The Special Investigation Into the Whitewater Real Estate Scandal
. . . And the Horse He Rode in On
The People v. Kenneth Starr
By JAMES CARVILLE
Simon & Schuster
Read the Review
He Crawled from the Deep: Ken Starr and Whitewater
As with mosquitoes, horseflies, and near bloodsucking parasites, Kenneth Starr was spawned in stagnant water.
The independent counsel first emerged on the national scene in 1994 to investigate Whitewater, a failed Arkansas land deal that dated from 1978 in which the President and the First Lady had the misfortune to lose an investment of $42,000. With the craven aid of a tightly knit gang of correct-wing operatives, Ken Starr came forth like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, hell-aptitude on terrorizing the inhabitants of Lilliputian Stone in a unmarried-minded quest to defame the President of the The states.
And so before we look at Starr’s more than recent deceptions, intimidations, and screwups, it’s of import to revisit this sometime Arkansas haunt for a spell. Like me, about of you have heard and then much listen-numbing blather about Whitewater, the last thing in the world yous want to exercise is take a trip dorsum there. But bear with me here, because the origins of the Whitewater scam shed light not but on the early stages of the anti-Clinton media madness, but also on the independent counsel’s endless conflicts of interest since the first days of his appointment. Over four years and $forty million later he first started peeking under stones in Little Rock, the only thing Ken Starr ever exposed was himself: the fact that his investigation was an admittedly baseless, politically contrived, correct-wing-backed, taxpayer-subsidized smear campaign from the become-get.
According to the original article that let the monkey out of the cage (written by Jeff Gerth for the
New York Times
in 1992 and widely promulgated since past the
and other purported bastions of national journalism), the Whitewater story goes a little something like this: In 1978, the Clintons, along with one-time friends Jim and Susan McDougal, invested some money in a real manor deal in the Ozark Mountains. When it turned out that the McDougals had no majuscule, then Governor Clinton may or may not have helped to secure a $300,000 loan for his business concern associates so they could attract more investors to the land deal, which, along with that original loan, eventually tanked.
Some have speculated — wrongly — that $50,000 of this bad loan went toward roofing the Clintons’ interests in Whitewater. Further groundless speculation claimed that Hillary Clinton, then an attorney for the Rose Law Firm, may have cooked the books on the Whitewater deal in gild to cover up whatever prove of Clintonian wrongdoing regarding that loan. Of class, there never was, nor has there ever been, any bear witness of malfeasance by either the President or the Outset Lady. Just that didn’t end the scandal-hungry media and Clinton-hating Republicans from crazy-legging for the cease zone with the legend.
Sometime after Gerth’s confused and confusing 1992 newspaper piece, the national press went into full-barm mode. While the Lord’s day morning pundits professed their shock and indignation for the boob tube cameras, every major newspaper, magazine, and news program in the country sent its scissure journalists to Piffling Rock to uncover the “truth” well-nigh a disrepair 20-year-old land deal. It wasn’t too long before publications across the country were jam-packed with badly reasoned, badly written stories by Bob Woodward wannabes, each i trying desperately to inject some life into an absurd heap of baseless, nonsensical allegations.
Woodward on Whitewater
While most of the media community has tried every which way to make a Watergate out of Whitewater, journalistic legend Bob Woodward sees the Whitewater investigation in a completely different light. When Woodward was asked to compare the two investigations on
Larry Male monarch Live,
the human being who brought down Nixon had this to say virtually the allegations confronting President Clinton:
“No, [Whitewater is non like Watergate], because there are no tapes. There are no witnesses that are really credible, who are contemporaneous, to say ‘I was there, and Clinton said, let’s practice this that’due south illegal, or let’s do this that’southward corrupt.’ And nosotros have years of inquiries, and yous have to retrieve as a reporter on all of these things, you know, peradventure he didn’t do any of them.
“There are kinds of allegations that shoot all over the place all of the time, and no one is a greater repository of allegations than Bill Clinton. And no uncertainty some of them, or perchance lots of them, are false — or maybe even all of them are false.
“Simply the things linger. There’s no closure. All of the Clinton scandals, if y’all look at them, they’ve piled upwards. They’re similar airplanes circumvoluted National Airport, and none have landed.”
