Time: Wed Dec 03 08:06:47 1997
	by primenet.com (8.8.5/8.8.5) with ESMTP id IAA10084
	for <pmitch@smtp-local.primenet.com>; Wed, 3 Dec 1997 08:04:52 -0700 (MST)
	by smtp03.primenet.com (8.8.8/8.8.8) id IAA01941;
	Wed, 3 Dec 1997 08:08:56 -0700 (MST)
 via SMTP by smtp03.primenet.com, id smtpd001889; Wed Dec  3 08:08:40 1997
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 1997 08:00:17 -0800
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Former 7-Term Congressman Takes Aim at Reno's Justice

>November 30, 1997
>Hansen Takes Aim at Reno's Justice 
>           POCATELLO, Idaho -- At a time when other former
>           seven-term congressmen are counting strokes on the golf
>           course, George Hansen is counting his teeth. He's missing
>           24 from his three stints in prison, along with all his
>           toenails.
>           Hansen doesn't sit on any corporation's board of directors
>           or manage his investments from a downtown suite. He lives
>           in a rented Pocatello apartment and drives a leased white
>           Honda. 
>           He doesn't hang out with congressional cronies or lionize his
>           career. Indeed, he's lucky if some of his former colleagues
>           even return his calls. 
>           A lot of people have forgotten about George Hansen -- the
>           flamboyant former Idaho congressman whose rocky
>           adventures with foreign policy, the Internal Revenue
>           Service, campaign finance and the federal prison system
>           dominated political headlines in the Intermountain West for
>           most of the 1980s. 
>           But he's back -- and leading a Utah-based group seeking an
>           investigation into the death of federal prisoner Kenneth
>           Trentadue. On the political landscape of the Intermountain
>           West, few characters stand out like George Vernon Hansen,
>           a Mormon kid from Tetonia, Idaho, who climbed the ladder
>           of political power only to plunge in a belly-flop of scandal,
>           financial ruin and imprisonment. 
>           He was George the Dragon Slayer, a moniker loyal
>           followers bestowed for his ceaseless battles with the IRS,
>           Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the
>           Immigration and Naturalization Service on behalf of
>           ``ordinary people.'' 
>           He was Poor Old Lonesome George, a title he gave himself
>           in a bawling 1984 speech on the House floor before he was
>           reprimanded for filing false financial disclosure reports. 
>           He was Globetrotting George, who went to Iran twice without
>           authorization in the late '70s to negotiate the release
>           of American hostages. He went to Bolivia to try to break a
>           constituent's son out of prison. He went to Nicaragua to tell
>           dictator Antonio Somoza that he had the ``full support'' of
>           the United States. He went to Taiwan and promised leaders
>           they would get equipment to complete their ``atomic
>           program.'' And he went to Kuwait after the 1992 invasion
>           by Iraq and declared the United States was ``overreacting.'' 
>           He was Unsinkable George, winning re-election in the face
>           of scandals that would have torpedoed the most adept
>           politician. Even when he was on the doorstep of a prison
>           cell, Hansen came only 170 votes short of keeping his
>           congressional seat. 
>           And he was Jailhouse George, serving four years in prison
>           for two separate crimes -- one that later turned out to be an
>           illegal conviction. In prison he went on hunger strikes, grew
>           an ``AIDS beard'' to protest the sharing of razors among
>           inmates, claimed he was repeatedly denied dental care, got
>           recurring bursitis from having his legs shackled all the time,
>           and pulled his own toenails out by the roots to avoid the
>           pain of hangnails from too-small prison-issue shoes. 
>           Back in Action: Although 67 years old now, Hansen
>           remains a Great Dane of a man with a bearpaw handshake
>           and a 6-foot-6 frame that, while never returning to his
>           pre-incarceration fighting weight of 330 pounds, would still
>           serve an offensive lineman well. 
>           He is only now emerging from a self-imposed hibernation, a
>           purposeful attempt to stay out of the media spotlight. His
>           release from prison last year after serving three years for
>           bank fraud, as well as the Supreme Court vindication that
>           he was falsely convicted on ethics charges a dozen years
>           ago, have all but been ignored in the mainstream news
>           media where he once made headlines monthly. 
>           ``It's been a real recess, but I've done it because I'm not
>           running for anything and I don't need to read a news story
>           to know who I am,'' Hansen says. ``I've had a little calm
>           because I've stayed out of these things.'' 
>           At least until now. His legendary firebrand demeanor may
>           be more like damp gunpowder today, but Hansen is back to
>           championing his trademark cause that made him and broke
>           him: An oppressive and excessive federal government
>           threatens us all. 
>           As head of his latest activist group -- the Salt Lake
>           City-based ``U.S. Citizens Human Rights Commission'' --
>           Hansen has placed 800 billboards and bus signs across the
>           country demanding justice in the 1995 death of Trentadue.
