Democrats urge hearings in Abu Ghraib scandal

For Immediate Release:

May 24, 2004

Contact:Staff

Congress Daily

The top three House Democratic leaders sent a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Monday requesting he call for committee hearings to investigate the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.

Democrats have called for hearings in recent weeks, but Hastert and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, have declined on the grounds that Congress should exercise its oversight power only if the military's investigation is deemed insufficient.

"We request that you direct the chairmen of the Armed Services, International Relations, Government Reform, Judiciary, and Intelligence committees, in consultation with the ranking Democrats on those committees, to develop a coordinated strategy that will result in a comprehensive investigation being started expeditiously," stated the letter, signed by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The leaders also sadi they would support the formation of a select committee to conduct the investigation, as numerous committees share jurisdiction. A spokesman for Hastert could not be reached at presstime.