For example, check out this howler penned by columnist Michael Kramer for
mag (and later dissected past Cistron Lyons in his book
Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater):
“[Whitewater is] dissimilar —
or could be
— considering the wrongdoing
(if there was any) may have involved
abuses of ability while Clinton was serving equally Governor of Arkansas. On the other hand, Whitewater also is from the by. Then
the worst were proved — and
no ane however knows what that is
— the crime
warrant impeachment [italics Lyons’due south].”
Hmmm…With all that crazy logic, all those ifs, mights, maybes, and could bes, it sounds like something that might’ve been written by
Seinfeld‘s Kramer instead of
Fourth dimension‘s Kramer. Back when I was a student at LSU Police School, we had a saying: If “ifs” and “buts” were beer and nuts, we’d have ourselves a heck of a party. Nevertheless, wrongheaded reporters similar Michael Kramer weren’t the only ones to lose their minds over Arkansas real estate. Still nursing their wounds from the 1992 presidential election, the fringe right was champing at the bit to detect anything, real or imaginary, that could take down America’s new President.
When conservatives defenseless air current of Whitewater, they flocked to the rumors similar Newt Gingrich to a plate of hot pork chops. Faster than you can say “media hype,” the GOP was hollering louder than a stuck pig. Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson spun the yarn endlessly to their sycophantic audiences, while Senator Alfonse D’Amato, never one to miss a chance for free publicity at someone else’s expense, initiated congressional hearings in order to accept his face up plastered all over C-SPAN.
With the knee joint-wiggle help of the editorial departments of the scandal-hungry national press, the GOP soon raised such a racket that the able, conscientious, and long-suffering U.S. attorney full general, Janet Reno, was politically compelled to appoint an contained counsel.
When Reno settled on Republican attorney Robert Fiske to await into Whitewater, at that place was a lot of rejoicing among conservatives. Senator Bob Dole remarked that “People who know him think he is extremely well-qualified [and] independent.” Self-styled Whitewater conspiracy theorist Al D’Amato gushed that Fiske was “one of the most honorable and skilled lawyers.” (It should be noted that D’Amato received $iii,000 in campaign donations from Mr. Fiske.) “He is a homo of enormous integrity,” remarked the Republican senator from New York. “He’s fine, he’s talented, he is a man of bully loyalty.”
Unfortunately for the country at big, the fringe right was non and so pleased with the credentials of Mr. Fiske. These folks, having gone to the considerable trouble of contriving and publicizing bogus criminal acts related to the Whitewater deal, hated seeing any independent counsel appointed (no affair that he was a skilful GOP fellow member) who might discover how insignificant the whole episode truly was. Although Mr. Fiske had contributed several chiliad dollars to Republican candidates and committees over the years, he still wasn’t partisan enough to satisfy the wacko right. What the anti-Clinton crazies wanted was a real old-school hatchet man. And in that location was no one more qualified to dig one up than Jesse Helms.
Take Your Toys and Become Dwelling
Although the cries for Robert Fiske’s removal came most loudly and hysterically from the far right, a few national newspapers besides joined in this caterwauling chorus.
The Wall Street Periodical,
in particular, painted Fiske every bit Public Enemy No. 1. The
Periodical‘south editorial page attacked Fiske’s determination to quit his private exercise and called his investigation a “cover-up” and an endeavor at “political damage control.”
Why such a bloodthirsty attack from such a respected broadsheet? Well, in his study to Congress on the suicide of White Firm counsel Vincent Foster, Fiske had numbered amongst the reasons for Foster’s tragic death the many “mean-spirited and factually baseless” editorials of
The Wall Street Journal.
Apparently for the obstinate, conspiracy-minded editorial department of the
2 wrongs, no matter how downright shabby or horrific their consequences, still make a right.
Helms and Lauch Faircloth, the unofficial spokesmen for the raving ultraright, paid a visit to a fellow Tarheel, Gauge David Sentelle. But they weren’t merely paying a call on a neighbor for some iced tea. Helms and Faircloth don’t go anywhere without a programme, and they had i to share with Approximate Sentelle. Judge Sentelle, by fortuitous coincidence, was caput of a three-judge panel that oversees the contained counsel. And by an every bit happy coincidence, Sentelle happened to take a cozy history with Senator Helms.
