ROBERT RAY'S INVESTIGATION -- AND REFUSING TO PROSECUTE CLINTON
THE CLINTON PARDONS
THE DEATH OF THE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL ACT
THE COST OF "STARR WARS"
Upon completion of high school in Arkansas, Clinton moved on to the University of Arkansas. Starr finished his high school education in San Antonio, and he likewise enrolled at Harding College in Arkansas. After both completed their college education, they moved on to postgraduate work in the nations capital. Clinton attended Georgetown University, while Starr studied at George Washington University. Clinton was a Senate aide when Starr was a House aide. Clinton was awarded a Rhodes scholarship while Starr missed a Marshall scholarship. It became clear that as the two moved along the same track in Washington D.C., Clinton operated from a charismatic standpoint while Starr lacked that glowing appeal.
Clinton spent a large portion of his life reading biographies of his predecessors, hoping to learn how he could shape his presidency so that he would go down in history as a great leader. His friends have said that he values his legacy above all else. Instead, Clinton is likely to go down in history as the president who used a White House intern not much older than his daughter for sex; who lied to the public; who humiliated his wife and daughter; who sent his trusting aides and cabinet secretaries before the public to vouch for his innocence; and who betrayed his supporters.
When Clinton campaigned in 1992, he promised to "reinvent government" by ending 12 years of conservatism under Reagan and Bush. Clinton promised a program of liberal activism whereby he would transform federal bureaucratic red tape into an efficient government. He hoped to bring a halt to programs which benefitted the wealthy and set out to institute an agenda which would bolster the lower and middle classes.
Clinton campaigned in 1992, promising to make sweeping changes by overhauling the nation's health-care system where over 40 million Americans were uninsured. However, he quickly fell victim to intense opposition by multi-million dollar special interest groups and conservative Republicans, so he was coerced into abandoning his plan. Clinton could have been the first president to claim that he provided health insurance for all Americans, but instead the United States embarrassingly -- along with South Africa -- remained the only two industrialized on Earth which deny health care to all its people.
On a secondary level, Clinton campaigned in 1992 to terminate discrimination against gays in the military. That also ran into roadblocks from the military and conservative legislators -- and a vast number of homophobic Americans -- and the president was resigned to settle for a relatively meaningless "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.
In less than two years, Clintons liberal activism was replaced by the conservative Republican economic agenda. Clinton's presidency paralleled that of John Tyler in the 1840s. Tyler, branded "a Democrat in Whig clothing," followed the economic policy of Democratic President Andrew Jackson. Much of Clinton's fiscal policies resembled that of Reagan and Bush. Welfare reform, balancing the budget, increased military spending, and shrinking the federal government were all programs stolen from Republicans.
**Clinton proposed the largest increase in the Pentagon's budget in nearly a decade and the largest since the Cold War buildup of the mid-1980's. His proposal for the fiscal 2000 budget reversed years of dwindling resources. Clinton acquiesced to the demands of conservative
**Republicans and the Pentagon, proposing an increase of more than $4 billion to nearly $269 billion and another $100 billion over the next six years. That was the first increase, discounting inflation, since 1991, when spending was slightly for the Persian Gulf War. Altogether, the Pentagon netted $12 billion in new money to spend on new equipment, spare parts, and raises for the nation's military. Clinton also proposed $8 billion over six years for a national missile system, the Theater High-altitude Missile Defense System (THADD). This was similar to the Reagans Star Wars, a failure which resulted in a loss of $40 million.
**Clinton pushed through the line item veto, although later it was struck down by the Supreme Court.
**Clinton endorsed the GOP platform to lower taxes for the wealthy by supporting a drastic reduction in capital gains taxes from 28 percent to 20 percent. His only quarrel with the Republicans was over a couple of percentage points.
**Clinton, along with the GOP, moved to balance the budget. The president only haggled with the Republican Congress people over the details on whether it should be accomplished over five years or seven years. In order to achieve this goal by 2000, Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress were forced to slash social programs such as welfare for the needy -- while corporate welfare remained intact.**Clinton ended federal responsibility for the needy by terminating AFDC for low income families. He turned the welfare program over to the states, inviting state governments to make arbitrary changes which would deprive needy recipients of more benefits. Additionally, Clinton and the Republicans terminated welfare to legal immigrants. By signing the 1996 welfare law, Clinton reassured his reelection in November 1996.
**Clinton pushed successfully to deregulate the industries of cable television, pay telephones, and electricity. This has resulted in higher prices for the consumer and higher profits for the corporations. Clinton pushed for free trade by supporting both NAFTA and GATT. As a result, tens of thousands of American jobs were sent abroad, and profits of American corporations increased. The president also stepped aside and allowed multi-billion dollar companies to merge. This downsizing resulted in the loss of more jobs, as salaries of corporate management personnel escalated.
**As a result of Clinton's conservative "trickle down" economic policies, the rift between the wealthy and the poor -- which widened more during the Reagan-Bush years than in any other decade since the Great Depression -- continued to increase.
Clinton was forced to compromise after the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, as he sought a common ground to appease the GOP on such issues as the environment, health care, and "values" like endorsing school uniforms and curfews for teenagers. He failed to reach a settlement with the tobacco industry until six years into his administration when the agreement clearly favored big tobacco. He never was able to an accord on campaign finance legislation, as uncontrolled soft money contributions continued to flow into Republican and Democratic coffers. In 1998, the White House and Congress finally reached an agreement over the budget, but the two sides quickly headed toward a showdown over taxes and spending. Furthermore, as he approached the end of his second term in the White House, he could not overhaul the faltering Social Security and Medicare systems.
In early and mid-1998, Clinton's presidency appeared to be in a free fall. He acknowledged deceiving the nation about his relationship with Lewinsky which deeply crippled his presidency, as the world questioned his moral fiber. His moral authority was eroded. In January, he said he did not remember being alone with Lewinsky and never had an affair with her, and in August, he said they had a half-dozen sexual encounters. In January, he did not recall any specific gifts he gave her, and in August, he named at least three he presented just after Christmas. He said that he was not sure he talked with her about testifying other than making a joke about it, and in August he said they discussed how to respond to a subpoena. In January, he was uncharacteristically "forgetful" when he was questioned under oath in the Jones civil case, and in August he was forced to justify those statements during testimony to the grand jury.
Eventually, Clinton was forced to admit that he had given misleading answers in the Jones deposition which was the basis for accusations of perjury and obstruction of justice. The president deceived the American people as he evaded questions. He was ambiguous and not forthcoming. He was not fully truthful. He was combative when he should have been contrite. Clinton maintained that he never lied from the legal aspect. He never showed any signs of contrition for several weeks after he had acknowledged having the sexual relationship. And then he was contrite only when it became politically expedient for him to do so.
His August testimony made millions of Americans angry as he forced the country to go through eight agonizing months. Eighty witnesses were subpoenaed, and they were forced to pay hefty attorney fees. There were constitutional showdowns over Secret Service testimony and attorney-client privilege. Over $4 million were spent by the Clinton's pertaining to his sexual encounters with Lewinsky.
CLINTON: CONTEMPT IN THE PAULA JONES CASE. Clinton hoped that the impeachment hearings and trial were behind him. However, in April 1999, Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled that Clinton was in contempt of court for giving "intentionally false" testimony about his relationship with Lewinsky in the Jones lawsuit. This marked the first time that a sitting president had been sanctioned for disobeying a court order.
Wrights decision revolved around the charge approved by the House Judiciary Committee but defeated by the full House as it voted to impeach Clinton: that the president lied under oath in the civil lawsuit. The Little Rock federal judge cited Clinton's response to questions by Jones's lawyers during his deposition in January 1998 when he said he did not remember ever being alone with Lewinsky, and she also cited ethe president when he testified, "I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky." Additionally, in Clintons testimony before the Starr grand jury in August 1998, he stated that he had been alone with her "from time to time" and acknowledged an "inappropriate intimate relationship" with Lewinsky.
In finding that Clinton deliberately lied in the Jones deposition and his written answers to questions posed by her lawyers, Wright ordered Clinton to pay "any reasonable expenses, including attorneys' fees, caused by his willful failure to obey this court's discovery orders." Wright also said Clinton should repay the $1,202 she incurred in traveling to Washington at Clinton's request to oversee the deposition, and she referred the matter to state judicial authorities in Arkansas who could disbar Clinton for violating the legal profession's rules of conduct.
Wright announced that Clinton gave "false, misleading and evasive answers that were designed to obstruct the judicial process" in the Jones' lawsuit. She specifically cited Clinton's assertions that he was never alone with Lewinsky and that he did not have a sexual relationship with the former White House intern. Wright maintained: "Sanctions must be imposed, not only to redress the president's misconduct, but to deter others who might themselves consider emulating the president of the United States by engaging in misconduct that undermines the integrity of the judicial system."
MOVING TO DISBAR CLINTON.In May 2000, the Arkansas Supreme Court's disciplinary committee recommended that Clinton be disbarred for what it described as "serious misconduct" by the president when he gave misleading answers under oath in the Jones sexual harassment case. Kendall said that Clinton would "vigorously dispute" the panel's recommendation when it goes before a Pulaski County circuit court judge for disbarment proceedings. In an 87-page document, Kendall asserted that the president may have been evasive while testifying in the Jones deposition but that his statements were "not legally false."
GENNIFER FLOWERS PROCEEDS WITH HER LAWSUIT. A federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled in November 2002 that Gennifer Flowers, could pursue a libel and conspiracy case against Hillary Clinton and two former top presidential aides, James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. The 3-0 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling by District Judge Philip Pro of Las Vegas, who threw the case out in 2000, saying it had been filed too late and that some of the allegedly libelous statements were mere statements of opinion. (Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2002)
Over a span of nearly five years, Starr ran up a bill of approximately $45 million. He was given an unlimited budget, and he was virtually not accountable to anyone. When he ran into roadblocks while investigating Whitewater, Filegate, and Travelgate for four years, he was revitalized after he was contacted by Tripp. Her "tell-all" tapes immediately inspired him to launch an unreasonable and often reckless investigation into the private and sexual life of an American president. And at times, the independent counsels investigation was illegal as well. Starr was not forthright, as he acted at times with duplicity and in a disingenuous manner.
Starr will go down in history as an obsessive, reprehensible, and relentless prosecutor who was determined to bring down the president at any cost. He personified Detective Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Valjean dedicated his entire life to hunting down a thief who had stolen a loaf of bread from a Paris bakery.
Starrs investigation took on a form of sexual McCarthyism when he declared "open season" on sexual infidelities. That quickly snowballed into a national witch hunt, as the sex lives of several politicians were exposed. Speaker-elect Bob Livingston resigned from the House, and several other members of Congress were "Larry Flynted" as their sexual infidelities, too, became part of the public domain. Livingston's disclosure followed similar confessions of affairs by Congressman Hyde, Congressman Burton, and Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth.
Starr paralyzed the government by placing the impeachment proceedings on the front burner. Important policies and issues were tabled. Crucial issues such as health care, Social Security, Medicare, education, and the fiscal 1999 budget were placed on the sidelines.
The independent counsels case was based on inferences and conjecture -- not on facts. The year-long battle to oust the president was the most blatant and outrageous action taken by Starrs office and perpetuated by the Republican-dominated House and Senate since the 1868 impeachment of President Andrew Johnson by Radical Republicans. In 1998 and 1999, the attack was carried out by an out-of-control independent counsel and zealous congressional Republicans.
