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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 1966
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
The subcommittee met at 10:15 a.m., in room 2255, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Wayne L. Hays (chairman) presiding.
Present: Messrs. Hays, Jones, Waggonner, Nedzi, Lipscomb, Devine, and Dickinson.
Also present: Daniel L. O'Connor, associate counsel; C. William Tayler, assistant counsel; and Julian Langston, chief clerk.
Mr. TAYLER. Would you stand to be sworn, Mr. Vidal?
ALFREDO VIDAL CHACON, having been duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
Mr. Hays. Mr. Vidal, your appearance before this committee will be in executive session unless you request that it be in public session. Do you understand the difference?
The WITNESS. No, I don't understand the difference. Mr. Hays. If your appearance is in executive session, the public and the press will not be admitted. If you request a public session, the public and the newspapermen will be admitted.
The WITNESS. I will take the executive session. Mr. Hays. Did you receive a copy of paragraph 26, rule XI, Rules of the House of Representatives?
The WITNESS. Yes; I did. Mr. Hays. You understood under that rule if you wanted to you could be accompanied by counsel?
The WITNESS. I understand so. I prefer to appear alone. Mr. HAYS. Did you get a copy of my opening statement that I read yesterday?
The WITNESS. I don't recall. I wasn't here yesterday. (A document was supplied the witness.) Mr. TAYLER. At this point I would suggest that any other witnesses out there be given a copy of that in order to save the committee's time.
Mr. Hays. We will see that that is done.
Mr. TAYLER. Mr. Vidal, have you read the copy of the chairman's statement just furnished you?
The WITNESS. I took a general look at this statement.
The WITNESS. Relating to Miss Marjorie Flores-
The WITNESS. The opening statement. It is about this committee and about the findings of irregularities of the Committee on Education and Labor with regard to funds.
(189) 72–404 0467— 13
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Mr. TAYLER. You do understand what the opening statement says?
By Mr. TAYLER:
A. At this moment I am heading a new political party in Puerto Rico called the People's Party. I am the president of that party.
Q. Were you ever employed by the House Committee on Education and Labor?
A. Yes, I was.
Q. Were you ever employed by that committee during the past 2 years?
A. 1965, I believe, only 1 month.
Q. If I tell you that the payroll records show you on the full committee payroll from April 1 to April 30, 1965, does that refresh your recollection about the dates of you employment?
A. This was the whole month of April, more or less.
Q. Now, what position did you hold with the committee during that month of April?
A. It was administrative assistant.
Q. Prior to your going on the payroll, prior to your appointment on April 1, 1965, did you have any conversations with Mr. Powell about working for the committee?
A. Yes. I was coming during the month of March almost 2 or 3 days every week.
Q. Do you mean to Washington?
A. To Washington to talk to him because I wanted to come back to the committee.
Q. Where were you coming from on those occasions?
Q. Did there come a time during the month of March when Mr. Powell agreed to hire you on the committee staff?
A. He asked me that I was to be hired on the committee staff, provided that I come to live in Washington. My wife was in Puerto Rico and she didn't want to come to live to Washington.
Q. We are restricting ourselves now to the month of March. Did you do any work for the committee during that month?
A. I was coming to the committee almost two or three times every week.
Q. But was that solely to discuss-
Q. Discuss your employment?
A. Discuss my employment. Being that we have many cases in New York pending, I was trying to continue on the payroll here and work in New York because we have close to a thousand complaint cases in the New York office.
Q. In whose New York office?
A. In the committee New York office when it was there. We used to be at Lexington and 45th Street in the post office building for almost 2 years.
Q. Am I correct in understanding that you asked Mr. Powell if you could work in New York for the committee rather than in Washington?
A. Rather than in Washington; right.
A. He said that I couldn't do any work in New York because the committee was not allowed to continue operations in the New York area; that I have to move to Washington if I want to come into the committee again.
Q. Did you agree to move to Washington?
A. I was ready to move to Washington provided my wife would come to live with me here.
Q. But you went on the committee payroll on April 1?
Q. Now, did you make any travel on airline tickets purchased by the committee during the month of March 1965, before you went on the committee payroll?
A. I was coming two or three times every week.
Q. I show you, Mr. Vidal, a ticket on Eastern Airlines, the Washington-New York shuttle, coupons 1 and 2, indicating a round trip between Washington and New York. The first coupon shows Washington to New York on March 1 and the second, New York to Washington on March 4 in the name of Alfredo Vidal, and I ask you if you can identify that ticket as one that you used on the dates indicated for the travel indicated?
A. Yes; this ticket I get from the committee to go to New York and come back, and one ticket to go to San Juan, P.R., and get ready my wife to move into Washington.
Mr. TAYLER. That ticket will be marked “Vidal Exhibit 1.".
(The above-referred-to document was marked “Vidal Exhibit 1.")
By Mr. TAYLER:
A. In those days I was short of money. I had been out of the committee for a long time and I asked Mr. Powell that I don't have enough money to go back to Puerto Rico and come back—to go and come back.
Q. We are talking about a trip between Washington and New York.
A. Because I talked to him about it, my situation. He said, "I will give you transportation to San Juan and New York and see if you can arrange to come from New York.”
Q. This is before you went on the payroll?
Q. Do you know whether or not Mr. Powell knew that you were not yet on the payroll when he authorized the issuance of that ticket to you?
A. That I don't know. I don't know.
Q. When was it that you were told by Mr. Powell that you were going to be appointed?
A. Well, since March I was told that I was-
A. Before I used this ticket I was told by him that I was going to be appointed in the committee.
Q. Did he tell you when your appointment would be made?
A. I was supposed to start in the committee in the month of March, but being that I have things to do in New York and Puerto Rico, I couldn't come until April.
Q. Did you tell Mr. Powell?
Q. Did you tell Mr. Powell that before he authorized issuance of that ticket to you?
A. That I don't recall. I don't recall.
Q. Mr. Vidal, I show you another airline ticket on Eastern Airlines for travel in the name of Alfredo Vidal from New York to San Juan on March 5, 1965. I ask you if you used that ticket to make a trip between the points indicated thereon?
A. I used this from New York to San Juan. I used this ticket. On the remaining portion I may have used it
Q. I didn't hear that. What?
A. I used this ticket to go from New York to San Juan but the other portion of the ticket
Q. The return ticket?
A. The return ticket, I may have used it on some other airline because in those days I was coming back and forth from Puerto Rico constantly. In fact, I should say that in the months of March and April I made two or three trips to Puerto Rico and many trips from Washington to New York, back and forth.
Q. This ticket was also used prior to the time that you were appointed to the committee?
A. Yes; I was appointed in April and this ticket was issued in March.
Q. Now, who gave you that ticket?
Q. Will you describe the circumstances under which Mr. Powell arranged for you to travel at committee expense on March 5?
A. I told him that I have to go to Puerto Rico to see if I can move my family in here to Washington. I was short of time so he issued me those tickets to go back and forth. Apparently I was supposed to pay these tickets back to the committee when I started to work.
Q. You say "apparently." Did you have an understanding with anyone on the committee, or with Mr. Powell, that you would reimburse the Government for the price of that ticket?
A. I told him that if I start to work I will arrange for to pay these tickets.
Q. As a matter of fact, you did go on the committee payroll on April 1?