« PreviousContinue »
4. That an inordinate amount of travel by clerks of the Committee on Education and Labor is conducted on weekends between Washington, D.C., and Miami, Fla.; Washington, D.C., and New York, N.Y., allegedly on official business of the committee but leaving unexplained the nature, objective, or purpose of said travel.
5. That travel vouchers have been submitted by clerks of the Committee on Education and Labor certifying to their presence at a particular location on a specified date when, in fact, it appears that said clerks were physically present at other locations.
6. That expenditures from the contingent fund have been made upon vouchers submitted to cover the cost of telegraphic messages not properly chargeable to said fund.
This Special Subcommittee on Contracts is acting pursuant to a resolution which reads as follows:
Whereas, the Committee on House Administration is a Standing Committee of the House of Representatives established pursuant to Rule X, paragraph 1(i) of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and
Whereas, the Committee on House Administration is charged by Rule XI, paragraph 9 of the Rules of the House of Representatives with the following:
Auditing and settling of all accounts which may be charged to the contingent fund.
Employment of persons by the House, including clerks for Members and Committees, and reporters of debates.
Expenditure of contingent fund of the House.
Measures relating to the travel of Members of the House; and Whereas, there has been brought to the attention of the Committee on House Administration certain alleged irregularities in expenditures from the contingent fund of the House and in the employment of clerks for Members and Committees
Let me stop right there and say that that language works for Members and committees. It is the language of the rule and should not be interpreted in any other way. More than one may turn up, but it means nothing. It is taken exactly from the language of the rules, so please do not read anything into it
And whereas the Committee on House Administration on October 5, 1966, acting upon the information which it had received of the aforementioned alleged irregularities, authorized the Special Subcommittee on Contracts, on behalf of the Committee, to conduct an investigation and hold hearings concerning said alleged irregularities, and
Whereas the Chairman of the Committee on House Administration has, for the purpose of this investigation, directed that the Special Subcommittee on Contracts be composed of Representative Wayne L. Hays of Ohio, Chairman, and Representatives Joe D. Waggonner, Jr., of Louisiana, Paul C. Jones of Missouri, Lucien V. Nedzi of Michigan, William L. Dickinson of Alabama, and Samuel L. Devine of Ohio; ex-officio Chairman, Omar Burleson of Texas, and Glenard P. Lipscomb of California, ranking Minority Member of the House Administration Committee; now therefore
Be it resolved, that the Special Subcommittee on Contracts undertake an investigation of the alleged irregularities in expenditures from the contingent fund and of the employment of clerks for Members and Committees for the purpose of aiding Congress in any necessary remedial legislation, and
Be it further resolved, that any hearings conducted by said Special Subcominittee be held in either executive session or open to the public, and
Be it further resolved, that this Special Subcommittee file with the Standing Committee on or before January 9, 1967 a report of the results of its investigation.
A copy of this opening statement and a copy of paragraph 26, Rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives has been furnished to each witness appearing at this hearing.
Will you hand out a list of the people subpenaed, please?
On this list of witnesses you will notice the name of Charles W. Radcliffe has been X'd out.
The apparent discrepancy in travel and claim for subsistence has been cleared up, and there was no reason to have Mr. Radcliffe testify.
Mr. Michael Schwartz has given a deposition and has been excused to go on vacation with his father and mother, who is ill.
That is all.
The committee will now, according to previous resolution, go into executive session to hear the first witness.
(A discussion was held off the record.)
Mr. Hays. Miss Givens, your appearance before this committee will be in executive session unless you request that it be in public session. Do you understand what that is—privately, like now. Unless you tell us you want these reporters in, we will not let them
Miss GIVENS. No, sir.
Mr. Hays. If your appearance is in executive session, the public and press will not be admitted to the hearing room pursuant to paragraph 26, House of Representatives rule XI. Your testimony may not be released or used in a public session without the consent of the committee, nor will you be permitted to purchase a copy of the transcript of your testimony unless authorized by the committee.
As I have already told you, if your appearance is in public session, the public and reporters would be admitted, but television and newspaper photographers will be excluded.
You have already indicated you wish to appear in executive session.
Mr. Hays. Your constitutional rights will be recognized before this committee and properly made claim of privilege against self-incrimination under the fifth amendment will be recognized.
If you feel an answer might tend to incriminate you, you may say so. If you do, the committee will consider the claim and pass upon its validity.
Did you get a copy with the subpena of paragraph 26, rule XI of the House of Representatives, Miss Givens?
Miss GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. Hays. You understand that if you wanted counsel, you could have one?