STARRS UNCONSCIONABLE "COWBOYS." Starrs unlimited budget enabled him to stack his office with 30 lawyers -- known as Starrs "cowboys" -- and 10 investigators. The independent counsels brain trust was led by two conservative legal activists, Ronald Rotunda of the University of Illinois Law School and William Kelley of Notre Dame Law School who were paid consultants. Kelley had clerked for Starr when he was a federal judge -- and for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -- and was brought back once again when Starr was named solicitor general. Rotunda was assistant majority counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee and was brought aboard by Starr in August 1997. When Starr was appointed independent counsel, a reporter asked Rotunda about his politics. Giving the impression that he was a moderate Republican, Rotunda answered, "I vote a split ticket generally, but I'm not ashamed to say that I'm generally a Republican." However, that was not the full truth. Rotunda bragged of having close connections to conservative organizations.
According to The Nation, Rotunda served on boards of directors for the Federalist Society, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and the Heartland Institute, as well as working for the Heritage Foundation. The Federalist Society is a premier right wing legal organization. The Ethics and Public Policy Center is headed by Elliott Abrams, a former Reagan under-secretary of state who was assigned to Central America during the Contra war. As a result of the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987, Abrams was convicted of duplicity in the arms-for-hostages . Then five years later, Abrams was one of several felons who was exonerated by President Bush who issued the Christmas Eve pardons in 1992. In addition Rotunda has been a member of the advisory council of the Ethics and Public Policy Center which opposes judicial activism. Other members of the center include William Bennett, C. Boyden Gray, and William Kristol.
Rotunda is also a vice chairman of the Professional Responsibility Practice Group whose trustees includes Robert Bork, Orrin Hatch, Edwin Meese, and Christian Coalition president Donald Hodel. Rotunda is also on the board of policy advisers for the Heartland Institute which promotes ultraconservative policy workshops such as the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the Institute for Justice. The Institute for Justice claims that the greenhouse effect is a myth. As a member of the Heartland Institute, Rotunda produced a paper defending the constitutionality of term limits. He wrote a study on the War Powers Act and contributed to a 1998 memorandum attacking the Antiballistic Missile Treaty for the Heritage Foundation.
STARRS CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. In the four years that Starr served as independent counsel, he acted unethically as a law partner for Kirkland & Ellis. He defended some clients who clashed with Clinton on the issue of tobacco. Starr also represented Brown & Williamson and Philip Morris in a 1996 class action lawsuit. Starr was also a member of the Washington Legal Foundation which was partially funded by the tobacco industry.
Starrs conflicts of interest also extend to his representation of International Paper which had sold land to the Whitewater Development Company. He also represented International Paper, whereas it was his predecessor Fiske who stepped down as independent counsel because of his connection with the paper giant.
As President Bushs solicitor general, Starr was involved in Bell Atlantics lawsuit against the federal government. Yet when Starr left the Bush administration in 1993, he immediately went to work for Bell Atlantic. Webster Hubbell, an associate attorney for the DOJ under Clinton, informed Starr of a possible conflict of interest. Starr ignored the warning and later turned the tables on Hubbell, indicting him three separate times.
Starr also had done legal work for the Bradley Organization, a Richard Scaife organization, which supported the Landmark Legal Foundation, the Free Foundation, and The American Spectator, all of which are unabashed Clinton-haters. After being named independent counsel, Starr continued to speak before various ultraconservative groups such as Pat Robertson's Regent University in 1996.
ACTING UNETHICALLY, RECKLESSLY, AND PERHAPS ILLEGALLY
Starr acted unethically and unconscionably when he was informed of the Tripp tapes. In fact, evidence indicates that Starr knew about the Tripp tapes much earlier than he had admitted. When the independent counsel received the tapes, he set a trap for Clinton to perjure himself by collaborating with Tripps lawyers in order to set the stage for Clinton to allegedly perjure himself. Tripp's information came just in time to help the Jones attorneys grill the president extensively under oath about his relationship with Lewinsky. Joseph DiGenova, a former United States attorney and independent counsel, said, "Ordinarily, you would tell a witness not to talk about an investigation in which the witness is wearing a wire or otherwise cooperating. You sure wouldn't want anyone to talk about it unless that would be part of a plan to draw others out."
Evidence indicated that Starrs office collaborated with a Jones attorney from November 1997 to January 1998. This provided the information to set a perjury trap for the president. The allegations of collusion between Starr's office and Jones lawyers arose from the fact that
Tripp found her way to Starrs office. Starr quickly gave immunity to Tripp within a span of 24 hours. Tripp even suggested a few questions which could be asked the president. Before the Tripp tapes were turned over to the special prosecutor's office, the president was not under suspicion of perjury. Starr was expecting Tripp to share information with the attorneys for Jones. Tripp's attorney, James Moody, said he advised Starr's deputies just days before Clinton's testimony that the Jones team wanted to question the president under oath. Jones lawyers were desperate to talk to Tripp before questioning Clinton under oath. According to one person close to Tripp, they had left four increasingly "frantic" telephone messages for her. According to one source, "They were hoping the Jones people would ask the right questions of Clinton."
Starr must have known that Tripp had tape-recorded her phone conversations with Lewinsky weeks before January 12, 1998, the date when he said he first learned of the tapes. Disclosures about Tripp's activities were made to Starr's office in the week before January 12. When Tripp consulted her lawyer in December, he apparently told her that the taping was illegal under Maryland law. Goldberg told the Associated Press that Tripp then "panicked" and sought a new lawyer who might get her immunity. Goldberg and other friends of Tripp then approached several politically conservative lawyers known to be supporters of Starr, including Theodore Olson, an assistant attorney general in the Reagan Administration and a close friend of Starr's. The independent counsel's allies had the opportunity to pass along information to him that Clinton had engaged in an illicit relationship with Lewinsky.
More evidence indicated that Starr knew about the tapes much earlier than he had admitted. The Los Angeles Times reported that Tripp made contacts regarding Lewinsky with David Pyke, a lawyer for Jones, as early as November 21, 1997. Gilbert Davis, who represented Jones until September 1997, acknowledged that the Jones team repeatedly sought advice on the case from Olson.
Starr maintained that he had no knowledge that Tripp passed along information to the Jones lawyers the night before Clinton's January 17 deposition. Months later, Starr told the DOJ that his office had had "no contacts" with Jones legal team. However, the OIC stated that just days earlier an attorney working closely with the Jones camp had contacted a Starr prosecutor about the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship. If this is true, then Starr had a clear conflict of interest in investigating the Lewinsky affair because of undisclosed contacts with the Jones camp, both before and after he became independent counsel.
However, Starr maintained that he never had in early contacts with Jones legal team back in November and December 1997. The OIC claimed that Starrs deputies had their first contact with Jones lawyers on January 15, 1998. Eric Holder Jr., the Deputy Attorney General, wrote in his three pages of notes of a January 15 meeting with Starr's prosecutors: "They've had no contact with the plaintiffs attorneys." Additionally, handwritten notes by two other Justice Department officials, Monty Wilkinson and Josh Hochberg, corroborated the statements attributed to Starr's prosecutors. And notes taken by another participant in the meeting, Steven Bates, a prosecutor in Starr's office, indicated that Jackie Bennett, one of Starr's deputies, told the Justice Department officials: "We've had no contact with the plaintiffs' attorneys. We're concerned about appearances."
If Starr had not known about the Tripp tapes, then his deputies would not have confronted Lewinsky for the first time on January 16. According to the Starr report, while the affidavit had already been sent to the Jones lawyers by January 16, Judge Susan Webber Wright did not receive it until the next day. If Starr knew of the tapes weeks before the time which he had acknowledged, it would mean that he deceived Attorney General Reno when he explained the chronology of events to her on January 15 in his request to her to expand his jurisdiction to include Lewinsky.
Starr never questioned Tripp about the legality of the clandestine tapes, particularly because it is illegal to record another person if he or she is not privy to it. The independent counsel did not inform Reno that he had counseled Jones' lawyers soon after the January deposition. This would have mandated that Reno send the case elsewhere.
Starr discussed the issue of presidential immunity with Davis, Jones attorney. In an interview soon after the immunity deal, Davis said that he spoke with Starr about half a dozen times in June and July 1994, shortly before Starr was named independent counsel for the Whitewater investigation. Davis said he first called Starr to discuss presidential immunity because "he was a constitutional scholar who had already taken a position on it" during television news show appearances. Davis said that Starr was "helpful" in pointing out relevant legal cases and providing guidance on the immunity question. Davis continued by saying that he did not follow Starr's advice on the key procedural matter of whether the question of immunity should be decided before the sexual harassment lawsuit continued. Davis also said that he never paid Starr for his advice.
Starr and his "cowboy" deputies treated witnesses improperly and unreasonably, pressuring them if they stood in the way of his investigation.
First, there was Lewinsky. From the outset, Starr's deputies sequestered Lewinsky for 11 hours and denying her due process for most of that time. After having lunch with Tripp at the Ritz-Carleton, OIC attorneys and FBI agents escorted Lewinsky to a hotel room for questioning. While isolated Lewinsky said that she was prevented from calling her attorney. When Lewinsky asked to speak with her mother, Starr's deputies said that she was a 23 year old and "didn't need to talk to her mommie." Starrs deputies offered Lewinsky immunity without her attorney present. DOJ regulations specify that a client must have counsel present when he or she is offered immunity in exchange for testimony. The rules of ethics also say that prosecutors should not question people behind the backs of their lawyers and that they should honor a request to speak with a lawyer. Under the Supreme Court's Miranda ruling, prosecutors must stop questioning a person who is in custody who requests a lawyer.
Second, Starr's office subpoenaed Marcia Lewis, Lewinsky's mother, and for two days forced her to testify against her daughter.
Third, the OIC went after Julie Hiatt Steele who contradicted the story of her life-long friend, Kathleen Wiley, that Clinton had made sexual advancements on her.
When Starr learned of Wileys allegations against the president, she became a pivotal witness in his crusade to nail down Clinton. But in Steeles grand jury testimony, she maintained that Wiley asked her to lie to Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff about her alleged sexual encounter with Clinton. Steele said, "I told Mr. Isikoff that I wanted to set the record straight before he published the story and I proceeded to explain to him that Ms. Wiley had asked me to lie to support her version of the event and that I had in fact, done so. I told him that I had not seen Ms. Wiley the day she claimed to have met with President Clinton and that I had never heard any allegations of improper conduct by President Clinton until she called to tell me her story in 1992 as Mr. Isikoff was en route to my home."
Starr obviously hoped to discredit Steele's credibility as a witness. Starr's deputies twice subpoenaed her to testify before a grand jury. His deputies combed through bank, credit, and telephone records. The independent counsel also subpoenaed her family members including her daughter and her neighbors. Steele's tax accountant was subpoenaed twice. Starr's office also inquired about the legality in her adoption of an orphan from Romania in 1990. All this was done to determine if she was vulnerable to threats emanating from the White House.
The very day that the Senate impeachment trial opened -- January 7, 1999 -- a grand jury indicted Steele on charges of obstructing justice and lying when she contested Willey's story that the president sexually harassed her. Steele was charged with three counts of obstruction of justice and one count of false statements. Among other things, the indictment accused Steele of filing a false affidavit in the Jones litigation. The indictment said that Steele initially declined to sign the affidavit on January 28 on the advice of her attorney but that "sometime thereafter ... changed her mind." It did not state why she supposedly changed her mind, but did state that she was interviewed by "an attorney for President Clinton" three weeks before signing the affidavit on February 13. Steele plead not guilty to the charges.