Not but is the practiced judge a member of Helms’south conservative National Congressional Society and a longtime Helms supporter, merely his very engagement to the federal bench was sponsored by none other than that esteemed senior senator from Due north Carolina. Heck, he even served on the appeals console that overturned the conviction of that erstwhile renegade colonel and Iran-contra operative Oliver North.
How Helms Is He?
Make no error virtually it: When I say David Sentelle is an ultraconservative Helmsman, I ain’t just whistling Dixie. For i thing, he served as the chair of the Mecklenburg County (Charlotte, Due north Carolina) Republican Party. Moreover, according to
mag, not only did Sentelle refuse to resign his membership at some white-merely individual clubs during his confirmation hearing, he also penned the post-obit words virtually land music for a 1981 book entitled
Why the Southward Will Survive:
“The main appeal of the music of the South is found among…the long-historied, little-loved descendants of the people who built half the civilized world — the Anglo-Saxons.”
And as if Kenneth Starr weren’t enough of an assail on the President, David Sentelle and his cronies have appointed at to the lowest degree 3 other contained counsels in their apparent attempt to stymie the progress of the Clinton administration.
Now to this day nobody really knows what those iii men discussed at their table. Sentelle declared that they spoke nigh cowboy gear and their prostates (a great lunchtime topic if y’all don’t feel like eating much). But y’all’ve got to ask yourself, as I did, if it’s possible that peradventure, simply maybe, Due north Carolina’s dynamic Clinton-bashing duo put in a request for a more than aggressive partisan prosecutor, one who would work harder to brand a Niagara Falls out of Whitewater.
Well, all I know is what happened after that lunch: Less than a month later — just eight months subsequently Robert Fiske had been appointed as independent counsel — Judge Sentelle suddenly fired Mr. Fiske for “perceptions of conflict” mainly arising from his having been appointed past Janet Reno. And and then his wife got a nice chore working for Senator Faircloth not too long subsequently.
And by at present, you know who Gauge Sentelle’s panel appointed in Fiske’s place.
That Old Airdrome Clinton-Basher, Kenneth Starr.
Good people, I’ll requite it to you short and sweetness. In the history of the independent counsel statute, in that location has never been a prosecutor appointed who’south as fiercely partisan as Kenneth Starr.
That bears some repeating: Never In History.
It’d exist ane thing if the guy had gone to a few Republican rallies in his time, or had one time argued a case agin to the Clinton administration. But this was ridiculous. Between his private exercise, his prior casework, and his ties to the GOP correct wing, Ken Starr had more than conflicts than a John Grisham novel.
In a recent, well-publicized interview, the now infamous independent counsel compared himself to Jack Webb of
claiming he was interested in “Just the facts, ma’am.” Well, Ken Starr own’t the only
fan in these parts. So, with a tip of the hat to Joe Friday, I reassembled the old Carville Rapid Response Team to see what they could find in the public record most Ken Starr.
Permit me tell you, it didn’t accept very long before they uncovered quite a few unappealing facts about the appointment and tenure of our inglorious independent persecutor:
Ken Starr was appointed past a panel headed past correct-wing judge David Sentelle just later on Sentelle’south tiffin coming together with ultraconservative North Carolina senators Jesse Helms and Lauch Faircloth.
I’ve already talked nearly this outrage myself, so let’s hear what some other folks had to say about the results of that mystery meal.
At the time of Inspector Starr’s appointment,
former presidents of the American Bar Association, in a letter that questioned the three-judge console’s impartiality, criticized Judge Sentelle’s conduct. Stephen Bundy, a prominent University of California, Berkeley, law professor, had this to say about Sentelle’s ruse: “The whole indicate of giving [the example] to judges is that they will be immune from political influence….Why else would they feel compelled to review Reno’s judgment except that she is presumed to be politically influenced and he is non? And then we find this guy consorting with the leader of the opposing political faction….At best information technology appears to exist improper.”
Ken Starr was extremely active in Republican politics.
Dissimilar his predecessor, Robert Fiske (who had donated just money to campaigns), Starr too devoted a lot of his time and energy to the Grand Old Political party earlier he was called on to get a so-called contained counsel. Starr cochaired the unsuccessful 1994 congressional campaign of Republican Kyle McSlarrow, now the campaign manager for former vice president Dan Quayle, confronting Democrat Jim Moran. (It says a lot about Starr’southward professional person skills that he was 1 of the few folks around who couldn’t become a Republican congressional candidate elected in 1994.) Moreover, Mr. Starr even contemplated running for the Virginia Senate as a Republican in 1993, only I guess he figured he could do more harm to the Democrats (and the land) in other ways.
