Washington (Apr. 8)
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D. Conn.) has been joined by three Republican and eight other Democratic Senators in sending a letter to President Reagan urging him not to cut the budget for the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI) which investigates and prosecutes Nazi war criminals in the United States.
The Administration’s proposed budget for the 1982 fiscal year which begins Oct. I would reduce the allocations for the OSI from $2.6 million to $2.4 million and would cut personnel from 50 to 45 professional staffers. The Senators urged that instead of decreasing the budget, it should be increased.
“Time is running out for litigations due to the age of both witnesses and defendants and it is absolutely critical that the casework proceeds as
swiftly as possible, “the letter said.” To prosecute these cases within such a narrow time framework the Office of Special Investigations needs both a financial and a personal commitment from the new Administration.”
The Senators noted that in the two years since the OSI was established, “The U.S. government’s past indifference to the presence of suspected war criminals within our shores has radically changed. By creating a special unit solely responsible for locating, investigating and prosecuting alleged Nazi war criminals, the Justice Department now has the ability to successfully pursue these cases.” The OSI has initiated more than 260 investigations and has 19 pending cases in the courts.
The Senators also recommended that Attorney General William French Smith “take a personal interest” in the OSI. They noted that his predecessor, Benjamin Civiletti, argued the case against alleged Nazi war criminal Feodor Fedorenko before the Supreme Court, “clearly demonstrating the priority and level of commitment that the Justice Department placed on prosecuting these individuals.”
Joining Dodd in signing the letter are: Senators Rudy Boschwitz (R. Minn.), Carl Levin (D. Mich.), John Danforth (R. Mo.), John Heinz (R. Pa.), Paul Sarbanes (D. Md.), Edward Kennedy (D. Mass.), Daniel Inouye (D. Hawaii), Harrison Williams (D. NJ), Howard Metzenbaum (D. Ohio), Claiborne Pell (D. R. I.) and Howell Heflin (D. Ala.)