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Committee Fails to Act on Pair of Reagan Nominations to Arts Panel

September 24, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Senate committee canceled a vote Wednesday on two of President Reagan’s nominees to the National Council on the Humanities, with its staff director saying the panel lacked time to probe allegations against them.

″The committee has made no judgment″ on the nominations of Charles A. Moser and Anthony T. Bouscaren, said Hayden Bryan, staff director of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

″There’ve been some questions raised and we haven’t had time to consider them,″ Bryan said. ″We just don’t have a chance to delve into it.″

He said it would be ″hard to say″ whether the committee has effectively killed the nominations. These nominations will die unless Reagan resubmits them to the new Congress next year.

The Senate panel had been scheduled to act Wednesday on the nominations of Bouscaren, accused of plagiarism, and Moser, alleged to be a censorship advocate. The National Council on the Humanities reviews grant applications to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Bouscaren, a political science professor at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., interviewed after learning he apparently would not be considered for the post, said the allegation of plagiarism ″just absolutely dumfounds me.″

″There was an extensive FBI investigation in which all allegations about me were looked into and refuted,″ Bouscaren said. ″It’s extraordinary. It’s sort of McCarthyism in reverse.″

Moser, the administration nominee who critics accuse of advocating censorship, said, ″It’s clear that the whole thing is political.″

Moser, a Slavic languages professor at George Washington University here, said, ″I have political views on education that a large number of members of the committee do not agree with.″

The furor arose Tuesday when senators received a letter from People for the American Way, a civil liberties group founded by liberal television producer Norman Lear.

The group said the committee should postpone action on Bouscaren and Moser, charging that they ″possess neither objectivity nor fair-mindedness ... the nominees have demonstrated a hostility and intolerance toward diversity in scholarship, ideas and interests, that is central to the work of NEH.″

The letter, signed by the group’s chairman, John Buchanan, and its president, Anthony Podesta, alleged that Bouscaren:

-Plagiarized material on at least two occasions. The pair cited a review of Bouscaren’s book, ″The Last of the Mandarins: Diem of Vietnam,″ in which the reviewer attacked the level of scholarship and named four specific works by other authors that he said were plagiarized.

In addition, the letter said, the editors of ″Human Events″ recently said an article published in their magazine under Bouscaren’s name had, except for one paragraph, appeared earlier as an article by Walter Laqueuer in ″Commentary″ magazine.

-Was a member of the board of directors of the United States Council for American Freedom, the U.S. affiliate of the World Anti-Communist League. The letter cited a book which documents ″the participation of racist and anti- semitic elements″ in both groups.

-Worked in the 1960s for the Pioneer Fund, which sought to prove that blacks are genetically inferior to whites.

Bouscaren said the alleged plagiarism in his Diem book was ″a question of footnotes″ and blamed the ″Human Events″ incident on a mixup by his assistant.

″I have written 18 books over a period of 40 years and about 300 articles, so I stand on my record. I don’t need to plagiarize anybody and I have no interest in plagiarizing anybody,″ he said.

Bouscaren also said he is not racist or anti-semitic, is a strong supporter of Israel and has worked for years to help blacks, Vietnamese and other minorities.

Podesta and Buchanan raised the following objections to Moser:

-He serves on the board of directors of Accuracy in Media, a conservative group that monitors the media for liberal bias.

-He has endorsed the goals of Accuracy in Academia, a controversial AIM spinoff that recruits students to root out professors with a liberal bias.

-He was the Washington contact for a militant Charleston, W.Va. group that tried to ban textbooks it considered ″anti-Christian, anti-American, depressing and negative.″ The 1974 censorship battle was ″one of the most violent in history,″ the letter said.

Moser said the organizations in which he is active are listed on his resume, which was circulated a month ago. If senators looked at his activities objectively, he said, they wouldn’t object to them.

″I have no apologies for my views,″ he said.

Moser added that he feels professors should teach all sides of major issues and that parents - not professional educators - should have the last word on curriculum.

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