Not Quite a Beacon

Senators grill Meese about possible conflicts of interest

The question sounded facetious. "Was there anybody who had either given loans or financial aid to you or your family who wasn't subsequently given a federal job?" asked Vermont's Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy. Laughter rippled through the crowded Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room. Presidential Counsellor Edwin Meese grinned. But Leahy said he was serious. Meese hesitated, then came up with a name: James Schmidt, a senior vice president of California's Great American First Savings Bank, which had loaned Meese $423,000 in mortgages and loans secured by houses in California and Virginia. Leahy tartly reminded Meese that four other officials of this...

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