Steeles attorney, Nancy Luque, charged that Starr had a conflict of interest because of his prior contact with lawyers in the Jones case before he was appointed to investigate the Clintons. Starr spoke on several occasions with Jones's lawyers about whether a civil case could move forward against a sitting president. Luque claimed that the indictment was incorrectly filed in Virginia because Starr wanted to avoid dealing with the federal courts in the District of Columbia. Luque also said that Starr had a conflict of interest stemming from the Jones case.
In May 1999, Steeles trial on charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements. began. It was puzzling that Starr singled out Steele because she retracted her earlier support for Wiley's story. Why did Starr choose to believe Wiley instead of Steele's sworn retraction that questioned Wiley's truthfulness? To add to Starrs flimsy case, another witness cast more doubt on Wileys claim that she was fondled by the president. Harolyn Cardozo, like Steele an ex-friend of Wiley's, told the FBI that Wiley boasted that she could become famous as a Clinton accuser. In addition, Wiley reportedly had passed one polygraph test but failed another. Steele's lawyers refused to confirm this, but they did say, "There is a substantial polygraph issue with regard to their own witnesses."
Steele repeatedly claimed that Wiley was lying and that Starr did not want to believe the truth -- that Steele knew nothing about Clintons alleged advances toward Wiley. On the other hand, Wiley charged that Steele was lying. Both Tripp and Susan McDougal damaged Starrs case. Earlier, Tripp had testified that, when Wiley left the Oval Office after she alleged that she was fondled, she appeared disheveled. However, Tripp claimed that Wiley appeared to have enjoyed the encounter and was not upset as Wiley had claimed to have been. In addition, McDougal testified that Starr should have been the person on trial for attempting to force false testimony. Thus, the story played out to each player pointing the finger at another: Steele accusing Wiley; Wiley accusing Steele; Tripp accusing Wiley; Starr accusing Tripp; and McDougal accusing Starr.
Starrs deputies called Mitchell Ettinger who was a former member of Jones legal team. He testified that he asked Steele to sign an affidavit saying Wiley had asked her to lie about the encounter with Clinton. Ettinger testified that after some initial reluctance, Steele ultimately agreed to sign the affidavit, but "I can tell you it wasn't at my urging."
Wiley was constantly attacked by Steeles attorneys. She was accused of lying about the incident and forgetting key details. Wiley acknowledged repeated lapses of memory and contradictions in her accounts of how she was allegedly fondled. She placed some blame on a mystery jogger who she said threatened her just days before she gave a deposition in 1998. Wiley said a man approached her and addressed her by name. She testified that "he asked if I had found my cat" which had disappeared, and whether she had gotten new tires for her car, which had been vandalized. He also knew her children's names. Wiley said that when she asked the man how he knew these details, he answered, "You're just not getting the message, are you?"
Steeles attorneys portrayed Wiley as a vindictive woman bent on damaging the credibility and character of Steele. Wiley was forced to concede that she had told Starrs office damaging gossip about Steele and other associates. Wiley also admitted that she told the OIC that Steele's adoption of a Romanian boy may have been improper as well as stating that Steele had an eating disorder and that another woman she knew may have slept with the president. Steeles attorneys also pressed Wiley on whether she had used Steele as "an alibi" to cover up a trip to Philadelphia to see a married policeman. Wiley was forced to acknowledge that she had lied to Starr's office about the circumstances of an ugly breakup with a boyfriend. Steeles attorneys claimed that Starrs office had given Wiley a new immunity deal and continued to use her testimony in pursuing Steele even after Wiley admitted lying to them about the ex-boyfriend.
In May, Steele's trial ended when the jury was "hopelessly deadlocked." The mistrial was a second setback in a month to Starr's office. Just weeks before, a Little Rock jury acquitted Susan McDougal of one count of obstructing justice when she refused to testify before a grand jury about the Clintons' Arkansas financial dealings.
During Steele's trial, her attorney, Eric Dubelier, attacked the motives and tactics of Starr's prosecutors. He asked Wiley to describe a confrontation with Steele at a Richmond supermarket over Easter weekend. Wiley acknowledged that she had called Steele an obscenity. Dubelier continued to question the credibility of Wiley who was forced to acknowledge that she had lied to investigators about a relationship she had in 1995 with a younger man. She said she did so because she was embarrassed about the affair.
Shortly after the mistrial, Starr announced that he would not seek to retry both Steele and Susan McDougal.
Fourth, Starr also threatened Little Rock consultant Sarah Hawkins with indictment when he had no evidence that she was involved in illegalities. After initially cooperating with Starr's deputies in the Whitewater investigation, Hawkins was told that if she did not plead guilty to a felony, she would be indicted for bank fraud. Hawkins refused to comply to Starr's ultimatum, and she continued to be threatened by the investigators even though she continuously told them that she had no information on Whitewater. As a result her consulting business collapsed. Starr's ethics adviser, Sam Dash, called the independent counsel's treatment of Hawkins "vicious."
Fifth, Starr's office pressured Steve Smith, a long-time Clinton adviser, to testify about matters which were untrue involving Whitewater. Smith said that he had told investigators the same things repeatedly. He said, "They kept trying to get me to say things that weren't true. They told me to sign a document that they had written that simply was not true." When this failed, the tactics of Starr's deputies changed. "They said they were going to subpoena my mother, who was seventy years old and knew nothing."
Sixth, one of Starr's deputies subpoenaed a 16 year old at his high school, and this once again reflected Starrs behavior of intimating witnesses. In April 1997 Starr's deputies interviewed Bob Hattoy, a gay activist and White House employee. He continuously was asked if he had helped gays and lesbians achieve federal positions in the Clinton administration.
Seventh, other subpoenas were questionable in the matter in which they were handled. Several government employees and business people, compelled to pay for their own counsel, were in no way whatsoever involved directly or indirectly in any possible illegalities. For example, Marshal Berry, a former secretary for Hillary Clinton, was subpoenaed because the OIC told her, "He said my name had come up in the Monica Lewinsky case." However, Berry began working in the White House long after the events involving the First Lady took place. Starr's office had confused her with someone else named Berry.
FAILING TO PROVIDE A TRUTHFUL AND COMPLETE REPORT. Starr's mandate as independent counsel was to gather and evaluate evidence relating to possible improprieties of the president. His obligation was to operate fairly and free from bias. When the independent counsel testified before the House Judiciary Committee, he failed to reveal evidence which was helpful to the president.
Several weeks after the Starr report was sent to Congress, 3,183 pages of additional evidence were released. Of primary interest to the Democrats were the Tripp tapes and Lewinsky's grand jury testimony. However, this time the evidence had a damaging impact on the special prosecutor. The White House was furious that Starr originally released only conversations which were beneficial to his case against the president.
First, Starr was suspicious that Tripp lied about her handling of the audiotapes which she made of her conversations with Lewinsky, and he refused to deal with the matter. Lewinsky testified that Tripp had lied to Starr about her handling of the audiotapes she made of her conversations. Tripp said that she had not altered or made any copies of the dozens of tapes she turned over to Starr. The independent prosecutor stated that if she knew of any duplication of the tapes, she lied under oath before the grand jury and in a deposition. In addition, Tripp depicted a mentoring relationship that changed once she was secretly wearing an FBI recording device. At one point, Lewinsky said, "I wouldn't cross these people for fear of my life."
Starr said: "If Ms. Tripp duplicated any tapes herself or knew of their duplication, then she has lied under oath before the grand jury and in a deposition." Starr said that for the seven tapes which "contained audible conversations and which exhibit signs of duplication, the Office of the Independent Counsel cannot exclude the possibility of tampering at this time."
Tripp's attorney replied, "At no time and in no way did Linda Tripp alter, duplicate or otherwise tamper with any materials" delivered to Starr.
Second, Starr failed to report to the House Judiciary Committee that Lewinsky had testified that neither Clinton nor Jordan helped her find a job in return for her silence in regard to her sexual affair. After Lewinsky had been subpoenaed in the Jones lawsuit on December 19, 1997, Tripp pleaded with Lewinsky not to sign an affidavit denying a sexual relationship with Clinton until after Jordan had found her employment. Lewinsky testified that, on January 9, Tripp had said to her, "Monica, promise me you won't sign the affidavit until you get the job. Tell Vernon you won't sign the affidavit until you get the job because if you sign the affidavit before you get the job, they're never going to give you the job." Lewinsky said that she told Tripp she would follow her advice. Unknown to Tripp, Lewinsky had already signed an affidavit denying that she had a sexual relationship with Clinton, and Jordan had arranged for her to get a job offer to do public relations work for Revlon at its New York headquarters. Lewinsky said, "What I said to Linda was Oh, you know, I told -- I told Mr. Jordan that I wasn't going to sign the affidavit until I got the job. Obviously, which wasn't true." In addition, Lewinsky testified that "I think I told her that -- you know, at various times the president and Mr. Jordan had told me I had to lie. That wasn't true."
Lewinsky also testified, "I was so desperate for her to -- I was -- for her to not reveal anything about this relationship that I used anything and anybody that I could think of as leverage" to keep Tripp quiet. In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee in September, Kendall seized on this newly released testimony, showing Lewinsky told a grand jury that she was never asked to lie during the Jones lawsuit or promised a job for keeping her affair with Clinton quiet. The Clinton defense team said, "Ms. Lewinsky's sworn testimony directly undermines the central obstruction-of-justice allegations in the (Starr) Referral, and, for that matter, the very basis of the Lewinsky investigation."
Third, Starr did not report to the House Judiciary Committee how Tripp betrayed Lewinsky and acted to convince her to trap the president. Lewinsky said that Tripp urged her not to clean the semen-stained blue dress that proved she had a sexual encounter with Clinton. It was Tripp who urged Lewinsky not to sign an affidavit denying she had an affair with Clinton until the president's friends assisted her in landing a job -- advice that would have set a trap for Clinton had Lewinsky followed it.
Fourth, Starr did not subpoena Goldberg to testify before the grand jury because she was the one who admittedly had encouraged Tripp to tape the phone calls and who apparently was involved in coaxing Tripp to "get the truth." Starr never satisfactorily explained what happened to the tapes which Goldberg told the FBI she made of her conversations with Tripp in September 1997. The independent counsel also dismissed the allegations that some of the tapes had been duplicated by Tripp even though he did concede that seven of the tapes "contained audible conversations and which exhibit signs of duplication."
Fifth, Lewinsky testified that the president never told her to lie about their sexual relationship. Starr needed to include these pieces of evidence in his testimony to the House committee. He failed to provide this information.
Sixth, there were times in the taped conversations that Lewinsky said she did not speak truthfully to Tripp.
These conversations were not reported by Starr in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Presumably, this would place a cloud over the credibility of all the conversations between the former intern and Tripp.