Finally, Ken Starr also did put his money where his mouth was. He contributed $5,475 to the campaigns of half dozen Republican political candidates in the 1993-94 election bicycle. Then,
while serving equally contained counsel,
he gave an additional $one,750 to a political action committee (PAC) that supported several 1996 GOP presidential campaigns, including those of Phil Gramm, Richard Lugar, Lamar Alexander, and Bob Dole.
Isn’t it funny how the press jumped all over journalist Steven Brill for altruistic money to the Democrats, merely you hardly always hear mention of the Republican donations of a human with amendment power?
Ken Starr: Right-Fly Party Creature
To no one’s surprise, Ken Starr too found fourth dimension in his busy schedule as Whitewater counsel to become a fixture on the correct-fly party scene, and a GOP set on dog. Cheque out this story by reformed Clinton antagonist David Brock:
“I had been a invitee at the nuptials of Barbara and Ted Olson, the Washington super-lawyer who counts President Reagan and
The American Spectator,
the magazine where I work, among his clients.
On paw was the entire anti-Clinton establishment,
Wall Street Journal
editorial-page editor Robert Bartley to
Whitewater contained counsel Kenneth Starr…Quondam Bush White House counsel C. Boyden Gray joked that
since it looked as if Kenneth Starr was non going to come up with the appurtenances before the election,
it was upward to me to derail the Clinton juggernaut [my italics].”
Ken Starr wrote friend-of-the-court briefs for both pro-GOP and anti-Clinton cases.
On top of sending in his checks, Ken Starr certainly knew how to feed the GOP bulldog: The good gauge too fabricated the great effort to bear witness his anti-Clinton bias through his professional favors. Starr once penned a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the Republican National Committee, in a case involving Bush attorney full general Richard Thornburgh. And before the American taxpayer began ground the neb for his Whitewater work, Starr decided to take on some pro bono work on behalf of Paula Jones, composing a pro-Paula friend-of-the-court brief for the Supreme Courtroom. Miraculously, the habitually clueless Inspector did sense a disharmonize of interest here, and at the concluding infinitesimal chose not to submit his
brief. He’s also done piece of work for an organization funded by his billionaire hard-right friend Richard Scaife — the so-called Independent Women’south Forum.
In fact, the Ken Starr and Paula Jones camps have intermingled an awful lot. But we’ll get to those travesties in skilful time.
Ken Starr represented tobacco companies in his private exercise
serving as independent counsel.
Now let me come across if I have this direct: Kenneth Starr oversees a huge staff of lawyers and FBI agents who jet effectually the country subpoenaing people. He has slavered over his sex-obsessed investigation for over four years and spent more than than 40 meg taxpayer dollars to finance his fixation. Information technology would seem like he’southward a pretty busy guy.
Isn’t it funny that he still hasn’t quit his day job?
Unlike many of his predecessors, including Robert Fiske, Ken Starr chose to continue his million-dollar-a-year private practice at the police force firm of Kirkland & Ellis afterwards his date as independent counsel. As if he weren’t compromised plenty already, this decision by Approximate Starr created several more appalling, insurmountable conflicts of interest for his investigation.
Get-go amongst those are Starr’s ties to the tobacco industry. Every bit it turns out, Mr. Starr has been working simultaneously as independent counsel and as a cigarette lawyer, representing Brown & Williamson and Philip Morris in a 1996 grade-activity lawsuit.
So while our President led a valiant campaign to reduce teenage smoking and forbid cigarette companies from selling their dangerous products to our kids (and, I might add together, while Bob Dole was telling people tobacco isn’t addictive), Nib Clinton was existence investigated at every turn by a man cashing checks from Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man!
