Subject: Air Safety Advocate Sues Gore Over Commission Report
A member of a White House commission on aviation safety sued Vice President Al Gore and Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater on Thursday, claiming her dissenting opinions were deliberately left out of the panel's final report and that the vice president glossed over her opposition to the group's findings.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington by outspoken airline safety advocate Victoria Cummock. Gore is named because he served as chairman of the commission.
But Gore's office says Cummock's dissent was included in the final report and that report was posted on the Internet.
Cummock, a member of the commission who lives in Miami, alleges that Gore misled and lied to the president when he wrote a letter to the president saying all the commissioners had agreed to the recommendations.
"I didn't sign the transmittal letter," Cummock said. "I didn't agree with the report. I told the vice president that privately as well as publicly. Yet, he wrote a letter saying we had reached consensus and we hadn't."
Cummock said the commission itself was illegal because the agenda was set and commission business was already being conducted before the commission was even empowered by executive charter.
Cummock's complaint seeks to stop the final commission report from being filed with the Library of Congress without her complete 42-page dissent.
Cummock says the commission accomplished little if anything and that its recommendations carried no weight. She says, "I don't know how we could really get a fair commission based on the degree of collusion that I see between the industry, the F.A.A. [Federal Aviation Administration], the D.O.T. [Department of Transportation] and Al Gore."
In her suit, Cummock also charges that the commission was conducted in such a way as to prevent her from participating fully and failed to provide to her and to the public all documents made available to other commission members.
The commission was formed last year in the wake of the Valujet and TWA crashes.
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