MOVING TO INVESTIGATE STARR. In October 1998, Clinton's attorney, Robert Bennett, called on the House Judiciary Committee to determine whether Starr acted unlawfully and inappropriately. Bennett complained that politics and congressional investigations have merged to pursue "conspiracies around every corner" and damage the reputations of politicians. A Clinton adviser said that Starr "hardly came into this as a neutral. Clearly he had been collaborating. It goes to the issue of whether he should have been the independent counsel." Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois said Starr should appear before the Senate Governmental Affairs and Judiciary committees to "answer questions about possible conflicts of interest." Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, also questioned Starr's motives. Nadler said, "He (Starr) wired Linda Tripp before he had jurisdiction, he bullied Monica Lewinsky, he may have set up perjury traps for the president."
In September 1999, a federal appeals court blocked an effort by a chief United States district judge to prosecute Starr's staff. The three judge panel ruled that neither his staff nor one top official, Charles Bakaly III, could be prosecuted for allegedly leaking a story to the New York Times in January 1999. The story said that Starr concluded that he could seek an indictment against Clinton before he left the White House.
THE INVESTIGATION OF STARR BY JUDGE NORMA HOLLOWAY JOHNSON. In the latter part of 1998, there were more calls to investigate Starr for illegal and unethical activities. Starr was accused of illicitly leaking information to Jones attorneys as well as to the media. Additionally, there were allegations that he wiring Tripp before he was given the latitude to expand his investigation and that he acted wrongfully in granting immunity to Lewinsky.
District Court Judge Norma Holloway Johnson acted in response to formal complaints brought by attorneys for Clinton and two presidential aides Lindsey and Blumenthal. They claimed that the OIC deliberately leaked grand jury secrets in an effort to damage Clinton politically. Johnson cited 24 news stories as possible violations of secrecy rules in violation of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which prohibit prosecutors from revealing information about matters before a grand jury. Rule 6(e) of the rules of criminal procedure prohibits federal prosecutors or any personnel working on a federal investigation from disclosing matters before a grand jury and states that knowing violations may be punished as a contempt of court. Johnson broadly defined "matters" before a grand jury to include not only witnesses' testimony but also information that would reveal the identity of witnesses; the strategy or direction of the investigation; and information likely to come before the grand jury at some future date.
Johnson decided to open a special investigation to determine where the leaks originated from in the OIC. She named her own special investigator, known as a "special master," who operated in secrecy and reported only to her. The judge granted the investigator broad authority to hire a staff and to subpoena testimony and documents, including telephone records, telephone logs, letters, facsimiles, notes, memoranda, appointment records, visitor logs, and calendars from Starr's office and from "all relevant parties."
Starr fought to keep Johnsons ruling under seal until the leak investigation was completed numerous leaks -- whether legal or illegal -- emanated from Starr's office. These were calculated leaks intended to persuade the American public that the Clintons were guilty of various allegations. Johnson unsealed the ruling October 30, roughly five weeks after it was issued.
When Starr fought to limit the court-ordered investigation, he lost both legal battles before Johnson. On October 1, the independent counsel wrote Johnson: "Divulging the subject matter and scope of the proceeding at this time will provide a road map for prying and intrusion into it, and necessarily into grand jury matters in an ongoing investigation." In January 1999, 220 pages of legal arguments were made public. At Starr's request, Johnson did not identify the special master. But according to the Washington Post, sources identified him as John W. Kern III, a senior judge with the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals.
Starr also attempted to remove more than half of the contested 24 articles from the court's review. For example, he argued that eight stories concerning immunity negotiations with Lewinsky should not be considered because they did not involve issues then before the grand jury. He also argued that other articles about a semen-stained dress kept by Lewinsky should be exempted from the inquiry because the clothing did not come to Starr through a grand jury subpoena. Besides seeking to limit the investigation, Starr asked Johnson to keep the September ruling under seal because public disclosure "could be exploited by the criminal defense bar in an effort to undermine the integrity" of
Johnson cited several media stories which indicated possible leaks from Starr's office. A January 23 1998 CBS Evening News broadcast said two sources familiar with the independent counsel's investigation told CBS News that was "absolutely convinced that Monica Lewinsky was telling the truth when she was recorded by her friend Linda Tripp." Johnson said, "This insight into the strategy or direction of the grand jury investigation implicates attorneys or agents working for the (independent counsel) as the sources." A January 4 Washington Post report of an immunity offer made to Lewinsky noted "the offer was described yesterday by sources close to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr." And a February 5 CNN report said "sources in Starr's office suggested that, if Monica Lewinsky does not negotiate an immunity deal quite soon, that they are prepared to go ahead and press charges against her."
It also was believed that Starr leaked numerous reports to gain public support for his investigation. In October, it was reported that Arkansas state trooper L.D. Brown told Starr's office that he overheard Clinton ask David Hale to arrange a bad $300,000 loan. In December 1994 three sources told the Associated Press that Starr was investigating the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) which at that time was suing Kirkland & Ellis, Starr's law firm.
In November 1995, Insight magazine reported that Clinton had ties to Dan Lasater who was the target of state and federal investigations into drug trafficking. In April 1996 "a top official with the investigation" said that Hillary Clinton's odds of being indicted were about even, and sources close to the probe suggested that she was guilty of perjury. That same month Insight magazine reported that Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey had a fifty-fifty chance of being prosecuted for banking and tax violations.
Newsweek reported in May 1994 that FBI agents identified Hillary Clinton's fingerprints on Rose Law Firm records. And Starr's team announced that Hillary Clinton's fingerprints were on the Rose Law Firm records, another attempt to brand her as a liar. That same month newspapers published reports that papers were removed from the White House office of attorney Vince Foster after his death. Additionally, newspapers ran stories that "sources close to the case" reported that Starr was ready to indict Webster Hubbell just days before he did so. In January 1996 the Washington Times reported that Whitewater documents were moved from the Rose Law Firm to the Clinton-Gore campaign in downtown Little Rock.
THE INVESTIGATION OF STARR BY THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT.
In November 1998, the DOJ came close to investigating Starr over the handling of the Lewinsky matter. However, as a result of Starrs protests to high level Justice Department officials, the investigation was dropped. Attorney General Reno said Justice officials had dismissed some of the allegations against Starr but had written him a letter at that time seeking his response to other outstanding allegations. She also said then no investigation of Starr had been opened.
After almost three months had elapsed, the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal watchdog organization of the Justice Department, began its investigation of Starr's office.
The inquiry revolved around several matters. The DOJ investigated whether the OIC misled Reno about possible conflicts of interest when they obtained permission to investigate the Lewinsky matter in January 1998. And the integrity of Starr's prosecutors was always a crucial issue. The February 1999 probe focused on several allegations:
**If Starrs deputies failed to disclose the contacts between the OIC and Jones legal team in the weeks leading up to Starr's decision to ask Reno to expand his inquiry beyond the Whitewater matter.
**If Starr abused his authority to convene grand juries; improperly pressing witnesses like Lewinsky.
**If the OIC disclosed secret grand jury information to the news media.
**If Starr improperly offered Lewinsky an immunity deal conditioned on her not discussing it with her lawyer, Frank Carter. DOJ rules prohibit government prosecutors from discussing immunity deals with defendants outside the presence of their lawyers. Starr's office was required to follow these rules unless doing so would undermine the purpose of his investigation. Starr obviously denied any impropriety in his office's dealings with Lewinsky.
In March 1999, in a ruling acknowledging the limits of its power, a federal court panel cleared the way for Reno to investigate allegations of misconduct. Surprisingly, the three conservative appellate court judges, who appointed Starr in 1994, said they had no authority to order Reno to end her inquiry.
THE BAKALY CASE. Earlier in August 1998, Starr had been delivered a blow when Ethics Adviser Sam Dash resigned a day after the independent counsel took an advocacy position when he appeared before the House Judiciary Committee. Later in March 1999, Charles Bakaly, the chief spokesman for Starr, abruptly resigned. Bakaly's resignation came on the heels of a DOJ investigation of unauthorized disclosures by the OIC.
Starr said that he had referred to the Justice Department the results of his office's internal inquiry into possible unauthorized disclosures on January 31, 1998 when he claimed that he had the constitutional authority to seek an indictment of Clinton before the president left the White House. The New York Times reported that Starr had concluded, after conferring with two constitutional-law scholars in his office, that he had the authority to seek an indictment of a sitting president. The article stated that "several associates" of Starr were sources of information and quoted Bakaly as saying: "We will not discuss the plans of this office or the plans of the grand jury in any way, shape or form." This was the first media article which earlier had prompted White House counsel Kendall to accuse the OIC of leaking information.
Bakaly was charged with criminal contempt-of-court charge stemming from a probe of alleged news leaks during the investigation. Bakaly initially denied that he was responsible in any way for a January 31, 1999 story printed in the New York Times. However, he later acknowledged that he had several conversations with and provided guidance and a key internal office memorandum to a journalist who reported that Starr believed he had the constitutional authority to indict Clinton while he still was president.
The story appeared on the eve of Clinton's Senate impeachment trial, enraging the president's attorneys. They charged that Starr's office had leaked secret grand jury information in an effort to influence the Senate trial. The story reported that some attorneys in the OIC wanted to indict Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice in the Lewinsky investigation on the same charges on which the Senate subsequently voted to acquit the president. The New York Times also said that Starr had concluded he had the constitutional authority to seek a criminal indictment of Clinton while the president was still in office.
Bakaly went on national television the day after the story appeared and said the "information did not come from our office ... we did not leak this information ... we do not leak grand jury information." Bakaly was immediately put under suspicion because he acknowledged to Starr that he had spoken with Don Van Natta Jr., the New York Times reporter. Bakaly, however, insisted that he had not provided anything more than what Van Natta had already learned from former Starr aides no longer working in the office and that he had tried to steer the reporter to write an article that would protect the office.
During the impeachment investigation, the president's attorneys, David Kendall and Nicole Seligman, launched a legal assault accusing Starr and his staff of illegally leaking to the news media information covered by federal grand jury secrecy rules about the Lewinsky case. The New York Times (July 7, 2000) said that Starr responded under seal, saying that he was "deeply troubled" by the story. Subsequently, the OIC staff underwent an intense investigation directed by the court. The FBI questioned Bakaly and searched computer files, and eventually Starr asked Bakaly to resign. According to DOJ officials, the Justice Department concluded that Bakaly may have had some involvement in the leak.
Judge Norma Holloway Johnson concluded that the New York Times' story revealed grand jury material, and she sought to hold both Bakaly and the office of independent counsel in contempt. The filing of the contempt charge was initially brought under seal but eventually became public because Judge Johnson granted his request for a public trial.
In September 1999, Judge Johnson was overruled by the federal appeals court here which said that Starr's office had wide latitude to communicate with the news media about its investigation and even about possible indictments. Despite the appellate court's ruling, the investigation into Bakaly continued, shifting to whether he was truthful about his denials of being the source of the leak.
Bakaly's trial began the following July. According to the New York Times (July 14, 2000), John Griffith, the chief prosecutor and former Starr aide, told the court that Bakaly "made false statements and representations in an effort to conceal his involvement." Griffith said that Bakaly later "admitted he had not been fully truthful in his earlier interviews." Griffith charged that Bakaly gave the FBI "changing statements" in nearly every interview, even saying that "he feared he would be disbarred and possibly prosecuted."
An attorney hired by Starr to investigate the leak, Donald Bucklin testified that "Mr. Bakaly indicated he hadn't been a source" for the story. Based on Bakaly's assurances, Bucklin said that he submitted a formal declaration of denial to Judge Johnson in response to White House demands that Starr's office be held in contempt for leaking confidential data. Under cross-examination, however, Bucklin said that he did not include in the declaration some later qualifications that Bakaly suggested to disclose the extent of his contacts with the reporter. Later, after FBI officials had questioned Bakaly over several weeks, Bucklin testified that he realized that his original declaration about Bakaly's flat denial was untruthful and he had the document withdrawn.