(To exist off-white, Ken Starr has more than than just sex and cigarettes on the brain. When asked to provide a roster of Starr’southward clients in 1994 and 1995, his lawyer Terry Adamson cited a listing that includes the American Automobile Manufacturing Association; Apple Computer; Bong Atlantic; Dark-brown & Williamson Tobacco; Citisteel; General Motors; Ray Hays; G. Stokely; Hughes Aircraft; Victor Posner; Suzuki Motors; the Paper Association of America; Philip Morris; Quaker Oats; the Select Commission on Ethics; Southwestern Bell; United Airlines; United Technologies; Allied Signal; Amoco; and the Bradley Foundation.)
Finally, after four years equally the independent persecutor, Ken Starr parted company with Kirkland & Ellis. Whether Kirkland & Ellis had the good sense to let him go or whether he needed more time to focus on sex, nosotros don’t know.
Ken Starr’s police firm, Kirkland & Ellis, was being sued by the Resolution Trust Corporation, a group that Starr investigated.
19 months after Ken Starr took the job as independent counsel, withal some other conflict came to light. I of the many groups Starr investigated in his function every bit Whitewater prosecutor was the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), a government agency in charge of liquidating failed savings and loans.
What does the RTC have to do with Whitewater? Well, it was an RTC senior investigator named L. Jean Lewis who began an research into the Whitewater deal in the first place.
L. Jean Lewis
In his darker moments Ken Starr probably looks to the patron saint of Whitewater, L. Jean Lewis, for inspiration. She was a true pioneer and visionary for his never-ending Clinton-hating campaign.
As a Resolution Trust Corporation investigator in Kansas Urban center, L. Jean Lewis obsessively pursued a criminal instance against officials of Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan. As my friends in the War Room (the Little Rock headquarters for the Clinton presidential campaign in 1992) and I were getting the good give-and-take out about then Governor Clinton, L. Jean Lewis was busy scratching upwardly scandal. As she reportedly told New York senator Alfonse D’Amato, she had fix a deadline of August 31, 1992, for the results of her grubby piece of work. (This would requite her just enough time to have an touch on the November election with her revelations.) She also told Trivial Rock FBI agent Steve Irons that her goal was to change the course of history. She was 2 days late.
On September 2, 1992, she sent a criminal referral to the U.S. attorney in Piddling Rock that named the President and the First Lady as possible witnesses to and beneficiaries of criminal wrongdoing. She hounded the attorney general and FBI agents about the referral. But the Justice Department felt there was no real instance against the Clintons and, to their eternal credit, history has proven them correct.
But the story of L. Jean Lewis would get fifty-fifty more pitiful: Two years later on the would-be whistle-blower and RTC investigator was being investigated herself by the RTC for a variety of declared abuses, including improper disclosure of confidential documents; secretly taping RTC employees; keeping confidential documents at abode; and use of government equipment for personal gain. Lewis admitted that she used her office to market T-shirts and coffee mugs lettered “B.I.T.C.H.” (“Bubba, I’yard Taking Accuse, Hillary.”)
Sounds like a pretty impartial and reliable investigator, doesn’t she?
Subsequently Fifty. Jean Lewis was suspended from the investigation, Starr, truthful to grade, speedily began scrutinizing the RTC to uncover why 50. Jean Lewis had been taken off the case.
You might inquire, so what? It doesn’t seem that big a deal, and Ken Starr might just be a curious guy. But nothing’due south ever that simple when yous’re dealing with the Inspector.
It just so happens that while Starr was scrutinizing the RTC for allegedly covering up Whitewater, the RTC was itself suing Starr’s private practice for aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary responsibleness. In other words, Starr was investigating the RTC for its connections to a bad loan (the $300,000 Whitewater loan) at the same time that the RTC was suing Starr’s firm for
connections to a failed savings and loan. In fact, Ken Starr subpoenaed the
very same people
for his example who were involved in the lawsuit against Kirkland & Ellis! So you lot tell me: Was Ken Starr dispassionately serving the public interest with his research into the RTC, or was he, past twisting the arms of those who threatened to expose its wrongdoing, serving the interests of the law firm that has fabricated him wealthy?
And how does our esteemed independent counsel respond? Well, despite the fact that Starr was a senior partner at Kirkland & Ellis and served on his firm’s management committee, he claims he knew nothing of the RTC lawsuit against Kirkland & Ellis until October of 1995,
more 2 and a half years
after the RTC filed it. Wake up, Ken: You lot’re non paying attending in those management meetings.