>           The U.S. Department of Justice maintains Trentadue, while
>           awaiting a parole hearing, committed suicide by hanging
>           himself from an air vent in an isolation cell in Oklahoma
>           City. 
>           The condition of Trentadue's battered body -- soaked with
>           blood and what appeared to be boot footprints and
>           high-voltage stun gun burns on his face -- has led
>           Oklahoma's medical examiner and others to conclude
>           Trentadue was ``very likely'' murdered by prison guards. 
>           Hansen's stark billboards in California, Oklahoma and
>           Washington, D.C., offer a $10,000 reward for information
>           plus harangue Atty. Gen. Janet Reno for perpetrating a
>           cover-up. 
>           ``Mr. Hansen's agenda is to expose and clean up the Justice
>           Department, and he sees this case as one of the most
>           striking examples of what's been going on,'' says Salt Lake
>           City attorney Jesse Trentadue, who has brought suit over
>           his brother's suspicious death. ``He wants justice for my
>           brother, and he has been awfully supportive of our efforts.
>           We wouldn't have gotten as far as we have without
>           George's help.'' 
>           Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has announced hearings on the
>           Trentadue case, and Oklahoma County District Attorney
>           Bob Macy vows to convene a grand jury. The national
>           news media have begun picking up the story: The latest
>           issue of GQ magazine features a detailed investigation into
>           the federal government's alleged cover-up of the murder. 
>           Hansen will be satisfied at nothing less than ``bringing down
>           the Justice Department and arresting the attorney general.''
>           Vintage George the Dragonslayer, he knows, but he says
>           this case cries out. 
>           ``I've always tried to stay on the side of the angels and the
>           right side of the law,'' Hansen says. ``My wife [Connie] was
>           asking if I'm cutting this one close, and I told her I'm on the
>           side of Sen. Hatch and the side of the district attorney and
>           I'm not on the side of a bunch of brutes and thugs who
>           killed a man.'' 
>           Hansen is no stranger to vitriolic attacks on federal agencies.
>           In the late 1970s he published To Harass Our People, a
>           scathing indictment of the IRS that has sold, according to
>           Hansen, a million copies. The book came out shortly after a
>           newspaper revealed Hansen had been delinquent filing his
>           income-tax returns seven times between 1966 and 1975. 
>           ``George has always been a giant battleship rowing out into
>           sub-infested waters without a destroyer escort,'' says John
>           Runft, the Boise attorney who has represented Hansen off
>           and on for the past 25 years. ``He fails to file his taxes on
>           time, so he attacks the IRS. In his heart, he's a good man,
>           but he doesn't watch out when he's on the offense. When
>           he's on defense, he's always good.'' 
>           The tales of Hansen's misdeeds are only matched by the
>           stories of his good deeds. He once claimed congressional
>           immunity when he got a speeding ticket. He once woke up
>           Pentagon brass in the middle of the night to demand they
>           release the body of an Air Force pilot killed in a crash to
>           the man's Idaho family. 
>           He once yelled at fellow House members, who were
>           rebuking him for not reporting more than $300,000 in loans
>           and commodity profits from a Texas tycoon, ``You ought
>           to pay me, not fine me!'' And he once tracked down a
>           mother's son who had disappeared after World War II and
>           was missing for 35 years, finding the man in Japan. 
>           ``Helping constituents is how I survived when everybody
>           was out to get my scalp,'' Hansen says today. ``I always felt
>           if a guy called me about his neighbor's barking dog, then
>           government wasn't working for him and he didn't know
>           what to do. I could have said, like most people, `Call the
>           damn mayor,' but instead I called the mayor myself.'' 
>           Hansen has an uncanny ability to connect with regular
>           people. They have problems, he has problems. Rapscallion
>           or raconteur, folks like him. 
>           ``Here's this great big guy who wraps himself around
>           people's shoulders, and he just never forgets a name,'' says
>           Perry Swisher, a former newspaper editor, public-utilities
>           commissioner and Idaho's resident political curmudgeon.
>           ``George has always been a rank opportunist. If there was a
>           chance to steal or mislead big time, George wasn't going to
>           pass it up. But he saw himself like some comic book hero,
>           Superman or Batman or Spiderman.'' 
>           Man of the People: His re-election squeakers
>           notwithstanding, perhaps the most stunning example of the
>           loyalty Hansen engenders among his southeastern Idaho
>           followers came at his 1992 Boise bank-fraud trial. After his
>           release from prison the first time, Hansen and an associate
>           were convicted of running an elaborate multimillion-dollar
>           check-kiting and bank-fraud scheme. Hansen took loans
>           from more than 180 people, promising big returns, yet
>           eventually wound up bankrupt and owing creditors $16
>           million. 