FBI agent Mike Erbach, who investigated the alleged newspaper leak, testified at the trial. He said that Bakaly had told him that the informal poll among the OIC's lawyers was taken by Jackie Bennett, Starr's top deputy, as to whether Clinton should be indicted. Erbach did not reveal if he knew the results of the poll, a matter that was not relevant to the trial.
According to the New York Times (July 18, 2000), Bakaly himself acknowledged before the court that portions of his sworn declaration in a leak investigation were incomplete and misleading. He said that he spoke with Van Natta repeatedly over a period of weeks "to try to steer him away" from writing a story that others would conclude had come out of Starr's office. Rather, Bakaly said that he provided a censored internal document to Van Natta that discussed legal issues related to the presidential indictment question that had arisen in the Watergate investigation of Richard Nixon. Bakaly told the court that he wanted Van Natta "to take (a) historical approach." However, Bakaly testified that Van Natta told him he had sources "outside Starr's office" who had told him about "options" being considered by Starr, including a possible sealed indictment of Clinton before he left office. Bakaly denied that he ever discussed Starr's thinking with Van Natta, saying that it would have been privileged information.
Another one of Starr's deputies, Jackie Bennett, was accused by a Texas federal judge of pursuing a "rinky-dink" case in order to prosecute someone in 1993 just prior to latching on to the OIC. Bennett was also accused by others of using grand juries to browbeat witnesses.
Two other assistants were sanctioned for being overly aggressive. Michael Emmick had a case dismissed and Bruce Udolf was fined $50,000 for misconduct in the 1980s. On the day that Lewinsky was detained at the Ritz-Carlton for over 11 hours, it was Emmick, Udolf, and FBI agents who refused to allow her to call her mother or her attorney. The two deputies also threatened Lewinsky with 27 years imprisonment and even the indictment of her mother if she would not cooperate with the OIC. Bakaly was acquitted in mid-October on criminal charges that he made "false and misleading" statements to a federal judge. In a 50 page opinion, Judge Johnson said that federal prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bakaly intentionally lied to her last year about his role in providing information to the New York Times. The judge wrote in her opinion, "Even if some of (Bakaly's) statements are misleading by their negative implication that Mr. Bakaly was not a source of information that he in fact supplied or confirmed, such a finding does not provide a sufficient basis for a criminal contempt conviction for making false statements."
Quoted in the New York Times (October 10, 2000), Bakaly called the ruling "a fair and correct decision." He added, "I always felt that when someone looked at the facts objectively and clearly, they would reach this decision."
AN APPEALS COURT ENDS THE INVESTIGATION OF STARR. In September 1999, six months after the DOJ launched an investigation of the OIC, an appeals court brought a quick halt to the probe. The three judge panel consisted of Judges Patricia Wald, Laurence Silberman, and Karen LeCraft Henderson. Wald was appointed to the court by President Jimmy Carter, Silberman was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, and Henderson by President George Bush.
The judges ruled that Starr and his staff would not have to face contempt proceedings for allegedly leaking damaging information about Clinton. The panel ruled that the OIC did not violate the confidentiality of grand jury proceedings by speaking to reporters about its own internal deliberations over whether to indict Clinton. Thus, the decision was against undue secrecy and in favor of the public's right to know about the Clinton-Lewinsky matter. The judges concluded that Starr's prosecutors did not illegally reveal grand jury secrets.
The decision not only terminated the investigation of Starr's office by the DOJ, but it also ended the plans by Judge Johnson to consider criminal and civil contempt sanctions against Starr and his aides over a January 31. 1999 New York Times article. The story reported that Starr had concluded that he had the constitutional authority to seek a criminal indictment against Clinton while the president was still in office on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from the Lewinsky matter. The three judge panel ruled that Johnson had interpreted secrecy rules too strictly.
THE FUTURE STARR. The partisan Starr will never get the appointment to a judgeship on the Supreme Court, something which he had longed for. But he can rake in millions of dollars in the future by commanding hefty sums: as a corporate board member of perhaps a tobacco giant; as a lecturer at ultraconservative organizations; by signing on to a high powered conservative law firm; or by writing a book.
Starr went back to his million-dollar-a-year position at Kirkland & Ellis. He will never get the appointment to a judgeship on the Supreme Court, something which he had longed for. But he can rake in millions of dollars in the future by commanding hefty sums: as a corporate board member of perhaps a tobacco giant; as a lecturer at ultraconservative organizations; or by writing a book.
ROBERT RAY'S INVESTIGATION — AND THE REFUSAL TO PROSECUTE CLINTON
After Starr's resignation in October, the three-judge panel in Washington D.C. named Robert Ray the new independent counsel. Ray, who had joined Starr's office in early 1999, immediately continued the investigation into alleged interference of Democratic fund-raiser Nathan Landow in the testimony of Wiley in the Jones sexual harassment case, and alleged illegalities associated with the White House Travel Office scandal.
FILEGATE. On March 15, 2000, Ray concluded that the OIC found no credible evidence that Hillary Clinton or senior White House officials were involved in seeking the FBI background files of Republicans. Ray also said that there was no credible evidence that Nussbaum lied to Congress about the hiring of the White House security chief Livingstone whose office gathered the files. Accordingly, the OIC said that criminal charges would not be filed against Livingstone or Nussbaum.
In June, Ray officially closed the FBI files investigation. He concluded that there was "substantial evidence" that Hillary Clinton played a role in White House travel office firings, contrary to her denials, but again said that she would not be charged. The independent counsel said that he could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that "any of Mrs. Clinton's statements and testimony regarding her involvement in the travel office firings were knowingly false," according to the New York Times (June 22). Ray said that she "had discussions with Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster, Chief of Staff Mack McLarty, and long-time adviser Harry Thomason." Ray also noted that Hillary Clinton had a direct telephone conversation with David Watkins, the White House administration chief, that "ultimately influenced Watkins' decision to fire the travel office employees." But Ray concluded that "the evidence was insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that any of Mrs. Clinton's statements and testimony regarding her involvement in the travel office firings were knowingly false."
Ray praised the White House for cooperation, but his tone was just the opposite earlier when he criticized the White House for what he called "substantial resistance" to providing "relevant evidence" to his investigators. According to the New York Times (June 22, 2000), Ray said, "The White House asserted unfounded privileges that were later rejected in court. White House officials also conducted inadequate searches for documents and failed to make timely production of documents, including relevant e-mails."
Ray spent $3.1 million in the first six months that he headed the OIC. During his first half year with the OIC, he said that he would defer any decision about whether to indict Clinton until after the November 2000 elections. But in April 2000 -- seven months before the general election -- Ray announced that he was intensifying his investigation of Clinton. Ray hired six new lawyers with significant prosecutorial and other experience, as well as one investigator, and added an FBI agent to his staff. To pay for the probe, Ray projected that the OIC would need $3.5 million -- an increase of $400,000 -- over the next six months.
Ray announced that the OIC still considered the investigation of Clinton's relationship with Lewinsky an "open matter." According to the New York Times (April 11, 2000), he said that he was actively considering seeking an indictment against the president after he left office. Among the criminal charges being considered against Clinton in the Lewinsky matter were perjury, obstruction of justice, making false statements, and conspiracy to commit those crimes when he was questioned under oath about his relationship with Lewinsky. In addition to Clinton's testimony about Lewinsky, Ray's attention centered around allegations that Clinton made false statements about his relationship with Willey, and that others subsequently sought to silence her.
When interviewed on April 3, Ray said, "It is an open investigation. There is a principle to be vindicated, and that principle is that no person is above the law, even the president of the United States. That is what we have been charged with doing." In June 2000 Ray added that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted in the Travelgate matter.
RAY GOES AFTER CLINTON ON THE DAY OF GORE'S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH. On the very day that Gore was to deliver his acceptance speech for the nomination of the Democratic Party, Ray announced that a new grand jury was seated to consider evidence against Clinton in the Lewinsky scandal. The selection of the jury actually took place on July 11 -- 37 days earlier. But Ray waited until hours -- before Gore was to make the most important speech in his career -- to tell the public that the OIC would determine whether Clinton committed perjury or obstructed justice when he denied, under oath, having had an affair.
Democratic Party loyalists decried the story as a politically motivated leak designed to hurt Gore. New York Congressman Charles Rangel, complained, "If Clinton was to drop dead, the Republicans would dig him up," according to the New York Times (August 18, 2000). The timing of the news ``hours before Al Gore is to give this speech "warrants a federal investigation," commented Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. or Illinois. House Minority Whip David Bonior said, "You can bet your bottom dollar that the Republican Party was behind" the leak. "I think the American people are going to reject this kind of behavior." And Gore spokesman Doug Hattaway said that the judicial system was being "manipulated for political purposes." Even Bush campaign spokeswoman Karen Hughes piped in, claiming, "We think the timing of this was wrong. It was simply not appropriate for this kind of news to come out on Al Gore's big day."
WHITEWATER. The Whitewater investigation came to an end after seven years and 10 months and $52 million. In that time span, the OIC had presided over 21 indictments and 14 convictions. It was the longest and most expensive probe in American history. Ray announced that the OIC would not prosecute either of the Clintons on charges stemming from the Whitewater real estate deal and other Arkansas business transactions. He also found that evidence was lacking to show that the Clintons committed perjury or obstructed justice in the investigation into a complex series of business dealings, some dating back to the late 1970s.
The OIC sought to determine if Clinton lied in testimony during the McDougals' 1996 trial when he denied any knowledge of a fraudulent $300,000 federally backed loan to Susan McDougal during the 1980s. Roughly $50,000 of the money went to benefit of the Whitewater land development. The loan was never repaid. Ray said that evidence was lacking to show that Clinton knew of the loan or lied about it.
Another critical issue involved billing records from the Rose Law Firm on work that Hillary Clinton did for Madison. The records were subpoenaed in 1994 but did not turn up until an aide discovered them in the White House residence 18 months later.
Ray concluded that the evidence was insufficient to show that they "knowingly participated in any criminal conduct," according to the Washington Post (September 20, 2000). Ray added in a six page statement, "This Office determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that either President or Mrs. Clinton knowingly participated in any criminal conduct." However, Ray complained that the White House delayed the investigation by failing to swiftly produce evidence, including the records from Hillary Clinton's law firm.
Ray himself spent more than $3.5 million in his first six months after taking over Starr's investigations, according to a General Accounting Office report released on October 1, 2000. Both Starr and Ray spent nearly $56 million on their probes into Whitewater, the White House travel office firings, the FBI files controversy, and the Lewinsky matter, according to the GAO's tallies. All told, five independent counsels investigating Clinton administration officials spent more than $100 million.
TRAVELGATE.In mid-October, the House Government Reform Committee sent a bitter parting shot at Reno. In a partisan blistering final report, GOP leaders accused her of going to "extraordinary lengths" to protect the Clinton administration from charges of campaign finance abuses. But Democrats characterized the 200 page report from as a political hatchet job, meant to smear the Clinton administration weeks before the election.