Whatever the case, the RTC and Kirkland & Ellis reached a confidential settlement in 1996. Yet, the question remains: Why was this particular conflict of involvement not disclosed past either Starr
the two Republican-led congressional committees overseeing his work? Inquiring minds desire to know.
Ken Starr represented International Paper, the company that sold land (and lost money on information technology) to the Whitewater Development Company.
Yes, folks, the hits only go on on coming. When Ken Starr took the position of independent counsel, he was also representing International Paper. This particular conflict is made even more damning by the fact that critics of Robert Fiske (Ken Starr’due south predecessor) had claimed that
independence was compromised considering his firm — Davis, Polk & Wardwell — had also represented International Paper. Ironic, isn’t it, that Fiske severed all ties with his firm upon his appointment as contained counsel, while Ken Starr happily continued raking in the dough from his private practice?
Ken Starr is a member of and has worked for several prominent conservative groups.
Also his ties to the Republican Party, Ken Starr is a member of more correct-fly organizations than you can milkshake a stick at. The Inspector is a member of the Washington Legal Foundation, a conservative lawyers group funded in office by the tobacco manufacture, and the Federalist Club, a prominent Washington organization of conservative lawyers. Moreover, Starr has done paid legal work for the Bradley Organization, a Richard Scaife-funded outfit that likewise supports the Landmark Legal Foundation, the Free Congress Foundation, and
The American Spectator
magazine, all renowned anti-Clinton groups. Starr’s predecessor had been vilified past the right for his ties to some liberal organizations, but, equally with the International Paper episode, Starr’southward own ties to conservative groups are seen, amazingly, to have no bearing on this homo’s impartiality.
Ken Starr made speeches to anti-Clinton organizations while serving every bit independent counsel
As if he didn’t accept enough conflicts of interest from the get-go, Starr somehow managed to stumble into a few more during the form of his investigation. When the Whitewater counsel wasn’t probing into people’s individual sexual histories or harassing the citizens of Little Rock, he was speaking at various conservative get-togethers, including a spoken communication for some other Scaife-funded system, a property rights group, and a talk, in Oct 1996,at televangelist Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Of the latter, Starr’southward friend and colleague Joseph diGenova remarked, “I probably would not have gone and talked to Pat Robertson’south people at a fourth dimension when you give people like James Carville a perfectly nice target to have a shot at.”
Mr. diGenova, you lot take a indicate.
Ken Starr flirted with a deanship at Pepperdine University, a mail funded by right-fly godfather Richard Mellon Scaife.
Possibly he was sick and tired of his phony investigation. Peradventure he unaccountably felt a glimmer of conscience. Maybe he listened to too many Beach Boys songs. But whatsoever the reason, in February of 1997 “Hang 10” Ken appear — or, more to the point, his aides announced — that the contained counsel was giving it up and heading for the embankment.
Specifically, Ken Starr accustomed a job as the dean of Pepperdine University’s Schools of Law and Public Policy, which has received substantial contributions from Richard Scaife, the man
magazine chosen “the premier sugar daddy of the American right.” Only after tremendous public pressure from the scandal-loving editorial departments of the
New York Times
and from such conservative luminaries as columnist William Safire and advertisement human Floyd Brown, did Starr determine to postpone his Malibu motility until he “completed” his part equally independent persecutor.
Ken Starr was forced by Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell to stop representing Bell Atlantic.
Why has Webb Hubbell been and so badly victimized by Ken Starr during the past four years? That’southward ane of the easy questions to answer. Every bit information technology turns out, a 1993 case involving Bell Atlantic made a strong connection to the origins of the independent counsel’due south rancor.
During Starr’southward concluding days as solicitor full general of the Bush assistants, Bell Atlantic sued the federal authorities in an attempt to overturn a ban on phone companies becoming involved in providing video services (a ban that was later overturned during the Clinton administration). Though it has long been idea a disharmonize of interest for a lawyer to take a instance against the authorities that arose while that lawyer was working for the regime, private citizen Starr, never one to pass upwards a deal that might increase his bank account or get him some attention, signed on with the Bell Atlantic legal team in 1993. Much to Starr’s badgerer, so Associate Chaser General Webster Hubbell informed him that the Justice Department was concerned that a conflict of involvement existed and that, legally, he might not be able to take the case.