Miss GIVENS. That is right.
SYLVIA J. GIVENS having been duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows: Mr. Hays. Proceed, Mr. O'Connor.
By Mr. O'CONNOR: Q. If you keep your voice up in answering so that all the members of the committee can hear you
A. All right, sir.
A. My name is Sylvia J. Givens. I live at 350 50th Street SE., apartment 12.
Q. At one time were you employed by Representative Powell for one of the committees?
A. Yes, sir; I was.
Q. Can you tell us the circumstances as to how you came to be employed by the committee?
Â. Well, I have a neighbor who lives two doors down the street from my mother. That is where I was living at the time.
She had spoken to Congressman Powell one day in the hall, and he had asked her if she knew of anyone that could do domestic and clerical work for him. She suggested that I go and talk to him. I went to see him, and he hired me.
Q. Who interviewed you at the time you went to see him?
Q. What were you told, in connection with your employment, were your duties?
A. I was told that I would work back and forth between his office and his home and that this was to be a permanent job.
Q. You were employed on August 1, 1966 ?
Q. Do you know whether you were on the full committee staff or subcommittee staff ?
A. I think it was the full committee, the Education and Labor. Mr. O'CONNOR. The records of the committee indicate that Miss Givens was employed on August 1, 1966, as an assistant clerk for the full committee.
By Mr. O'CONNOR:
A. Yes, they were. This was on September 6. I think that was the date.
Q. September 6, 1966, is what the payroll records indicate as the date of termination.
A. Yes, sir.
A. She told me that the Congressman wanted someone who could do domestic work when he traveled and also someone who could do clerical work when he was here.
Q. When you reported for work, to whom did you report?
A. I went to the Congressman's office, and I was supposed to see Miss Huff. She was not there, so I spoke with Terry Calabrese.
Q. Is that a man or a woman?
A. Then my job was terminated. This was toward the last part of the month; the last of August and the beginning of September.
Q. Were you called into the office about 2 or 3 days after you were employed, and told you were going to go to Bimini?
Ā. That is correct.
Q. Will you explain to the committee the circumstances under which that discussion took place?
A. I went to the Congressman's office and he asked me if I could be ready to go to the Bahamas on Sunday, August 7. I am not sure about the date, but I think that is it. I told him, “Yes, I could.”
Q. That discussion took place with the Congressman?
Q. Up to that time had you performed any domestic duties at the Congressman's house?
A. No; I had not.
Q. Will you tell us in your own words the circumstances of receiving the ticket and what you did after that?
A. Well, I think Mrs. Dotty Himes called my mother and told me the ticket was at the Congressman's office and I could pick it up at any time. I think that was on Thursday that I went to the office and picked up the airline ticket.
Q. From whom did you receive the ticket?
A. I am not too sure about that. Really, I am not. I remember that they told me it would be in the office and Miss Huff would have it, but she was not there and she asked me to wait because Mr. Stone was supposed to have it. Whether he had it, I don't know, but I think Mrs. Himes gave it to me.
Q. Did you have some instructions as to who would meet you in New York?
A. Yes, I was told a detective would meet me at the airport.
Q. Did anybody from the committee or from Mr. Powell's office travel with you?
A. No, sir, I traveled alone.
A. When I arrived in New York I waited at the airport, I think it was Kennedy Airport, for the detective, and he met me at the airport and from there we went to the Congressman's church because he was giving a sermon. From there I went with a woman, I don't remember her name, but the plane to Florida was not going to leave until later that afternoon, so I went with this woman to her home and I took a nap.
By Mr. O'CONNOR:
A. I got there for about the last half of the sermon. I guess I was there for about 20 minutes for the sermon and after that for another 20 minutes in his office.
Q. Who went to Florida with you?
A. This, I imagine, was about 1:30 or 2 o'clock in the evening; I am not really sure of the time.
Q. In the afternoon?
Yes, sir, we did.
Which, one, if you know? A. Kennedy. Q. Did you know which airline took you to Florida ? A. I am not sure about that. Q. When you arrived in Florida, where did you go, to Miami? A. Yes, sir. Q. Were you met by anybody in Miami?
A. There were two ladies at the airport. They were waiting for the Congressman.
Q. Did they meet you and the Congressman and Miss Huff at the airport?
A. Yes, sir.
A. They told the Congressman that a plane was waiting to take us to Bimini.
Q. Where was the plane?
A. No, they didn't go over to the plane with us. We walked down the stairs and outside and the plane was right there.
Q. Was this a commercial plane or a private plane?