Chairman Burton was quoted in the New York Times (October 20, 2000): "Indeed, such an approach undermines the value of congressional oversight." The report was approved by the committee on a voice vote on October 19, with the lone opposition coming from Congressman Waxman, the only Democrat in attendance and the ranking minority member.
The report concluded, "Given the evidence compiled by the committee, iit is hard to escape the conclusion that the attorney general has acted politically to benefit the president, the vice president, and her own political party." Specifically, the committee repeated its view that Reno should have excused herself from reviewing Gore's fund-raising activities because of a clear conflict. She showed even poorer judgment, the committee alleged again, by refusing to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Gore in 1997, despite the recommendations of Freeh and a top prosecutor. And she covered up her political motivations, the report charged.
REFUSING TO PROSECUTE CLINTON. The Clinton investigation came to an abrupt halt on January 19, 2001, one day before the president left office. Ray delivered a slap on the wrist to Clinton, stating that he would not be prosecuted in a federal court when he left office. In return, Clinton was fined $25,000 and was not allowed to practice law in Arkansas for five years. After a nearly seven year investigation by the OIC, the case came to an end.
When the Clinton-Lewinsky story broke in January 1998, Jones was given more encouragement to proceed with her lawsuit. Her attorneys issued a subpoena seeking Lewinsky's testimony in Jones's sexual harassment suit against the president. Clinton's testimony represented the first acknowledgment that he played a direct role in her job searches. In the Jones case, he said he was aware that Currie was helping her look for work but acknowledged nothing about his own role. Clinton's advisers claimed that he was not motivated by a desire to stop Lewinsky from cooperating in the Jones suit, since at that point no subpoenas had been issued in the case. Moreover, they said neither that the January job search yielded no results, either in the form of recommendations or a job. As a result of Clinton's August grand jury testimony, the Jones lawsuit re-emerged after an appeal was lodged four months earlier after a Little Rock federal judge had dismissed the sexual misconduct suit.
Jones' attorneys believed that possible impeachable offenses provided strong grounds to overturn the dismissal of the lawsuit. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear arguments in October on whether to reinstate the lawsuit on the charge that Clinton lied when he testified that he had not had sexual relations with Lewinsky.
When the House was set to impeach the president, lawyers for Clinton and Jones sat down less than a month after the Starr report was released to negotiate the Jones lawsuit. The discussions revolved around how much Clinton would have to pay Jones to achieve a settlement in the suit. Jones' advisers said that she no longer felt a need to prove that Clinton behaved in a sexually irresponsible manner, given the avalanche of detailed material about his relationship with Lewinsky. According to her Rutherford attorneys, any settlement with the president would constitute an admission of Jones' allegations. Thus, the demands for an apology by Clinton was dropped.
The Jones camp moved the ante up to $1 million, and Clinton's attorneys immediately responded by saying that they would settle for $500,000. Clinton knew that a quick settlement would help him present the best case to Congress to battle the impeachment charges. Jones' attorneys dropped her demand for an apology from the president. When the $500,000 settlement was rejected, the lawyers for the president followed with a $700,000 offer and that, too, was declined.
Jones' original attorneys demanded $800,000 from any settlement as compensation for their three years of work before they were fired in 1997. To complicate matters further, New York real estate tycoon Abe Hirschfeld offered to give $1 million to Jones to encourage her to settle her lawsuit. At the time, Hirschfeld was under indictment by the federal government on 123 accounts of tax fraud, and consequently his offer was seen by some as an attempt to gain favor with the Clinton administration. After Hirschfeld's million dollar offer, John Whitehead, Jones lead attorney, contended that Hirschfeld's condition -- to terminate the lawsuit -- was no longer valid because he demanded that no one sue him or his businesses and that nobody from the Jones camp try to file any other claims arising from the lawsuit.
"It's not about money. It's about clearing my good name."
On November 13, Clinton and Jones' attorneys finally agreed to a $850,000 settlement. Jones dropped her original demand that Clinton apologize and admit his improprieties. By settling the seven year long battle, Clinton eliminated the risk that an appeals court would uphold Jones' petition to uphold the validity of the lawsuit. Additionally, the settlement helped to protect Clinton from impeachment by eliminating Jones' appeal which, had she won, would have led to a reversal and further embarrassment about his personal life. In a separate agreement Jones' lawyers said she renounced any intention to accept the million dollars which Hirschfeld had offered to her. The $850,000 was covered by Clinton's personal insurance policies. Also Clinton's defense fund had a balance of over $2 million.
Just as the Senate was about to begin Clinton's impeachment trial, the president ended the case by sending Jones a check for $850,000. The check, which was written on the escrow account of Clinton's lawyer Robert Bennett, was made out to Jones, Davis and Cammarata, the Dallas lawyers; and William McMillan, and the husband of Susan Carpenter-McMillan, who became a spokeswoman for Jones. McMillan helped negotiate the final settlement. More than half of the money, $475,000, came from an insurance policy against civil liability which the president held with Chubb Group Insurance. Clinton purchased the Chubb Group Insurance policy before he was president. The policy was known as a personal liability umbrella, an option often available on standard homeowners' policies.
The remainder of the $850,000 was withdrawn from a blind trust in the name of Hillary Clinton which had assets of slightly more than $1 million. a blind trust that was in Clinton's name was reported in financial disclosure forms to have less than $100,000 in assets. a White House official said that although the trusts were in separate names, they were, in effect, joint accounts.
Jones first set of lawyers, Gilbert Davis and Joseph Cammarata, almost a year earlier submitted legal bills totaling $874,000. Her second set of lawyers, a Dallas firm, said that Jones bills exceeded $1.4 million. The Rutherford Institute of Charlottesville, Virginia helped with Jones legal expenses, paying over $400,000.
In the spring of 1999, Judge Wright ordered the Clinton to pay Jones' attorneys "reasonable expenses" that they incurred as a result of his false testimony in his January 1997 deposition. Wright concluded that Clinton's testimony violated her order that Jones was entitled to information regarding any sexual relations Clinton might have had with any government employees. The judge gave the Jones legal team until May to come up with the figure. Clinton's legal team agreed to reimburse Jones $33,737 for the lawsuit. Wright also ordered the president to pay the federal court in Little Rock $1,202 as reimbursement for the expenses she incurred in January 1998 when she traveled to Washington to preside over his deposition in Jones's sexual harassment lawsuit.
In July, Wright nearly tripled the amount offered by Clinton's counsel, but it was far less far less than the sum sought by the Jones' lawyers . Wright ordered that the president turn over nearly $90,000 to Jones's legal team. This was the first time that a sitting president has been punished for contempt of court. Wright said, "sanctions must be imposed to redress the president's misconduct and to deter others who might consider emulating the president's misconduct." She added, "The court has determined that the president deliberately violated this Court's discovery orders, thereby undermining the integrity of the judicial system."
Wright ordered Clinton to pay $79,999.12 to the the Dallas law firm of Rader, Campbell, Fisher and Pyke, which represented Jones in the final stages of her suit against the president. The firm initially sought $437,825 from Clinton. The firm's attorneys believed that Clinton be required to make payments that served as punishment for his misconduct. However, Wright said that the law only required compensation for otherwise unnecessary legal work caused by his false statements. Because the deposition came close to the end of the case, Wright found that only a small amount of the attorneys' work and expenses could be attributed to Clinton's misconduct. Disappointed by the court ruling, a spokesperson at Rader, Campbell, Fisher and Pyke said, "The order falls far short of awarding the proper amount of attorney's fees and expenses."
Wright also ordered Clinton to pay $9,484.93 to the Rutherford Institute which raised funds to bring the Jones lawsuit. The institute originally sought $58,533.03, and John Whitehead, president, said that he was disappointed over the amount of the settlement. He said, "Philosophically the opinion is good, but the fee issue is important."
Clinton's attorneys had argued that the Jones lawyers were "demonstrably overreaching" in their original requests and suggested payments of no more than $33,700.
CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST TRIPP. On July 31, 1999, when Tripp was indicted on criminal charges of illegal wiretapping in Maryland. After a 13 month investigation, Tripp was indicted on two counts of violating a rarely used Maryland law that makes it a crime to record telephone conversations without the consent of all parties. Tripp always contended that she recorded more than two dozen phone conversations with Lewinsky in 1997. She also has said she had been warned during that period that secret taping in Maryland was illegal. Tripp had testified to a federal grand jury in July 1998 that she made the December 22 tape, knowing it was illegal, because she "needed to protect" herself.
Maryland is one of only 12 states that make it a crime to tape a conversation without the consent of all the parties. Under federal law, and laws in 38 other states and Washington D.C., only one person must know the call is being taped. The Maryland law also gives prosecutors the extremely difficult task of proving that the person taping the calls knows they are breaking the law.
Howard County State's Attorney Marna McLendon said that prosecution was essential when there was an alleged violation of Maryland law in such a high-profile incident. After the indictment was handed down, she said, "Prosecutors then can't turn away from that heightened sense of information. It would be a terrible message to send to the public."
Each of the wiretapping violations carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of $10,000 or both. The indictment rested on a single telephone call -- charging Tripp with illegally taping a conversation with Lewinsky on December 22, 1997. The second count accused her of "unlawfully disclosing the contents" of that call by instructing her then-attorney, James Moody to play the tape for Newsweek magazine reporters on January 17, 1998. Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff was one of the first to report on the Lewinsky saga.
The December tape included an oft-quoted confession from Lewinsky to Tripp: "I have lied my entire life." But the content was not important to the prosecutors. The conversation was likely chosen, according to one legal source, because it occurred after Tripp was warned that secret taping was illegal in Maryland and before she received her federal grant of immunity.
Tripp would not have faced the same criminal charges had she recorded her telephone calls with Lewinsky in Washington D.C. or Virginia since in those areas taping a phone conversation is legal as long as one party consents. That can be the person recording the call. In Maryland, however, all parties must consent. According to the two-count indictment brought against her yesterday, Tripp violated Section 10- 402(a)(1) and (2) of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, Annotated Code of Maryland:
(a) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this subtitle it is unlawful for any person to: (1) Willfully intercept, endeavor to intercept, or procure any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication; (2) Willfully disclose, or endeavor to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subtitle.
TRIPP'S LAWSUIT In September 1999, Tripp filed an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against the White House and the Pentagon. In her lawsuit Tripp claimed that officials loyal to Clinton sought to embarrass and smear her by "engaging in communications" about her and disclosing the contents of confidential "personnel files, FBI files, security files and other government records" of her White House and Defense Department employee. Tripp named 11 people -- included Hillary Clinton, Deputy White House Counsel Bruce Lindsey, and former Clinton aides Sidney Blumenthal, Harold Ickes, and Mickey Kantor. The complaint also named Pentagon public affairs chief Kenneth Bacon and his former aide, Clifford Bernath, who acknowledged disclosing to the press that Tripp had failed to report in her security file an arrest in New York which had occurred years before her involvement with Lewinsky. In a deposition to Judicial Watch lawyers, Bacon said that he regretted allowing the disclosure without determining if it constituted a violation of the federal Privacy Act. Bacon said, "I wish I had asked the question about the Privacy Act." Tripp was arrested on suspicion of theft of $263 in cash and a $600 watch. She claimed the items were planted in her handbag by friends as part of a teenage prank. The case was resolved in a plea bargain when Tripp pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of loitering.
