Koop Refuses Arlington Burial Waiver
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 5) -- Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has announced he will not accept his waiver for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
Koop's decision comes just a week after Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.) called on President Bill Clinton to revoke the waiver granted in 1994.
Everett, chair of the House Veterans Affairs oversight subcommittee, applauded Koop's decision, but said his subcommittee would continue to look into why the waiver was granted in the first place. Everett has suggested that it may have been given in exchange for Koop's support for Clinton's ill-fated health care plan.
Koop, who served as surgeon general under former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, said such claims were unfounded.
"To accuse either me or the president of any improper reward for services rendered is untrue and offensive to me and, I am sure, to the president," Koop said Wednesday.
Koop served in the Public Health Service during World War II, but never in the armed services. Opponents said his burial at Arlington would have meant one less spot for a decorated veteran.
Koop's waiver came under scrutiny during the controversy over an Arlington waiver granted to the late U.S. Ambassador Larry Lawrence.
Lawrence, a big Democratic donor, was granted a waiver for burial at Arlington based in part on his claim to have served and been wounded in the Merchant Marine during World War II. After Republicans were unable to find any evidence of service, Lawrence's widow had his body removed from Arlington and reburied in San Diego.
The Justice Department is investigating whether anything improper was done by the Clinton Adminstration to assist in obtaining the waiver for Lawrence, according to The Associated Press.