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SENATE CONDEMNS CLEMENCY BY CLINTON PUERTO RICAN RADICALS' RELEASE CALLED 'DEPLORABLE' IN 95-2 VOTE

The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly joined the House in condemning President Clinton's grant of clemency to leaders of a Puerto Rican paramilitary organization tied to bombings and killings in New York City and elsewhere.

The Senate voted 95-2 to condemn as "deplorable" Clinton's actions that freed 11 members of FALN, the Spanish initials for Armed Forces of National Liberation, last weekend.

While the outcome is an embarrassment to the president, the Senate measure and a similar one passed 311-41 by the House last week are merely protests. The powers of a president to pardon or grant clemency are absolute under the Constitution.

Voting against the resolution were Sens. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii, and Paul D. Wellstone, D-Minn. Sens. Bob Graham, D-Fla., Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and John McCain, R-Ariz., did not vote.

To keep the issue alive, Republicans have scheduled congressional hearings for today and Thursday in the wake of the refusal of the Clinton administration to allow FBI or other officials to testify before a Senate panel Tuesday.

FALN was responsible for about 130 bombings in the late 1970s and early 1980s that left six people dead and scores wounded.

Supporting the Republican resolution were Democratic Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Charles E. Schumer of New York, despite the possible negative fallout for the likely campaign of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for Moynihan's seat.

Schumer, in a statement, said, "The burden of proof is on the administration to prove why clemency should be granted. I have repeatedly requested information on these cases.

"I have been given no information and therefore have voted to support the resolution."

Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson said Clinton "put his wife's ambitions ahead of the wishes of every law enforcement agency on record."

Republicans, including Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, said the president's clemency move was designed to help Mrs. Clinton with the Puerto Rican vote in New York State if she decides to run for the Senate.

Mrs. Clinton 10 days ago said she disagreed with her husband's decision. But last Saturday, the Associated Press reported that the first lady acknowledged to an audience in New York City that she might have been hasty in reaching her decision to oppose the release of the FALN leaders.

Schumer said he wanted to read the reports on the FALN inmates prepared by the Bureau of Parole and the Bureau of Prisons. The Clinton administration has refused to release any reports on the parolees, citing executive privilege.

One of the bill's authors, Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga., accused the Clinton administration of stonewalling his committee's hearing Tuesday by blocking FBI officials from testifying and refusing to turn over any documents.

Bureau assistant Sean Nealon contributed to this article.

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