Tripp said that "for partisan political purposes" she was subjected to "harm to (her) reputation and emotional distress and humiliation." Tripp's lawsuit was vague about alleged actions by Hillary Clinton and other current or former White House officials, except to say that they violated federal civil rights statutes and the Privacy Act of 1974 by engaging in conversations and disclosing confidential information designed to humiliate her and to destroy her credibility as a witness in the Lewinsky investigation. were examined by the White House. Tripp's lawyers said that Pentagon officials released potentially damaging information about her from her personnel security folder weeks after she had informed Starr of her taped conversations involving Clinton and Lewinsky. Tripp's file was among hundreds of security files of Republican appointees improperly obtained by the White House from the FBI at the start of the Clinton administration in 1993.
Tripp's lawsuit was assigned to District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Republican appointee who already was in charge of a two-year-old complaint filed on behalf of Tripp and others whose FBI files had been reviewed by White House personnel.
CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST TRIPP. Meanwhile, the criminal case against Tripp reached a pretrial hearing in December 1999. One primary issue was whether Tripp's immunity agreement with Starr's office protected her from criminal prosecution for allegedly violating a Maryland law that makes it illegal to tape a phone call without the other party's knowledge. Starr's deputies, led by chief deputy Jackie Bennett, testified that the immunity deal was valid. He said that he was so anxious to secure the tapes after talking to Tripp by phone that he and two aides raced out to Tripp's home in Columbia, Maryland to interview her, arriving around midnight. Bennett testified, "There was no federal offense that she had committed." And Stephen Binhak, a former associate prosecutor in the OIC who went with Bennett to Tripp's house, testified that he believed then that Tripp's immunity agreement "would make it all but impossible" for Maryland to prosecute her. Binhak testified, "It was our intent to make sure she was not prosecuted."
However, Maryland state prosecutors maintained that Tripp's immunity agreement did not take effect until it was approved by a federal judge in February 1998, more than a month after Starr's office sent Tripp a formal letter with the immunity offer.
Howard County Circuit Court Judge Diane Leasure ruled that Starr's promise of immunity did not stop Maryland authorities from prosecuting her. State prosecutors convinced her that Tripp's immunity protection did not take effect until more than a month later, when a federal judge approved it. This timing was critical because Maryland prosecutors had to demonstrate at a pretrial hearing that their investigation into the wiretapping allegations against Tripp was conducted independently and was not influenced or tainted by Starr's inquiry. Maryland authorities said that news accounts in late January and early February of 1998 -- before Tripp's court-ordered immunity -- triggered their investigation into her phone recordings.
Maryland State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, who headed the investigation, testified that state authorities uncovered evidence on their own indicating that Tripp knew she was illegally taping her calls with Lewinsky. Months before Tripp called the OIC to inform investigators that she had recorded telephone calls, she had told her bridge partners of the tapes. The four women, also from Columbia, testified that Tripp was well aware that she was violating state law. Patricia Mancuso, a former White House secretary who later went to work for the Pentagon, said, "I knew (it) before it ever came out in the newspapers." The other three women, Ann Manwiller, Catherine Sarkis and Cynthia Haus, also corroborated Mancuso's story. One of the bridge partners said that the Lewinsky tapes were "a topic at their bridge parties on a regular basis. She asked Tripp if such taping was legal in Maryland after seeing her change the batteries on her tape recorder. Tripp responded, "No, but nobody ever gets prosecuted."
Lewinsky also was subpoenaed to testify by Montanarelli. She told the prosecutors that she had not given Tripp permission to record their telephone conversations with Clinton. She also testified that she did not rely on anything she learned from the OIC's investigation of her relationship with Clinton when she identified a particular conversation as having taken place on December 22, 1997. When asked about the February 2, 1998 Newsweek story which included a transcript of a conversation she had with Tripp, Lewinsky replied: "It terrified me because I was concerned about the privacy of my relationship being revealed." Lewinsky said that there were many references in the transcript that made her certain when the conversation had occurred. She testified, "It was clear to me that this was from a conversation I had with Linda Tripp on December 22. It was etched in my mind because it was a pretty frightening time for me." That date was crucial to prosecutors because that was the only conversation that occurred after Tripp had definitively been informed by her lawyer of the prohibitions in Maryland against taping conversations.
Tripp's lawyer, Joseph Murtha, attempted to prove that she passed on some information she received from federal prosecutors after she began cooperating with them. However, upon cross-examination, Lewinsky testified in December 1999 that she independently recalled the December 22, 1997 as being the date of the crucial telephone conversation that Tripp was charged with illegally taping. But Lewinsky told prosecutors in writing in August 1998 that the information came from Tripp's immunized statements to the OIC.
The December 22 date was key because it fell after prosecutors say a lawyer warned Tripp that such taping was illegal but before her federal immunization was in effect. Prosecutors said that Lewinsky remembered the date solely because it was the day that she was preparing to lie in the Jones sexual harassment case about her affair with the president.
In March 2000, Murtha told Maryland Circuit Court Judge Diane Leasure that prosecuting his client on felony wiretapping charges was tainted. The New York Times (March 30, 2000) reported that Murtha contended that Lewinsky had lied under oath. Murtha claimed that Lewinsky clearly sought revenge against Tripp for recording their conversations about the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. Murtha said, "She (Lewinsky) has proven herself to be a liar -- in this courtroom."
On May 5, Leasure refused to throw out the prosecution of Tripp, ruling that she had to stand trial in July. However, the judge imposed limits on the testimony of Lewinsky which made the prosecutors' case more difficult to prove. Leasure said that she limited Lewinsky's testimony because she found that her recollection of events in December 1997 was based partly on her knowledge of Tripp's testimony under a grant of immunity to a federal grand jury in Washington in 1998. Leasure ruled that Lewinsky's testimony to Maryland prosecutors constituted a misuse of that immunity. The judge said that Lewinsky could testify that she never gave Tripp permission to tape their conversations. However, the key tape figuring in Tripp's indictment was made on December 22, 1997, an important date that prosecutors must establish because Tripp was put on notice the previous month, according to other witnesses, that wiretapping was illegal.
In a May 12 motion before the court, prosecutors stated that they needed Lewinsky to testify further. Her voice on the tape or her conversation in a version of the tape that was printed in Newsweek was in question. However, Leasure rejected the request, saying it was really a motion for "reconsideration" of her ruling.
On May 22, Leasure further damaged the prosecution of Tripp by refusing to let Lewinsky authenticate the tape recording. Murtha immediately called on Montanarelli to drop the case. Based on her May 5 ruling, Leasure said that Lewinsky could testify only that she did not give Tripp permission to record their conversations. Therefore, the rest of Lewinsky's testimony would be suppressed. As a result, Montanarelli dropped the charges against Tripp. He said it would be impossible to successfully pursue a trial, indicating that Lewinsky's testimony was crucial to obtaining a conviction. This concluded the only criminal case against a major figure in the most serious White House scandal since Watergate.
Before the criminal case against Tripp came to a halt, the the Pentagon was investigating the release of confidential papers concerning the arrest of Tripp in the 1960s. In March The New Yorker magazine reported that DOD officials disclosed that Tripp failed to tell her superiors about her arrest in upstate New York in 1969 when she was a teenager. The Los Angeles Times (March 22, 2000) reported that she was arrested on suspicion of stealing $263 in cash and a $600 watch. Tripp contended that the items were planted in her handbag by friends as a prank. The case was resolved in a plea bargain when Tripp pled guilty to a lesser charge of loitering. The New Yorker reported that Tripp failed to tell her superiors about the episode. In a deposition to Judicial Watch lawyers, Kenneth Bacon, Assistant Defense Secretary for Public Affairs, said that he regretted allowing the disclosure without determining if it violated the federal Privacy Act. On April 6, 2000, the Justice Department decided not to bring federal charges against Bacon for releasing information from the private file of employee Tripp.
Tripp suffered a setback in August when three federal judges -- Emmet Sullivan, Paul Friedman and Gladys Kessler -- appointed by Clinton took a lawsuit filed by Tripp away from Judge Lamberth. Subsequently, the tribunal assigned the case by computer to one of themselves. The three-some ran the calendar committee that controls the docket at the District courthouse. In a New York Times article (August 18, 2000), they said that the Tripp suit never should have been directed to Lamberth.
Judge Lamberth was critical of the Clinton administration. He ruled in March that the president had committed a criminal violation of the Privacy Act by releasing his private correspondence with Willey to cast doubt on her allegation that Clinton had made an unwelcome sexual advance. Getting Tripp's lawsuit out of Lamberth's courtroom was a victory for the Clinton administration as well as for Bacon.
The decision to remove the case from Lamberth's control came amid a judicial investigation into why Judge Norma Holloway Johnson bypassed the computer system and directed half a dozen criminal prosecutions of campaign fund-raisers and friends of Clinton and Gore to Clinton-appointed judges. The Judicial Council, which oversees judges' conduct, took the rare step of hiring a former United States attorney to investigate the matter which was in its fourth month.
In September 2000, Wiley announced a lawsuit against Clinton, his wife, and his lawyers, alleging that they illegally released personal letters the former White House volunteer sent the president. The lawsuit was handled by District Judge Royce Lamberth because he handled a related lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, the same conservative group representing Wiley. Lamberth was a Reagan appointee who concluded earlier in 2000 that Clinton committed a criminal violation of the Privacy Act by releasing the letters.
Wiley's lawsuit alleged invasion of privacy and recounted the White House's decision to publicize her correspondence with Clinton. The release was designed to undermine her story that she was the victim of a sexual advance by the president in 1993. Wiley wrote the letters after the alleged advance. The White House released the letters in 1998 during the Lewinsky scandal after Wiley detailed the alleged sexual advance on national television. Wiley also alleged that the White House was behind the release of confidential information about the failure to repay $200,000 that her husband at the time took from a client's escrow account. She signed a contract agreeing to repay the money, but never did so.
McDougal was orginally convicted of four fraud charges. She sentenced to two years in prison, was given community service, and was fined $5,000. In October 1996 McDougal was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury to testify about any possible illegalities which she may have been involved in. She refused to answer questions and was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to an additional 18 months. In April 1998 Starr subpoenaed her for a second time to appear before a Little Rock grand jury in federal court. She again refused to answer questions about Clinton's role in Whitewater. She was subsequently indicted on two counts of criminal contempt and one count of obstruction of justice for again refusing to cooperate with Starr's office.
In June 1998, McDougal was freed from federal prison for medical reasons. Her incarceration of 21 months had consisted of 18 months for civil contempt and three months toward her two year sentence for convictions on fraud and conspiracy charges.
McDougal was arraigned on charges of embezzling $150,000 from Zubin Mehta, director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and his wife Nancy. McDougal worked for them as their personal assistant and bookkeeper for several years. McDougal met the Mehtas in the late 1980s when her Whitewater venture was in ruins. She left her husband and moved to Los Angeles with her boyfriend, Pat Harris. Originally, Harris found a job as a manager for rental property which was owned by the Mehtas. After a year, Harris left this position in order to begin law school, and he was replaced by McDougal at an annual salary of $38,000. In addition to managing their property, McDougal eventually replaced their accountant and began handling most of their bookkeeping. Reportedly, McDougal became close friends with Nancy Mehta, traveling together to Europe and Mexico as well as frequently shopping and dining together. Nancy Mehta apparently gave McDougal expensive jewelry and allowed her to move into their opulent Los Angeles home.