>           At trial, nearly 100 of the supposed victims of Hansen's
>           deception presented affadavits and petitions telling the
>           judge and prosecutors to lay off George. 
>           ``Now these were not dumb farmer types, but business
>           people who testified George was their political champion
>           and if he could pay back the loans, fine, if not, that was
>           fine too,'' says Runft, who represented Hansen in the 
>           criminal trial. 
>           U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge was flabbergasted.
>           ``The Court has never been in this predicament in its life,''
>           Lodge said at the sentencing hearing. ``Where people that
>           are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars have no idea
>           what they are owed. That they are willing to testify under
>           oath that they are willing to eat those losses. They feel
>           it's nobody's business the manner in which they make their
>           loans on a personal-loan basis. That they were not
>           defrauded. And they feel that it is inappropriate for the
>           court to consider them as victims.'' 
>           Lodge sentenced Hansen to 4 years in prison, less than half
>           what federal sentencing guidelines called for, because of the
>           mitigating circumstances. 
>           A funny thing happened while Hansen was again behind
>           bars. In 1984, he had become the first congressman ever
>           convicted under the Ethics in Government Act and had
>           done two six-month stints in prison in 1986 and 1987 as a
>           result. 
>           In May 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on an obscure
>           Michigan case, Hubbard vs. U.S., finding that the Ethics In
>           Government Act applied only to the Executive Branch, not
>           members of Congress. 
>           The Supreme Court ruling was supreme vindication for
>           Hansen, who had sworn all along the law was being
>           misapplied to members of Congress. Because of the year he
>           had served under the now-vacated conviction, Hansen was
>           released from prison on the bank fraud charge a year early,
>           gaining freedom in March last year. 
>           The government returned his $40,000 fine with interest,
>           restored his federal pension and said, ``Sorry.'' 
>           Hardly anyone noticed. 
>           ``With all the high drama that had accompanied his career,
>           there was an absolute boycott of any news about George
>           being vindicated or being released from prison,'' Runft says.
>           Hansen says if he hadn't been falsely convicted on the
>           ethics charges, he never would have wound up involved in
>           the bank fraud. Runft calls that ``George's
>           Devil-made-me-do-it'' defense. 
>           Still, the Idaho congressional delegation is looking into
>           sponsoring ``private legislation'' to force the federal
>           government to financially compensate Hansen, who sold his
>           homes in Idaho and Virginia and remains in debt over legal
>           bills. Hansen would like Congress also to reverse its 1984
>           vote to reprimand him, a move that ``destroyed'' his
>           political career. 
>           ``There's no question George Hansen was politically
>           maltreated,'' says Runft. ``If not for the conviction, he
>           probably would have won that 1984 election. It's like that
>           saying: `The saddest words of tongue and pen are justly
>           these: It might have been.' '' 
>           While Hansen chuckles that some southeastern Idaho folks
>           want him to run for governor, he has no plans for a political
>           resurrection. 
>           ``Around my house, my wife tells me, `If you run for
>           anything again, it'll be for your life,' '' Hansen smiles.
>           ``The trouble is, politics anymore is for the rich. I used 
>           to think you could offset it with some hard work and ingenuity,
>           but things have changed.'' 
>           And time has passed. He would never admit it, but George
>           the Dragonslayer may not have much more fight left in him.
>           ``People like me can thank God George is 67, because if he
>           was 37 he would be a force to be reckoned with in this age
>           of Rush Limbaughs and militias,'' says Swisher. ``It
>           personally p---es me off, because I'm 74, that when people
>           reach a certain age, they don't have the vocabulary of
>           leadership. Old f--ts cannot beat the drum.'' 

Paul Andrew Mitchell, Sui Juris      : Counselor at Law, federal witness 01
B.A.: Political Science, UCLA;   M.S.: Public Administration, U.C.Irvine 02
tel:     (520) 320-1514: machine; fax: (520) 320-1256: 24-hour/day-night 03
email:   [address in tool bar]       : using Eudora Pro 3.0.3 on 586 CPU 04
website: http://supremelaw.com       : visit the Supreme Law Library now 05
ship to: c/o 2509 N. Campbell, #1776 : this is free speech,  at its best 06
             Tucson, Arizona state   : state zone,  not the federal zone 07
             Postal Zone 85719/tdc   : USPS delays first class  w/o this 08
_____________________________________: Law is authority in written words 09
As agents of the Most High, we came here to establish justice.  We shall 10
not leave, until our mission is accomplished and justice reigns eternal. 11
======================================================================== 12
[This text formatted on-screen in Courier 11, non-proportional spacing.] 13


Return to Table of Contents for

Supreme Law School:   E-mail