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Tip O’Neill Cleared of Wrongdoing

March 13, 1999

BOSTON (AP) _ A 20-month investigation by the FBI that spanned a dozen states and used electronically wired informants showed no political corruption by the late House Speaker Thomas P. ``Tip″ O’Neill Jr.

The secret probe lasted from 1979 to 1981 when the U.S. House speaker was playing a major role in national affairs as an ally of President Jimmy Carter, The Boston Globe reported Saturday. The newspaper obtained government documents through requests under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The FBI suspected O’Neill used his political clout to win about $3 million in federal loans and guarantees for projects in which he and his associates had financial interests. For a time, the FBI suspected that O’Neill had received $65,000 in kickbacks for his help.

The FBI fitted an informant, who told investigators that O’Neill had received payoffs, with a transmitter and recording device to record conversations with O’Neill and his associates.

The FBI suspected from three hours of recorded conversations that one or more of O’Neill’s associates was involved in some unspecified ``illegal acts″ on behalf of the speaker.

Christopher O’Neill, son of the late Massachusetts political legend, said his father had been aware of the investigation at the time it was conducted.

``He did not have any doubts he would be vindicated,″ he said.

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