However, in 1992, Nancy Mehta became outraged when McDougal refused to accompany her to Italy, deciding to stay behind with her boyfriend. The Mehtas were outraged, and it was at this point that McDougal was first accused of embezzlement. She was accused of forging Nancy Mehta's signature on credit cards and charging more than $90,000 for personal items and defrauding the Mehtas out of $60,000 by forging checks and using other credit cards. She was also charged with income tax evasion.
In November 1998, a Los Angeles superior court acquitted McDougal on all counts. The cost of the trial was estimated at $1.75 million. She still she still had to stand trial in a Little Rock district court in April 1999 on charges of refusing to answer questions about the Clintons before the Whitewater grand jury.
SUSAN McDOUGALS ACQUITTAL IS A DE FACTO INDICTMENT OF STARR. Months later in April , McDougal faced her next jury in Little Rock district court. She was acquitted on the charge of obstructing justice in Starrs investigation of the Clintons, and a mistrial was declared on two other charges of criminal contempt for failing to answer questions to Starrs deputies in her previous Little Rock trial. The vote to hang the jury on the contempt charge was 8-4 for acquittal. On the contempt charge against McDougal, jurors were told they could not consider allegations of prosecutorial harassment by Starr. Yet it was clear that the jurors were influenced by this, Thus becoming a de facto trial of the independent counsel.
Claudia Riley, a long time friend of the McDougals and a witness at the Little Rock trial, corroborated McDougals claim that she was pressured to cooperate with Starr in his investigation of the Clintons. Riley testified that she had heard one of Starrs deputies tell McDougal that Starrs office could "get you (Susan McDougal) out of the California embezzlement case and an IRS investigation of her income tax if she cooperated with the OIC. Riley further stated that she heard the deputy would recommend that McDougal be placed on probation.
Julie Hiatt Steele also testified that McDougal, too, was intimidated and abused by Starrs office. Steele portrayed herself as a victim of unfair tactics used by Starrs office and FBI agents. She said that she was misled into thinking that she might be a witness -- not the target -- of their investigation. Mark Geragos, McDougals attorney, said that Starrs mistreatment of Steele "mirrors the activity that went on with Ms. McDougal." Geragos added that Starrs office acted with intimidation when witnesses did not agree with his deputies.
The result of the trial was a major setback for the independent counsel McDougals attorney called the acquittal a repudiation of Starr's prosecutorial tactics, and all but dared Starr's lawyers to go forward with a retrial on the contempt charges. "I only hope that they retry this. I would like nothing better than to come down here and try Ken Starr again."
To support those allegations, the defense called several witnesses who alleged that they were pressured by Starr's office, including Julie Hiatt Steele. She testified that Starr's lawyers wanted her to support allegations that Clinton made unwanted sexual advances toward her friend, Kathleen Wiley. But when Steele refused to go along, the OIC indicted her, charging her with perjury.
Upon the conclusion of the trial, the jury foreperson said that he was insulted by Starrs attorneys who displayed "a certain amount of arrogance." She contended that there was "yelling and screaming, and one lady even looked like she was coming to tears." On the other hand, some jurors felt that McDougal gained sympathy when she broke down and cried on several occasions while answering questions.
THE CLINTON PARDONS
In his last few days in office, Clinton pardoned 274 people. 176 of those came in his last few hours in the White House. The most controversial pardon involved Marc Rich who had been charged in 1983 with conducting the largest tax evasion scheme in American history. He fought extradition from Switzerland, and never returned to the United States to face trial. He continued to make millions -- and give millions to charity -- but dared not returning to the United States to for a trial.
The United States Attorney's office in New York investigated Rich, Green and Marc Rich & Company, for illegally buying more than $200 million worth of oil from Iran after President Jimmy Carter banned trade with that nation when the new Ayatollah Khomeini took 52 Americans hostage at the American embassy in Teheran.
Prosecutors charged that Rich's companies claimed to be paying higher prices than they actually did for oil. Then they secretly kicked back the profits to co-conspirators and hid money in foreign accounts, routinely reported phony losses to reduce their taxes. One of Rich's oil-trading partner, Pincus Green, dodged price controls on crude oil, contributing to higher gasoline prices for American motorists. They were accused of evading $49 million in taxes on $106 million in illicit oil profits. Furthermore, they violated federal law by trading with the enemy during the Iran hostage crisis.
A federal grand jury handed up a 51-count indictment in September 1983. Neither Rich nor Green showed up for their arraignment. A judge froze Rich's American business accounts and a imposed $50,000-a-day contempt of court penalties. A year later, in October 1984, two of Rich's companies pleaded guilty to criminal charges and paid $200 million in fines and penalties. One of Rich's business associates, Clyde Meltzer, pleaded guilty to a felony in the case, and was sentenced to five years of probation and was fined $5,000.
In 1986, Rich helped resolve a diplomatic impasse between Israel and Egypt over the slaying of a group of Israeli tourists by an Egyptian policeman in the Sinai Peninsula the year before, by paying $400,000 to victims' relatives. Since that time, Israeli officials lobbied the White House to pressure the President to give Rich a pardon. For example, Shabtai Shavit, head of Israel's intelligence service known as the Mossad, wrote in a letter supporting the pardon application that Rich routinely offered financial assistance to and assisted the rescue of "Jews from enemy countries."
Meanwhile in the United States, Denise Rich, his former wife and an Grammy-nominated songwriter, gave the Democrats more than $1 million and hosted a fund- raiser for the president at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998. Donations to the Clinton presidential library from Denise Rich were solicited by Beth Dozoretz, a prominent Democratic Party fund-raiser. Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Dozoretz said that Rich pledged in 1998 to give $350,000. She made three separate donations to the library: $250,000 in 1998; $100,000 in 1999; and $100,000 in 2000.
As the scandal mounted, Clinton wrote an article on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times on February 18, four weeks after leaving office. He categorically denied that contributions by Denise Rich influenced his decision to grant her former husband a pardon. In the article, Clinton said that three prominent Republican lawyers had favored the pardon. But all three denied that.
To further complicate President Clinton's problems, Roger Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton's two brothers became embroiled in controversy over their efforts to obtain pardons for friends and clients. President Clinton's brother-in-law, Hugh Rodham, received nearly $400,000 in fees for lobbying for a presidential pardon and a prison commutation for two wealthy felons. Hillary said that she did not know of his involvement until the story broke, and she urged her brother to return the money.
In one case, investigators tried to determine whether two Arkansas businessmen used the name of Roger Clinton, the former president's half brother, to swindle people out of money by promising pardons and business deals. Roger Clinton told the New York Times (March 9, 2001) through a spokeswoman that though he knew the two men, he had never authorized either one to use his name. In the other case, the Los Angeles Times reported that a lawyer talked his client out of paying Roger Clinton $15,000 to secure a pardon. Attorney Gene O'Daniel said that Phillip David Young, who was convicted of illegally transporting game fish across state lines, was ready to pay the money before he intervened. Young ultimately received a pardon without paying Roger Clinton. Young turned down an initial proposal calling for him to pay Roger Clinton $30,000 to help his presidential pardon request.
In the case involving the alleged use of Roger Clinton's name, Guy Lincecum said that he and his mother paid more than $200,000 to the businessmen for a pardon for his brother but never received one. The checks were deposited in the account of a company called CLM which Lincecum was told stood for the first letters in the last names of Clinton and businessmen George Locke and Dickey Morton.
Another Clinton pardon was given to Almon Glenn Braswell, a businessman convicted of mail fraud and perjury in 1983. It revolved around a case where Braswell claimed he had a treatment for baldness. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison followed by five years' probation. And Carlos Vignali walked out of prison on Inauguration Day after receiving a Clinton pardon. He served six years of a 15-year sentence for participating in a major cocaine ring. His father was a wealthy Los Angeles political contributor. Rodham contacted Clinton's closest adviser in the White House, Bruce Lindsey, at least once in connection with the Vignali case.
* He never met Roger Clinton but that the president's brother was pointed out to him on a hotel balcony while Lincecum was negotiating in the lobby with one of Clinton's associates about paying for the pardon.
* He spoke with Roger Clinton on the telephone, and the president's brother told him: "We're working to solve your problem. ... I can get anything from my brother."
* He was told the money was going to a Washington law firm that would draw up the pardon application and that it would be part of a package of six pardon requests that Roger Clinton was presenting to his brother for approval.
* He was repeatedly given excuses for why the pardon was not coming through, including the president's concern about political fallout from other controversial pardons he granted.
* Finally, he was told that he would be set free on Clinton's last day in the White House: January 20, 2001. (Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2001)
According to House Government Reform Committee investigators, Roger Clinton sought to help some of these people with pardons or with an executive grant of clemency. In early July, they said that they found evidence that showed Clinton had a "role in requesting consideration of executive clemency" for them. Committee officials said the three new individuals included:
* J.T. Lundy, a Lexington, Kentucky racehorse breeder who was sentenced in October 2000 to 41 1/2 years in prison for conspiracy, bribery and fraud for deals with horses in return for getting lucrative funds from a Houston bank.
* Blume Lowe, who was convicted in 1999 of tax fraud after he and his family hid more than $18 million in income from their large marina operation north of Sherman, Texas.
* John Ballis, a Houston real estate investor convicted in 1992 for receiving $6.7 million in illegal loans after providing $500,000 in kickbacks to the president of a failed Houston savings and loan. He was serving a 12 1/2-year prison sentence. (Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2001)
Clinton's attorney responded by sending the committee a scathing letter, accusing the Republican-led panel of playing politics with the Clinton pardon inquiry. Lawyer Bart H. Williams said, "The breadth and scope of the committee's investigation, and in particular of its most recent questions, suggest that something more than an inquiry by the committee into presidential clemency decisions is afoot." (Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2001)
THE DEATH OF THE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL ACT
THE DEATH OF THE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL ACT
In the 1970s, the American Bar Association (ABA) was the first group to call for the Independent Counsel Act to fairly investigate charges involving high government officials. It became law four years after the resignation of President Nixon over the Watergate scandal. The ABA became the first legal group to vote in favor of abolishing the act which expired in June 1999. Furthermore, leaders in both houses confirmed that they would either refuse to renew or drastically revise the Independent Counsel statute in mid-1999.
The Independent Counsel Act was intended to be free of political conflicts of interest since the counsels were named by judges and were separate from the Justice Department. Most of the early prosecutors were nonpartisan judges. However, this spirit of impartiality collapsed after Starr was named to investigate Whitewater and then Filegate, Travelgate, and the sexual life of President Clinton. they were said to be free of political conflicts of interest. Additionally, the Independent Counsel Act spawned a series of long and costly inquiries which were accompanied by partisan politics.
Before the Independent Counsel Act was ratified, the attorney general was authorized to appoint a special prosecutor from outside the Justice Department. It worked well in 1973 when Leon Jaworski was named special prosecutor in the wake of the firing of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox.
However, during the 1980s, Republicans close to complained that Congress had created a monster. The Reagan administration was riddled with allegations of improprieties and illegalities. When Democrats lodged allegations against high level Reagan administration officials and against the president himself, Attorney General Edwin Meese was forced to launch several independent counsel inquiries. A number of Reagans lieutenants were investigated as a result of the Iran-Contra inquiries. Additionally, Theodore Olson, a Reagan administration attorney, was investigated for several years over charges he failed to turn over some handwritten notes involving legal advice he gave to officials of the Environmental Protection Agency. