WASHINGTON - A Georgia congressman has asked the House Judiciary Committee to consider opening an impeachment inquiry of President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.
Rep. Bob Barr, a second-term Republican and former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, made his request in a three-page letter this week to Rep. Henry Hyde, the committee's chairman.
"There is no question in my mind that the alarming pattern of abuse of the political process by this White House is unprecedented," Mr. Barr said in a statement released Friday.
"The cumulative effect of a series of systemic abuses compel the Congress whose members have sworn to uphold the Constitution to examine its constitutional role in matters of impeachment," he said.
Sam Stratman, a spokesman for Mr. Hyde, said the chairman had received the letter and would answer Mr. Barr "in due course."
The White House had no immediate comment.
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said there is bipartisan agreement that Mr. Barr's request "is on the political margins and won't be taken seriously."
House and Senate Republicans have been pressing Attorney General Janet Reno to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Democratic fund-raising activities, including major donors being invited to White House coffees with Mr. Clinton or overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom, as well as Mr. Gore's admission that he made calls from White House phones to solicit contributions.
But Mr. Barr, in his letter to Mr. Hyde, said an independent counsel may not have a legal mandate broad enough to deal with the "web of Clinton campaign-related scandal" that suggests "a comprehensive scheme to undermine the norm of lawful and ethical government process."
The House and Senate have launched investigations of last year's campaign fund-raising, and the Justice Department is investigating as well.
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