Jailed Former Congressman Continues Hunger Strike Over Treatment
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Jailed former Rep. George Hansen of Idaho, completing the first week of a hunger strike today over his treatment by federal marshals, awaited a decision on whether his parole will be revoked.
The U.S. Parole Commission on Tuesday rejected his appeal for unsupervised parole, saying he must meet the same requirements as all federal parolees. However, a decision is pending on whether he should be sent back to prison for violating the terms of his release.
Hansen, who runs a Capital Hill consulting firm to aid people with complaints of government mistreatment, is incarcerated at the Alexandria City Jail.
The 56-year-old Hansen served seven terms in the House of Representatives before he was convicted of breaking financial disclosure laws and submitting false financial disclosure statements to Congress. The charges included concealing his financial dealings with Texas billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt. He served six months of a five- to 15-month sentence.
When paroled Dec. 19 from Petersburg Federal Corrections Facility, Hansen said he would be unable to conduct his business if held to the restrictions that he stay in Virginia and file financial reports.
He was arrested last week in Omaha, Neb. after a speaking engagement. He said he has not filed complete financial forms since his release from prison because he receives money from people who would not want their names turned over to the federal government.
The former congressman is organizing a political movement called ″Free America″ aimed against big government, said his lawyer, Frank Campbell.
While jailed, Hansen has refused to eat. He said jailers give him food three times a day but won’t let him give it to any of the other prisoners.
″They just let it sit there and try to tantalize you,″ Hansen said in a telephone interview from jail. ″But the food isn’t such quality that I would want to eat it.″
After the parole commission rejected his appeal Tuesday, Hansen said, ″This puts the focus on the White House.″ He said he wants President Reagan to pardon him and that he expects his supporters to urge the White House to do so.
While the parole commission met, six Hansen supporters rallied outside the office.
″We are all very disgusted over what is happening to Mr. Hansen right now,″ said Lisa Lashaway, spokeswoman for a group called the National Coalition of IRS Whistleblowers. ″It (Hansen’s recent arrest) happened on April 15, which is no accident. Mr. Hansen is a very outspoken critic.″
Hansen, a conservative Republican, has charged that he was arrested last week because of his criticism of the Internal Revenue Service, the prison system and the Justice Department.
Others rallying in his support included members of groups called the American Coalition of Unregistered Churches and Metropolitian Committee on Worldwide Community Action.
Joe Krovisky, a Justice Department spokesman, said a decision on whether parole will be revoked may not be issued until sometime next week. Until then, Hansen will remain in jail, he said.
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Hansen lost 75 pounds during his incarceration in federal prison. He said he didn’t eat much then out of self-protection because he believed the food had been adulterated with urine and nasal mucus.