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Mr. BREWER. One of the Commissioners said I almost overdid it in keeping them informed, and I am sorry that Commissioner isn't here at this moment, but I can give you his name and I'm sure he'll come and testify to that effect.
There was no effort at any time to keep anyone in the dark in this case, and it was thoroughly and carefully explored, and on two different occasions during negotiations I invited Senator Allott to be my guest in the Commissioners' dining room where the Commissioners were present, and no one else, just the Commissioners and Senator Allott, and they all got a chance to be acquainted with him. They knew that we were negotiating. They knew what the salary was going to be, they knew the amount that was set forth in this correspondence I gave you before lunch, and every Commissioner, as far as I know, was aware of what was going on.
Mr. POWERS. And you say they did so meet with Mr. Allott?
Mr. BREWER. At luncheon, at a luncheon engagement he was my guest in the executive dining room on two occasions.
Mr. POWERS. But you did not consider that a negotiating session. Mr. BREWER. No, sir.
Mr. POWERS. Did you have any other sessions that you didn't construe as a negotiating session?
What I am concerned about is we asked for the attendance at negotiating sessions and none of the other Commissioners appeared on that list.
If it is strictly construed, your luncheon session was not a negotiating session.
Mr. BREWER. There was no business transacted at luncheon. He was a guest. I wanted them to meet him to evaluate him so we could talk later about it. There was no mention of this case at all. We were very specific about that, very cautious.
Mr. POWERS. So there have only been three documents, then, in connection with the proceedings to employ special counsel, mencing in March 1972, and then there was a void until May 11, 1972, and then a further void until February of this year.
Is that correct?
Mr. BREWER. With the exception that I kept the chairman informed of every draft of every contract that there was. And I remember there was a hiatus in there when we were negotiating with the Congressman for so many months, but there was no progress to be made except verbally we're still talking, that we hope we're going to get him.
Mr. POWERS. Did you receive during the course of this time any memorandums or other written communiques form your fellow Commissioners?
Mr. BREWER. No, sir. I asked on a number of occasions, written and otherwise, to please supply me with names of people who could be considered for this job.
Mr. DINGELL. Did you communicate with any of the committees in Congress or any of the Members of Congress, either the Commissioners or you, Commissioner Brewer, with regard to this particular contract?
Mr. BREWER. I did not personally, but, let me say, if I may use hearsay in this—I recognize I'm not a lawyer but I recognize what is hearsay evidence.
Senator Allott told me and I have no reason to doubt that he conferred with Senator Norris Cotton and Senator Norris Cotton gave him complete approval. He conferred with Senator Proxmire, and Mr. Proxmire gave him approval. He conferred—he didn't-Senator Norris Cotton, I believe, conferred with Senator Magnuson and got his approval, and I'll ask the chairman now to testify about a conversation he had with Chairman Staggers.
Mr. STAFFORD. I called the chairman of our substantive committee to tell him that we did have Mr. Allott under very definite consideration, and asked if he had any objections, and his answer was no, he was a fine gentleman, and he would be happy to have him-well, no, he didn't. He said he is a fine gentleman and I approve of your choice.
Mr. DINGELL. Well, I, as you are well aware, am a senior member of that particular committee. I'm a senior member of the Transportation Subcommittee, and the first I ever saw of this was when I read it in the papers. Another colleague of mine who joined me in correspondence to you, Mr. Chairman, also became aware of it through the newspapers, and called me long distance in Detroit, Mich.
Mr. STAFFORD. I stand reproved on that, sir.
Mr. DINGELL. Well, the thing about which I find myself curious is, doesn't it strike you to be really a good kind of procedure if you keep your substantive committees informed when you do something of this
You are keenly aware of my long interest in the problem. As a matter of fact, some of the rate work that you are doing now is in large part related to the fact that I demanded that you folks do this kind of thing.
Mr. STAFFORD. That's right.
