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The Trouble With Rostenkowski – North Korea Thumbs Its Nose – A Well Planned Attack – May 31, 1994

Dan Rostenkowski
Dan Rostenkowski – Waiting for the wheel to spin, the shoes to drop.

May 31, 1994 – CBS World News Roundup – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

If you were Dan Rostenkowski this would be a nail-biting day. Rostenkowski, 68, was charged in a 17-count indictment with engaging in a pattern of corruption that spanned nearly all of his 36 years in Congress. He was accused of illegally exchanging postage stamps for cash at the House Post Office. He was charged with using government employees to run personal errands for him. He was accused of pocketing federal funds and campaign money. And he was charged with using merchandise in the House Stationery Store as gifts to friends and constituents.

On this day, Rostenkowski said he wouldn’t plead guilty to anything because he “hasn’t done anything wrong” and he vowed to clear his name in court. The indictment was expected to be handed in sometime after this broadcast came on. A felony indictment would force Rostenkowski to step down as Chairman of the House Ways And Means Committee, but he said he would run for a 19th term in November and he said he was looking forward to a return of the gavel once he was vindicated. For the moment, it was a flurry of spin in an attempt to lessen the potential political minefield this scandal represented.

Overseas, news from North Korea that the UN had handed the Pyongyang regime a “one last chance” warning that if it was refusing to cooperate with Nuclear inspectors it would risk action that could include economic sanctions. North Korea wasn’t impressed with the threat and retorted that if the UN wanted North Korea to comply, then the U.S. needed to give up its policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn remarked that perhaps it was time for the U.S. and its allies to consider a military buildup for a possible war with North Korea.

And what had been determined as a “well planned attack” on former Nation of Islam spokesman Khalid Abdul Muhammed, police disclosed they found three more weapons tied to the suspect, former Nation of Islam Minister James Bess. Riverside California Police Chief Ken Fornier said a rifle with high powered scope was found in the trunk of Bess’s car and two additional 9mm handguns that were loaded and in a backpack belonging to Bess and left at the scene of the attack. Both Bess and Muhammed were fired from their positions at the Nation Of Islam and there was one report that Muhammed carried out Bess’s firing, but at the behest of Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam leader. Police were not ruling out a conspiracy to assassinate several prominent figures.

And while shoes are waiting to drop on Capitol Hill over Dan Rostenkowski, that’s just a small slice of what happened, this May 31st in 1994 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.

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