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JUNE 14, 1999  12:25 PM
Human Rights Campaign
Pornography Debacle In Inhofe's office Showcases Hypocrisy Over Hormel Tantrum; In Light Of Embarrassing Revelations, Inhofe Should Apologize To Hormel For Placing Hold On Nomination
WASHINGTON - June 14 - The hypocrisy of Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., who objected to James C. Hormel's recess appointment as the ambassador to Luxembourg on "moral" grounds, was put on full display today as several of his aides were discovered to have downloaded large quantities of pornography off the Internet, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

"The sanctimonious, holier-than-thou veil was ripped from the face of Senator Inhofe," said HRC Communications Director David M. Smith. "In light of this astounding hypocrisy, we call on Inhofe to lift his holds on all nominations and apologize to James Hormel and the American public for letting his bigotry stand in the way of the nation's business."

Computer pornography was discovered during a systems check, according to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. The newspaper reported that there was such a voluminous collection of lewd and lascivious material that it "messed up the senator's computer system." A source told Roll Call that three male staffers were responsible. An Inhofe spokesman said in the article that "this resulted in immediate and appropriate disciplinary action being taken against those involved." There is no word on whether the staffers were fired.

Last week, Inhofe blocked all pending Clinton administration nominations because he was upset over the June 4 recess appointment of openly gay philanthropist James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg. Inhofe attacked the appointment with a blistering statement. "President Clinton has shown contempt for Congress and the Constitution," Inhofe said. "He has treated the Senate confirmation process as little more than a nuisance which he can circumvent whenever he wants to impose his will on the country."

Despite Inhofe's anger at Clinton over the recess appointment, the president has been far less likely than past presidents to exercise this executive power. To date, Clinton has made only 58 recess appointments, compared to 78 for President Bush over four years and 239 for President Reagan over eight years.

"Inhofe is unsuccessfully trying to hide behind Senate procedure," said Smith. "The fact is, he wasn't concerned about the 57 other nominees. He only became indignant when it was a gay nominee that received a recess appointment."

Clinton nominated Hormel in 1997 to serve as U. S. ambassador to Luxembourg. The nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last fall but had been stalled by several senators who raised objections to his support for lesbian and gay equal rights. The right-wing campaign to stop Hormel's nomination was led by Sens. James Inhofe, Bob Smith, R-N.H., and Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark.

The battle for Hormel's confirmation sometimes took unfortunate turns as right-wing senators took extreme and erratic stances to justify their anti-gay discrimination, according to HRC. In an earlier issue of Roll Call, Inhofe compared Hormel to former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.

Hormel is a prominent civic leader and former diplomat. He served as an alternate U.S. representative to the United Nations General Assembly and as a member of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. His supporters included Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del.; Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; as well as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Reagan administration Secretary of State George Shultz.


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