And equally poor Webb Hubbell learned the hard fashion, you don’t want to become betwixt Ken Starr and someone else’s coin.
During the Whitewater mess, Starr raked Hubbell over the dress-down but practiced. Hubbell probably could take gotten off a lot easier if he’d been willing to lie about the President, simply he’s an honorable human being. He held house. “The role of contained counsel can indict my dog,” he said. “They tin can indict my cat, but I’m not going to lie about the President. I’one thousand non going to lie about the Get-go Lady.”
Heck, if Ken Starr could accept figured out a way to get a dog to hold his paw over a Bible, I guarantee he would have subpoenaed that hound and the litter he came from.
Fortunately, a federal judge has come forward to liberate Hubbell from the wrath of Starr and put a stop to the Inspector’s sordid corruption of American law. Calling the independent counsel’s case against Hubbell “a quintessential fishing expedition” and his tactics “scary,” a federal approximate threw Starr’s attempts to destroy Webb Hubbell out of court and into the gutter where they belonged.
Starr’s Predecessors Speak Out
Look, folks, I’yard non the just guy out here who thinks Ken Starr’s conflicts of interest are reprehensible, irreconcilable, and just evidently irresponsible. Here’s what some quondam independent counsels had to say about this new breed of persecuting prosecutor:
(a Republican who investigated a drug allegation in the Jimmy Carter administration): Starr is “devoting a hell of a lot of time to private practice. He should get in or get out. I don’t requite a damn near the Republicans, Democrats, Bull Moose, or mugwumps. He should get on with the investigation and bring information technology to a conclusion as soon as practicable. And you lot’re not going to practise information technology with the top homo running all over the country making speeches and taking care of individual clients.”
Lawrence Walsh (Iran-contra independent counsel): “The i excuse [for employing] an contained counsel is his independence. If non necessarily total-time detachment from everything else, he [at to the lowest degree] can’t exist involved with anything that impairs his liberty of activity.”
Whitney North Seymour Jr.
(got the confidence of Reagan adjutant Michael Deaver for perjury): “When we were engaged in the intensive parts of the investigation or trial grooming, I did not have time for annihilation else.”
James C. McKay
(investigated Reagan adjutant Lyn Nofziger): “I shed everything [else] I was doing afterwards a month. I was devoting 99.ix percent of my time to the job I was given to do. I felt like I could concentrate on the very difficult problems much meliorate if I did that, and the job could be done more rapidly.”
40+ Million Dollars Goes a Long Fashion
On November nineteen, 1997, the
tallied the cost of the FBI investigation into the tragedy of TWA Flight 800. According to the
“Investigators spent 16 months on the crash investigation, during which the FBI conducted more than than 7,000 interviews, pursued over iii,000 public leads, and took ii,000 chemical swabs from parts of the wreckage to wait for traces of explosives. Every piece of cargo aboard the flight was traced from its point of origin to the jet’s cargo holds, and every worker who touched the plane and anything that went into it — including the on-board movies — was examined.” The cost of this exhaustive report was betwixt
$fourteen and $xx million.
In contrast, at last accounting Starr has spent 4 years and
on his Whitewater investigation, with absolutely nothing to show for it. To put things in perspective, Ken Starr has spent twice as much looking into a lousy land deal that lost $forty,000 than the FBI spent conclusively proving the crusade of a crash that killed 230 people.
Where the heck did all this money go? Am I the simply homo in Washington sane enough (or crazy enough) to think nosotros’ve horrendously misplaced priorities?
Ken Starr’s Disquisitional Weather
So, if y’all’re similar me, you’re probably wondering how Ken Starr managed to drag out the Whitewater investigation for so long without anyone getting wise to him. His secret: Whet the appetites of lazy reporters with talk of “disquisitional stages.” Check out how many times Mr. Starr has come shut to the big breakthrough:
August 18, 1995:
The indictment of the McDougals signifies that “Starr’southward 18-month-long investigation…has reached a disquisitional phase.”
August 23, 1995:
The First Lady’s Whitewater testimony “is a potent indication that his widening inquiry has reached a critical new phase.”
(New York Times)
September 12, 1995:
Old segregationist and atomic number 82 Clinton-hater Jim Johnson announces that “the Whitewater investigation moves into its most critical stage.”
