Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, III - USN, Ret.
Aviation Mishap Analyst
P.O. Box 90, Clements, Maryland 20624
Web site:

June 3, 1999 

The Honorable Lamar J. Smith
Chairman, Committee on Standards of Official Conduct
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Smith,

I respectfully request that you open an Inquiry into the official conduct of Mr. James Traficant, who is presently representing the 17th District of Ohio in the House of Representatives.

This request is based on Article I, Section 5 of the United States Constitution, which gives the House of Representatives the authority to "Punish its Members" for misconduct and to expel a member, by a two-thirds vote.

The complaint focuses on official misconduct designed specifically to severely damage and undermine a group of aviation experts independently probing the unexplained loss of TWA Flight 800 and the misfeasance of Administration officials.

Misconduct by the Congressman, pursuant to this complaint began in the fall of 1997 with the initiation of a sham investigation and carried through until 6 May 1999. On that date at the House Aviation Subcommittee hearing into the Reauthorization of the National Transportation Safety Board, Mr. Traficant publicly:

  1. Fraudulently mischaracterized the probity and depth of a sham investigation run by Mr. Marcone of his office, that had no budget, dedicated staff, trained investigators or aviation expertise.
  2. Failed to divulge he had a severe Conflict of Interest with the Justice Department in that his newfound political affection for the FBI was concurrent with the realization he might be the target of a third Mob related Federal Indictment.
  3. Fraudulently mischaracterized a close working relationship with the expert witness, when, in fact, the witness was denied all personal or telephone contact with Traficant after their first and only meeting.
  4. By inference, slandered hundreds of eyewitnesses of the loss of TWA Flight 800 through insidious mockery of a single unnamed witness.
  5. Falsely inferred by the use of pronouns "I" and "we" both orally and in a written report, that he personally conducted an investigation.
  6. Falsely inferred he had intimate in-depth knowledge and had checked out the true current level of discovery developed by the outside investigation when, in fact, his office was cut off from new information in the spring of 1998.
  7. Was reported to have circulated a document to Members of the Aviation Subcommittee prior to the hearing asking them not to provide the expert witness a platform to air his views, thereby prejudicing any testimony about to be given.
Mr. Chairman, I was the expert witness who appeared before the Aviation Subcommittee on 6 May 1999. I brought before the committee physical evidence of a government cover-up, including maps and FBI operational orders directing Agents how to find and hide specific missile parts from Interested Parties.

Mr. Traficant's "shoot the messenger" tactics, hyperbole and grossly out of character praising of the FBI and NTSB's failed crash investigation, shutdown any discussion of the evidence or chance of meaningful oversight.

Congressman Smith, the bottom line is, our investigation has discovered evidence that implicates Justice Department officials as well as the White House in a serious cover-up. Mr. Traficant was an eager supporter of this investigation until he realized he personally might be the target of a Justice Department probe and be indicted for the third time in 17 years for Mob related activities.

Therefore, I respectfully suggest the following preliminary course of action:

  1. Assemble Mr. Traficant's telephone records from 1997 forward. Highlight calls between the White House, Justice Department, FBI, NTSB, and The Army Navy Club of Washington and Mr. Traficant.
  2. Subpoena Mr. Charles O'Nesti's 1998 double felony plea bargain and sealed 12-page affidavit.
  3. Determine why prominent Youngstown, Ohio citizens believe Mr. Traficant was an unindicted target of the investigation that brought down Mr. O'Nesti and 29 others last year.
  4. Interview the prosecutor who quit the Justice Department shortly after the 30 indictments were handed down.
  5. Determine why the FBI released Mob affidavits to the media implicating Mr. Traficant's district manager, Mr. O'Nesti, well in advance of Mr. O'Nesti's indictment.
  6. Determine if Mr. Traficant's office produced and circulated correspondence to the members of the Aviation Subcommittee libeling the expert witness prior to his testimony on 6 May 1999.
  7. Compile a list of Federal projects in Mr. Traficant's district that were approved or received favorable treatment from November 1997 through the end of 1998. Determine if the White House or minority leadership influenced these projects.
  8. Determine who has had access to Mr. Traficant's FBI file, at Justice and at the White House.
I assure you that these charges are extremely serious, Mr. Traficant, for self-serving reasons, has intentionally undermined an investigation done by a dedicated group of proven professionals. Our members have solved a dozen military and civilian crashes including a missile shootdown as well as the previous two fatal TWA crashes.

I will make myself available to your staff after 15 June, upon return from briefing the Naval Postgraduate School's Aviation Safety instructors.

My correspondence, testimony and press releases relating to Mr. Traficant are available at our web site at


Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, III USN Ret.

Members of the Subcommittee on Aviation 

U.S House of Representatives

The Honorable Slade Gorton
Unites States Senate

The Honorable Orrin Hatch
Unites States Senate

The Honorable Charles Grassley
Unites States Senate

The Honorable Henry J. Hyde
U. S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Porter J. Goss
U. S. House of Representatives

District Attorney James M. Catterson, Jr.
Suffolk County Office of the District Attorney

Mr. Philip M. Condit
The Boeing Company

Mr. Jerry L. Gitner
Trans World Airlines

The Editor
The Vindicator

J. Bruce Maffeo
Attorney at Law

Adm. Jay Johnson
Chief of Naval Operations

The Families of TWA Flight 800
P.O. Box 1061, Clifton Park, NY 12065