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The Justice Department said today it is mulling whether to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Transportation Secretary Federico Pena for his role in awarding a Los Angeles transit system contract to his former management company. Pena would be the fourth member of President Clinton's cabinet to face inquiries into allegations of financial improprieties. Former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, HUD's Henry Cisneros and Ron Brown at Commerce are facing other probes concerning possible financial conflicts. Justice has 30 days to decide whether to appoint an independent counsel.