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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 82164 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Special Prosecutor Provisions of Ethics in Government Act of 1978
Corporate Author: US Congress
Senate Cmtte on Governmental Affairs
United States of America
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 59
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Congress
Washington, DC 20510
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislative/Regulatory Material
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management presents recommendations on the continuation of the special prosecutor provisions of the 1978 Ethics in Government Act and amendments to those provisions.
Abstract: The special prosecutor law should be retained, since it guards against both actual and perceived conflicts of interest in the investigation of allegations against high-ranking executive government officials; however, these provisions have created inequities in the enforcement of criminal laws. Special prosecutor provisions have been used to subject White House officials to exhaustive, costly, and lengthy investigations, when the same allegations against an average citizen would not have been pursued. The restrictions of the present law severely impede the Attorney General's ability to dispose of minor allegations of dubious merit without petitioning the court for a special prosecutor. The coverage of the act is also flawed because it does not include members of the President's family, who surely pose a great risk of conflict of interest, while some officials covered are not in a position to influence a Department of Justice investigation. The Subcommittee recommends that the Attorney General be permitted to apply the written prosecutorial guidelines of the Department of Justice, which govern ordinary criminal cases, in deciding whether the appointment of a special prosecutor is warranted. The title 'special prosecutor' should be changed to 'independent counsel' to remove the pejorative connotation of the investigation. Further, attorneys' fees should be awarded to the subject of an investigation in certain circumstances. A total of 138 references are provided. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Ethics in Government Act of 1978; Federal government; Special prosecutors
Note: A report prepared by the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management.
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