The Senate decided it was time to close a decade-old, $20 million (Ђ16.7 million) investigation of one of former President Bill Clinton's Cabinet members, years after Henry Cisneros received a presidential pardon.
The amendment to a spending bill, approved by voice vote, would require that the report of Independent Counsel David Barrett be made public within 60 days and the independent counsel close his office within 90 days after that.
Circumstances surrounding the Cisneros investigation are "all gone, but the independent counsel is still working 11 years later," said Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, a Democrat like Clinton and Cisneros, who failed this year to cut off spending for the probe.
Cisneros, Clinton's housing secretary from 1993 to 1996, admitted in 1999 that he lied to the FBI when he was being considered for a Cabinet job about how much he had paid a former mistress. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was fined $10,000. Clinton pardoned him shortly before he left office in 2001.
Grassley said Barrett completed his investigative activities in February 2003, and filed the report under seal in August 2004. He defended Barrett, saying it was lawyers of individuals named in the report, not the counsel's office, who delayed its publication.
The Cisneros provision would become law only with the agreement of the House of Representatives, which passed a different version of the spending bill, AP reports.