RealNews

Ashcroft Criticized for Talks on Terror

Attorney General John Ashcroft faced sharp criticism today from Democrats and others over his decision to give more than a dozen speeches around the country in defense of anti-terrorism legislation passed after the Sept. 11 attacks. Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, told Mr. Ashcroft in a letter that he should either “desist from further speaking engagements” or explain why they do not violate restrictions on political activities by government officials. Mr. Conyers said that the speeches in defense of the USA Patriot Act, as the antiterrorism law is known, appeared to conflict with Congressional restrictions preventing the use of Justice Department money for “publicity or propaganda purposes not authorized by Congress.” He said they might also violate the Anti-Lobbying Act and its restrictions on grass-roots lobbying on legislative matters. Full Story

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