Mr. DinGELL. Largely to the exclusion of the Department of Transportation, which has been elbowing further and further into your affairs over my protest. I don't think they ought to be in this economic rate policy business at all. But this, gentlemen, is not criticism. It is just a friendly comment that you do have folks up here on the Hill who are desperately interested in this matter, and who want to see that you have the authority to do the things that you want.
And I really think that this is the kind of thing that men who are on your substantive committee, not just the chairman, but other committee members, should be aware of.
Mr. BREWER. I think we stand corrected, sir.
Mr. PowERS. Do you have an extra copy of that February 26, 1973 memo with you?
Mr. BREWER. No, I don't. I just have this one here.
Mr. DINGELL. Without objection, the document referred to will be put in the record at this point.
[The document referred to is contained in Appendix A, page 177.]
Mr. POWERS. May I ask you why this matter of the contract involving well in excess of $1 million by the time you add in the extra studies, was not submitted for formal Commission action or an up or down record vote?
Mr. BREWER. Are you talking about the RMC or this one?
Mr. POWERS. Well, by the time you add in the special studies to be performed, we are dealing with $1.4 million.
Mr. BREWER. That includes RMC. That is two contracts, separate contracts totally. The RMC is $800,000 and some, and this is $650,000.
Mr. DINGELL. Well, in point of fact, the two are totally related. Mr. BREWER. Well, they are in a sense, sir, but if I may explain, sir. Mr. DINGELL. Sure. Mr. BREWER. The special counsel has no responsbility for the RMC contract.
Mr. DINGELL. But the Commission has very direct responsibility for both the special counsel and the RMC.
Mr. BREWER. That's right, but they were negotiated under two separate contracts, two separate times, and they're totally separate.
Mr. DINGELL. Yes, but the fact of the matter is they are part of a whole proceeding before your agency.
Mr. BREWER. Well, I would like to say to you, sir, that the RMC contract was voted by the Commission on a no objection basis.
Mr. PowERS. What was the dollar amount of the RMC contract?
Mr. BREWER. I'll have to see if Brother Fitzwater is here, but I think it's $575,000 up to now.
Mr. DINGELL. It is $884,000.
Mr. BREWER. Well, we intend to do that if we get the money we asked for the other day, but it is now at this time $575,000 or somewhere in that neighborhood.
Mr. DINGELL. Well, if you will yield to me, Mr. Powers.
I'm troubled. I get the impression that you view these as part of two entirely divergent and different matters and I don't so view them.
Mr. BREWER. Well, they will dovetail at the end.
Mr. DINGELL. No, they won't dovetail at the end; they'll be intertwined throughout. If the’re not, then you're not doing your job right down there.
Mr. BREWER. Well, the difference, if I may respectfully, sir, as I see it-and I can stand corrected as I see it—we are administering the RMC contract.
Mr. DINGELL. Yes; but the facts of the whole business, what Mr. Allott is going to do, his appearances before the Commission, the several studies that he may or may not undertake under the broad discretion he is afforded, and the RMC contract is going to yield, hopefully, data and information and procedural actions by the Commission that are ultimately going to lead to substantive changes in the rate structures, which are going to very broadly affect your responsibilities in the transportation field.
Now, if I'm in error on that, tell me, because maybe we'd better take a different look.
Mr. BREWER. Well, I agree. That's where we're coming at the end. Mr. DINGELL. No, they are intertwined throughout because Senator Allott is going to use, in his handling of these matters, the fruits of this RMC contract, is he not?
Now, I want you to be very clear, Mr. Brewer. I'm not leading you down any primrose path, and if I am in error on this, I want you to tell me because I'll take a very different view of this matter.
Mr. BREWER. I think you're right. I think you're right, and I think it is a matter of concept.
Now, your question again, sir, was, Why didn't the Commission vote on this $1,400,000? Is that right?
Mr. PowERS. Well, let's eliminate that question.
Now let me ask you this. It was necessary for the Commission to vote on what was originally a $575,000 RMC contract. It was not necessary, apparently, for a $650,000 contract for Mr. Allott to be approved.
