ABSCAM - Sen. Harrison Williams

ABSCM - Senator Harrison Williams - lots of finger pointing and blood-letting.

March 3, 1982 – Today’s Word Is ABSCAM – Stripping Court-Ordered Busing – No Support For Reagan’s Spending Cuts

ABSCAM - Sen. Harrison Williams
ABSCM – Senator Harrison Williams – lots of finger pointing and blood-letting.

March 3, 1982 – CBS World News Roundup + Hourly News – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

March 3, 1982 – Forty years ago it was about Capitol Hill – ABSCAM, Busing and Spending Cuts. A lot going on in the halls of Congress this day.

Beginning with the ABSCAM hearings in the Senate over Harrison Williams and his role in the sting-operation. Abscam (sometimes written ABSCAM) was an FBI sting operation in the late 1970s and early 1980s that led to the convictions of seven members of the United States Congress, among others, for bribery and corruption. The two-year investigation initially targeted trafficking in stolen property and corruption of prominent businessmen, but later evolved into a public corruption investigation. The FBI was aided by the Justice Department and a convicted con-man, Mel Weinberg, in videotaping politicians accepting bribes from a fictitious Arabian company in return for various political favors.

More than 30 political figures were investigated, and six members of the House of Representatives and one senator were convicted. One member of the New Jersey State Senate, members of the Philadelphia City Council, the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, and an inspector for the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service were also convicted. The operation was directed from the FBI’s office in Hauppauge, New York, and was under the supervision of Assistant Director Neil J. Welch, who headed the bureau’s New York division, and Thomas P. Puccio, head of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Strike Force for the Eastern District of New York. New Jersey Senator Harrison Williams was convicted of bribery and conspiracy in the Abscam scandal for taking bribes in a sting operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Senate Committee on Ethics recommended that Williams be expelled because of his “ethically repugnant” conduct.

Also grabbing the headlines was the latest SCOTUS ruling on Busing to achieve integration in U.S. Schools. The Senate approved its stiffest anti-busing language yet; an amendment that would prohibit court-ordered busing of more than 15 minutes or 5 miles each way. And it would strip courts of much of their power to order busing for the purpose of integration. The measure passed the Senate by a large margin, but it’s fate in the House was murky at best with no vote expected anytime during this term.

And President Reagan’s Budget continued to run into trouble on Capitol Hill. Sources told Associated Press that the Republican leadership of the Senate took a confidential survey of Senate committees and found the support was just not there for spending cuts. In fact, the survey reported showed the committees were ready to spend about $10 billion more than the President wanted.

All that, and a lot more from The CBS World News Roundup – Newsbreak and CBS Radio’s Hourly News for this March 3, 1982

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