Detroit, MI - Congressman John Conyers, Jr. has requested an
immediate investigation by the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency of
the U.S. Department of Justice, Asa Hutchinson, of DEA's possible
misuse of federal funds without proper authorization by Congress and
in contravention of existing law..

Conyers said: "It appears that the DEA has been actively
engaged across the country in collaboration with groups who are
opposed to ballot proposals involving reform of our drug laws.
Michigan is one of the states which will have a proposal of this kind
on its November ballot. Citizens opposed to this kind of ballot
initiative clearly are permitted to campaign and lobby in support of
their point of view in an effort to win public support for their
position. This is what our democracy is all about. But it is far
from clear whether federally funded agencies and their employees can
be used to spread a message or promote a campaign for or against a
ballot initiative, on federal property and on government time."

"The use of our local DEA office by those opposed to the Drug
Reform ballot initiative seems clearly in violation of Section 601 of
Public Law 107-77 (November 28, 2001), which clearly states that no
part of any appropriation for DEA can be used for 'publicity or
propaganda purposes' not authorized by Congress".

"I am concerned that DEA has actively been involved in a
campaign, both locally and nationally, to oppose drug reform
proposals which have been properly and legally put before the
citizens of this state for their approval or rejection. There seems
little doubt that the appropriations for DEA are specifically
prohibited from being used for this purpose. This apparently
unlawful involvement of the DEA to promote a political agenda must
cease immediately. We cannot allow the integrity of our national
government to be compromised for any purpose, regardless of the
intent of these over zealous federal activists. I am shocked that
judges in violation of their Canon of Ethics would participate as
well."

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From the office of:
Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Fourteenth District, Michigan

Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee
Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus

Contact: Deanna Maher (313) 961-5670 Cell: (313) 737-7944
Ted Kalo, Judiciary Committee
(202) 225-6906

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 2002