Mr. BREWER. This is what I wanted to get to, and this is where I was trying to get at semantics.
The RMC contract, sir, was a competitive contract. There were seven or eight different bids. There was an evaluation committee, and I would like during the course this afternoon, to have the people who handled this bring you up to date on where it started back under Commissioner Walrath, and Fred Dolan, who is here, and then moved on when Fred became administrative trial judge, to Mr. Rhodes, who took it over.
All of these contracts were received. They were evaluated by an evaluation committee, and this committee had previously established certain basic criteria by which they would measure the capabilities of each of these bidders, and they met completely and apart and separate from me in one of the hearing rooms—I think they were there most of the day. Mr. Rhodes can testify more.
Mr. DiNGELL. This is on the RMC.
Mr. BREWER. On the RMC, and I'm trying to get to this, now, as to why they voted on that.
At the end of their evaluation, Mr. Dolan prepared a memorandum to me to circulate to the Commission which lists these bids and showed how they came out point by point, and asked the Commission on a no objection basis to approve our recommendation for the RMC contract, and nobody objected, so that was a vote.
Now, with regard to the other, as I conceived a sole source contractif I'm wrong, it won't be the first time—but as I conceived my role in this—and let me go back to refer you to my letters in which I said no Commissioner would covet this assignment because I think everybody knows, or at least all of us know the magnitude of it—but I interpreted my role as finding a person who would meet the profiles that had been previously described in considerable detail in a number of documents that I talked about this morning.
Now, once I found the man that I thought could do the job, as a recruiter, my job, working closely with the chairman in all of this, my job was then to turn this man over to the contracting people and the legal people to complete a contract.
Now, my point is that this was a sole source contract. I found the man. Every one of the Commissioners knew I had found the man. Every one of the Commissioners knew that we were negotiating with him almost on a two or three times a week basis, that he was meeting with the contracting officers privately, discussing contract. Now, there's a difference there between choosing between a number of competitors in a competitive kind of contract, and a sole source type of contract, in my opinion.
Mr. POWERS. But you did not advise the Commissioners of your negotiation with Mr. Allott by written memorandum because your memorandum under date of February 26 was the date the letter contract was let.
Mr. BREWER. That's right.
Mr. Powers. And yet you felt it was necessary by written memorandum to discuss with your fellow Commissioners whether or not Judge Friendly should be retained as special counsel back in 1972.
Mr. BREWER. Well, I guess
Mr. Powers. I just question how much they did know about this and then they did not have any choice about whether or not they were going to approve or disapprove.
Mr. BREWER. Sir, you only asked me if they approved or disapproved. You didn't ask me if they knew anything about it.
Would you do that?
Mr. POWERS. Well, they did not know anything from a written memorandum.
Mr. BREWER. That wasn't the question you asked, sir. You asked if they voted or did not vote, approved it or did not approve.
Mr. DINGELL. Well, the Chair is interested in being fair.
Mr. DINGELL. Well, Chairman Stafford, we will trust to see to it that you will communicate with the other Commissioners on your own behalf and on behalf of this committee, to communicate with us such other amplicatory matters as may make their answers fully responsive for the record.
Mr. STAFFORD. As to whether or not they knew that Senator Allott was being considered, as well as all of the other Congressmen?
Mr. DINGELL. Yes.
Mr. BREWER. Well, if I could, sir, I'd like to ask the chairman if he knew in detail.
Mr. STAFFORD. Very definitely, because we talked it over before the vice chairman ever went to talk to the Senator, and I followed it just as closely as I could with the other responsibilities I have. The vice chairman kept me advised regularly. I had no question in my mind at any time that we were proceeding properly.
may have asked if our lawyers were following it closely. I was advised that they were, and I have no question in my mind whatsoever about this.
Mr. POWERS. When the decision was made to go sole source, was this subject to a vote by the Commission?
Mr. BREWER. That may have been before my day because I came into it later. Mr. Dolan was here from the inception.
Would you like to ask Mr. Dolan that question?