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Former U.S. Attorney Edward Dowd cleared in inquiry

September 23, 1999
By: Clayton Bellamy
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - A U.S. Justice Department investigation into former Missouri U.S. Attorney Edward Dowd "discovered no misconduct" in his campaign to defeat the state's concealed weapons ballot issue. But details of the inquiry are being held under wraps.

The Missourian broke the story last March that Dowd wrote a letter on department letterhead urging law enforcement officials across the state to work to defeat the April ballot issue. Missouri's other U.S. Attorney, Stephen Hill, also signed the letter and was cleared in the investigation.

"The bottom line is that we discovered no misconduct in [the attorneys's actions]," said Paul Martin, spokesman for the investigating arm of the department.

Myron Marlin, department spokesman, said a Privacy Act review process has to be undertaken before the report can be released.

Dan Hubbard, spokesman for Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., said the department has prohibited the Senator's staff from saying anything about the investigation except that no misconduct was found. Some members of Bond's staff were briefed on the outcome of the investigation, he said.

Dowd was recently appointed chief inspector of the department's Waco probe, headed by former Sen. John Danforth, R-Mo. A condition of that appointment was that he resign as US Attorney.

After the Missourian published the story of Dowd's campaign in March, National Rifle Association members called Bond's office, complaining about the Attorneys' actions. Those calls and others from constituents prompted Bond to write a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno requesting an investigation. Bond's letter called Dowd's actions "troublng at best and illegal at worst."

"It is my understanding that current Federal law prohibits the Department from using its Federal appropriations for "publicity or propaganda" purposes not authorized by Congress," Bond's letter said. "I would hope that "publicity or propaganda" would include efforts designed to influence pending legislation."

Dowd's letter provided an 800 telephone number that the addressees could call to obtain lawn signs and pamphlets urging people to vote against the concealed weapons measure. Dowd's then-spokesperson, Jan Diltz, confirmed in March that department funds were used for the mailing and phone number.

Bond's letter asked Reno to determine the amount of federal funds used in the mailings and phone number. The prepared statement Hubbard was permitted to make said Bond's staff is not at liberty to discuss how much federal money was spent.

Congressman Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., also sent Reno a letter in March asking how much federal money the attorneys spent. His office has received no response from Reno, said Lara Kennedy, Hulshof's spokesperson.

"[Hulshof] would like to see the report public," she said.

The investigation of Dowd has moved the Washington Times and the Law Enforcement Alliance of America to call for Dowd's resignation in the Waco probe.

On March, 24, the Missourian published the 800 number. Members of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a Bellevue, Wash. based gun rights group, saw the story and flooded the number with calls. Dowd's office then discontinued the service.