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Date: Sunday, August 25, 2002 11:26 AM

From the office of:
Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Fourteenth District, Michigan
Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee Dean of the Congressional
Black Caucus
Contact: Deanna Maher (313) 961-5670 Cell: (313) 737-7944

Ted Kalo, Judiciary Committee

(202) 225-6906

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 2002

CONYERS QUESTIONS DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ON USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS


FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES

Detroit, MI - Congressman John Conyers, Jr. has requested an immediate

investigation by the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency of the U.S.
Department of Justice, Asa Hutchinson, of DEA's possible misuse of federal
funds without proper authorization by Congress and in contravention of
existing law.. Conyers said: "It appears that the DEA has been actively
engaged across the country in collaboration with groups who are opposed to
ballot proposals involving reform of our drug laws. Michigan is one of the
states which will have a proposal of this kind on its November ballot.
Citizens opposed to this kind of ballot initiative clearly are permitted
to campaign and lobby in support of their point of view in an effort to
win public support for their position.

This is what our democracy is all about. But it is far from clear whether

federally funded agencies and their employees can be used to spread a
message or promote a campaign for or against a ballot initiative, on
federal property and on government time."

"The use of our local DEA office by those opposed to the Drug Reform

ballot initiative seems clearly in violation of Section 601 of Public Law
107-77 (November 28, 2001), which clearly states that no part of any
appropriation for DEA can be used for 'publicity or propaganda purposes'
not authorized by Congress".

"I am concerned that DEA has actively been involved in a campaign, both

locally and nationally, to oppose drug reform proposals which have been
properly and legally put before the citizens of this state for their
approval or rejection. There seems little doubt that the appropriations
for DEA are specifically prohibited from being used for this purpose.

This apparently unlawful involvement of the DEA to promote a political

agenda must cease immediately. We cannot allow the integrity of our
national government to be compromised for any purpose, regardless of the
intent of these over zealous federal activists. I am shocked that judges
in violation of their Canon of Ethics would participate as well."
--

The DEA's page in question is at

http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/ongoing/legalization.html

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