Stephen Bassett’s latest event at the National Press Club has been making headlines recently. The Citizen Hearing on Disclosure is supposed to assemble a gallery of credible UFO witnesses to be interviewed by a distinguished panel of former U.S. congressmen. Having former high-ranking statesmen conduct the inquiry, according to Bassett, will lend credibility to the event, which recently got positive airtime on MSNBC.
“They are essentially conducting themselves as if they were still in Congress. We’re looking for them to be objective and gather information,” Bassett told HuffPost Weird News. “We do not care what their opinion is, it’s not a factor. We simply want them to do the job.”
But who, exactly, are these congressmen? According to website Parapolitical, they are the “nuttiest former U.S. congressmen in history.” Taking a closer look at the biography of the panelists reveals a range of anecdotes that could be amusing, if it weren’t so frightening to imagine these people once held high public office.
The hearing panel will be headlined by former congressman Merrill Cook (R – Utah) who was once famously banned from his own party’s offices after a profanity-laced tirade and was plagued during his few years in Congress by reports of erratic behavior leveled by his own staff. “Merrill has taken up permanent residence in whacko land,” Cook’s chief of staff Janet Jenson wrote in an inter-office e-mail in 2000. ”If he asks you to fax his underwear to the speaker’s office, please just do it.”
Joining Cook will be former congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R – Maryland). The 86 year-old raised eyebrows in 2004 when he attended a Unification Church event to receive the “Ambassador of Peace medal” from cult leader Sun-Young Moon who, afterwards, declared himself the Messiah as Bartlett watched in delight.
But, that’s not all! Former senator Mike Gravel (D- Alaska) will also be there. After twice filing for bankruptcy, Gravel has apparently taken to making public appearances for anyone who will buy him lunch – his previous engagements have included a conference sponsored by the holocaust denial website Barnes Review.