Dust" while reciting the obituaries of AIDS victims.
"We've begun investigating the complaints, and the federal agencies are looking into legalities of the station and the legalities of the complaints," Pat's spokesman said.
The FCC sent Pat a response in March 1995. It concluded that Enyart may or may not have violated Federal Communications Commission rules--Pat's letter was unclear. It asked her to send on any additional information she may have. "As of today I don't see anything else that's come in," an agency investigator says.
"I remember she called a press conference," recalls Enyart, who two months ago moved his syndicated show to Indiana. "It made quite a bit of news around the country. I ended up doing fifteen interviews, and even a live interview with the BBC. We don't get much air time in Europe, so that was great."
CITIZEN MILITIAS The Outrage
In the wake of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City last April, attention focused on citizen militias. Pat demanded an investigation of the militias.
The militia movement "is an internal threat to our democratic processes," Pat said.
On November 2 the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime sponsored hearings titled "Violent Anti-Government Groups," during which it was determined that some anti-government groups were violent. A spokeswoman for the subcommittee says a transcript has yet to be prepared.