[The following story is based partly on an Associated Press release dated March 25, 1998.]
Congressman Steve Schiff, a five-term Republican from Albuquerque, New Mexico's 1st Congressional District, died on March 25, 1998 of skin cancer. He was 51.
Schiff had been fighting aggressive squamous-cell skin cancer for more than a year. He had been absent from Washington, D.C. since last April but had continued to conduct congressional business from home while undergoing treatment that included surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
A spokesman for Schiff had denied as late as last month that the disease was terminal and said the congressman was responding well to treatment. Caught early, squamous-cell carcinoma reportedly has a 95% cure rate. But doctors treating Schiff recently expressed concern that his cancer was unusually aggressive.
Though Schiff had a long and distinguished career in public service, he will be remembered by readers of CNI News primarily for his courageous and unprecedented efforts to uncover secret government information pertaining to the Roswell incident of 1947. Responding to concerns of his constituents, Schiff made inquiries at the Pentagon and several government archives in 1993 before concluding that he was getting "the runaround."
Angered by what appeared to be stonewalling on the part of Pentagon officials, Schiff pushed the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to look into possible improprieties related to Roswell. An 18 month investigation by the GAO concluded that many records of government activity in Roswell during the summer of 1947 were mysteriously missing. The apparent destruction of those records was unusual and unauthorized, the GAO said, but without them, the investigation came to a standstill.
No government official ever pushed harder or more publicly for disclosure of Roswell-related government records than Congressman Steve Schiff. And, although there is absolutely no evidence of a connection between his GAO investigation and his cancer, UFO researchers are compelled to wonder why this particular Congressman came down with an unusually vicious disease so soon after his Roswell investigation ended.
Steve Schiff was always a man of principle. On one occasion, he opposed a Congressional pay raise, but when the raise was voted in over his objection, he donated the increase in his own salary to charity.
Schiff was elected to Congress after serving as district attorney for Bernalillo County, New Mexico. While in Congress, he served as Vice Chair of Government Reform and Oversight and four years on the House Ethics committee. In 1995, he became Chairman of the Science Committee's Subcommittee on Basic Research.
In 1997, Schiff retired as a full Colonel after serving 28 years in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. He worked in Northern Iraq as a Judge Advocate General during the Kurdish relief effort in 1991, and in the Bosnian Theater during deployment in 1995.
Congressman Steve Schiff is survived by his wife of 29 years, Marcia, and children Jaimi and Daniel.
Donations in Schiff's memory may be made to:
American Cancer Society/New Mexico Division
5800 Lomas Blvd. NE
Alburquerque, NM 87110
Please specify for research.
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