To the editor:
This letter is in response to a letter by William Hill published in the Deseret News on July 27.During every election, the opposition scrutinizes the voting record of the incumbent. Congressman Hansen is very comfortable with the way he has represented the people of the First District and he welcomes any honest examination of his record.
However, when I see an election-season increase in letters to the editor such as the one written by Mr. Hill, I think the public should be aware that they are written for someone's political purposes, often by a campaign worker having little or no knowledge of the issue, rather than someone with a genuine interest in the matter.
They are generally harsh, personal attacks on the incumbent, and they are always vague and non-specific in regards to the records they claim to be based on - bill numbers and dates are rarely mentioned - or they single out one positive aspect of a bill while ignoring overwhelming negatives.
Mr. Hill's letter is typical. He states, "Recently, an amendment was introduced that would have suspended payments to contractors who are wasteful and fraudulent. The amendment was defeated with the help of our first district representative, James Hansen."
There are over 8,000 bills introduced in Congress every year and as many amendments as well. Tracking down such an ambiguous claim is almost impossible. Since the congressman has a great interest in knowing his constituents' concerns, I attempted to call Mr. Hill for additional details. I could not reach him at his home, but interestingly enough, I found he could be reached at the McKay campaign headquarters.
As for Mr. Hill's allegation, on June 25, 1985, an amendment to H.R. 1872, the Department of Defense Authorization Bill, was offered by Mr. Hertel to empower the Inspector General of the Defense Department to suspend payments to a contractor if in his opinion, he found waste, fraud, or abuse, in connection with the contract. The Hertel Amendment was one of over 100 amendments to the DOD bill. It offered only slightly different language to an amendment already considered dealing with this issue.
The congressman is all for finding ways to root out defense contractor fraud and abuse, and that is why he supported several earlier amendments that day which addressed this same issue. The Hertel Amendment made the Inspector General prosecutor, jury and judge, from which there was no appeal and thus went too far - in effect, violating due process of law. It was defeated by a majority of both Democrats and Republicans.
Howard J. Rigtrup
State Administrative Assistant
Congressman James V. Hansen