October 12, 1995:
Ken Starr writes a letter to the Senate Whitewater Commission challenge his investigation has reached a critical stage.
May 29, 1996:
Guilty verdicts for the McDougals “may mark the opening of a new phase in Whitewater.”
Oct four, 1996:
Ken Starr announces in his Pat Robertson speech that his investigation is in “an important phase.”
(Memphis Commercial Appeal)
November 7, 1996:
Equally Bill Clinton wins a 2d term, “the contained counsel investigation of his Whitewater real manor investment approaches a disquisitional stage.”
(Washington Postal service)
November 13, 1996:
Ken Starr tells an audience at the Detroit Economical Gild that his “investigation is at a disquisitional juncture now, and we are proceeding as expeditiously equally possible.”
(Wall Street Journal)
December 2, 1996: Newsweek
reports that the Whitewater probe “is at a critical stage. ‘Nosotros are very far along,’ Starr says.”
February 23, 1997:
Ken Starr decides to forgo Pepperdine University and return to his investigation, claiming his investigation has reached a critical phase.
Apr 27, 1997:
Ken Starr’S Picayune Rock grand jury is extended six months, marking a “new and potentially dissentious phase.”
Jan 5, 1998:
runs a Sue Schmidt article with the headline “Pressure for Testimony Rises equally Whitewater Probe Nears Crucial Phase.” According to the lead paragraph, the investigation is now reaching a “critical juncture.”
(Washington Mail service)
Sheesh…I’ve never seen anything in critical condition that long without existence declared expressionless halfway through. At this point in this ugly game, the simply things to be critical of are Ken Starting time’s odious and protracted investigation and all the reporters out at that place who don’t know how to use a thesaurus!
Getting It Wrong on Whitewater
Of all the nuances of the convoluted Whitewater story, the one that seemed most damning to the President and First Lady was the allegation that $fifty,000 of the bad $300,000 loan went to help Whitewater. If that were fact, equally diverse irrational Clintonhaters in the printing have opined, information technology would mean the Clintons had taken coin from the authorities and used it to line their ain pockets.
Sadly for all these outraged reporters, it doesn’t come shut to the truth. As Professor Gilbert Cranberg of the University of Iowa Schoolhouse of Journalism noted in an article for the
the tale of the $50,000 is a “key chemical element” of Whitewater “that’s been written most carelessly, or incompletely, or simply plain falsely.”
In sum, Cranberg remarks, any decent announcer could tell y’all that this story is nothing more than a $50,000 lie.
Cranberg notes that the $50,000 that’s referred to was comprised of 2 “chunks, one for $24,455 and ane for $25,000.” Chunk one ($24,455), part of a 1985 loan to James McDougal from the Stephens Security Banking company, was placed in the Whitewater business relationship a total year earlier David Hale’s bum loan, and was in fact repaid by McDougal before the Hale loan even took identify! Chunk 2 ($25,000), used by James McDougal to buy country almost the Whitewater project in 1986, was never really in the Whitewater business relationship, and in fact “messed upwardly Whitewater’due south residual canvas…adding a huge liability.”
In short, half of this coin that the Clintons were accused of stealing from the government had absolutely nothing to do with them or the infamous bad loan, and the other half was used past James McDougal for a split bargain and ended up losing money for the Clintons!
And so much for
outrage. I guess it’s probably too much to demand an amends from all the shoddy journalists who were quick to publicly lambaste the President and Get-go Lady before they checked their reporting.
Fools for Scandal: The Real Story of Whitewater
Aspiring journalists take note: While the rest of the national media were falling over themselves to publish nonsensical stories about imaginary misdeeds, one reporter from the
Gene Lyons, chose to break ranks and investigate the real scandal most Whitewater — the failure of most anybody in the national press to even attempt a coherent understanding of what really happened. Lyons’s book,
Fools for Scandal,
is hands down the best read you’re going to observe about the Whitewater scandal. Since the book exposes the complete idiocy of the journalistic institution over this issue, naturally it was panned in the
New York Times
every bit a “nasty” book. Yet, to those of you who want to pierce the veil of deceit and find out how seriously screwed upwardly today’due south reporting can be, I highly recommend it.
(C) 1998 James Carville All rights reserved. ISBN: 0-684-85734-0
The Special Investigation Into the Whitewater Real Estate Scandal