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PANEL UNINVOLVED IN `BARGAINING,' HANSEN SAYS

Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, said he and other House ethics committee members have little direct knowledge of any offers from House Speaker Jim Wright to resign in exchange for having major ethics charges against him dropped.

"I do know there was some negotiation, but it was extremely limited," Hansen told the Deseret News. "I'm willing to say that probably the 12 members of the committee know as little as everyone else."He said lawyers at staff level are handling current negotiations, but any deal would have to be approved by the committee.

Hansen said he feels most of the committee was unswayed this week by arguments from Wright's lawyer asking that major ethics charges against him be dropped.

"I maintain we have some very substantial counts in the 69 counts (against Wright). I cannot predict how the committee will rule on that, but in my opinion, not many minds were changed. That means we go ahead with the disciplinary hearing," Hansen said.