Additional Views of Hon. Thomas Lantos

Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians

Report House of Representatives
104th Congress, 2nd Session, Union Calendar No. 395
August 2, 1996


    I welcome the dissenting views on the majority report, which I have 
signed with a large number of my colleagues. That statement points out 
clearly the many serious deficiencies of the majority report.
    One issue, which is completely ignored in the majority report but 
which was raised at the time of the original hearings and which is 
raised in the dissenting views which I have signed, is the issue of the 
highly questionable involvement of an outside interest group--the 
National Rifle Association--in the investigation which preceded the 
    It is my view that this issue deserves greater attention and 
investigation. The active involvement of an outside organization in a 
subcommittee investigation raises the most fundamental questions about 
the integrity of the entire investigation, and the failure to address 
this important matter is a fundamental flaw of the majority report.
    The outside organization--the National Rifle Association (NRA)--is 
not a disinterested third party. That organization and its leaders have 
made it clear that they had a particular point of view on the matters 
being considered by the subcommittee. Members of the subcommittee 
repeatedly urged the chairman of the subcommittee to investigate these 
matters, and the chairman has repeatedly refused to do so. In the 
interest of fairness and integrity, it is important that these issues be 
made part of this report.
    The first matter is the subcommittee majority's use of outside 
``experts'' to test firearms. These ``experts'' were contracted for and 
paid for (at a cost of some $25,000) by the National Rifle Association. 
Furthermore, the chairman of the subcommittee and members of the 
majority staff initially tried to cover-up the involvement of the 
National Rifle Association, and majority staff even refused to identify 
to officials of the U.S. Department of Justice the name of the outside 
advocacy group which selected and paid for the outside experts. 
Furthermore, in conversation with Justice Department officials, majority 
staff admitted that the so-called ``experts'' in fact had no expertise 
whatsoever in firearms testing. Later, during the course of the hearings 
the involvement of the National Rifle Association in this case did 
become public.
    The second issue is the matter of an employee of the National Rifle 
Association identifying herself as a member of the subcommittee staff to 
at least one individual who was called to testify before the 
subcommittee. Furthermore, two witnesses testified under oath during the 
hearings that they were contacted by an employee of the National Rifle 
Association prior to testifying at the hearing. This raises serious 
questions about witness tampering. Again this issue was not investigated 
by the subcommittee chairman and is not dealt with in the majority 
    Both of these instances regarding the involvement of the National 
Rifle Association in the congressional hearing and investigative process 
not only raise questions about the ethical behavior of the majority 
staff, but also may be a violation of the law. This issue was raised in 
a July 17, 1995, letter from Congressman John Conyers, Jr., and 
Congressman Charles E. Schumer to the chairman of the Judiciary 
Committee and the chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight 
Committee. The instances of the National Rifle Association providing 
valuable services to the subcommittee may have violated the law and the 
Rules of the House. This issue should have been investigated and 
resolved. It was not.
    The refusal of the subcommittee chairman and the majority to 
investigate these issues fully and openly--despite repeated requests by 
me and other Members who participated in the hearings--raises the most 
fundamental questions about the integrity of the majority report as well 
as the hearing and investigation conducted by the subcommittee.
                                                    Hon. Tom Lantos.    

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.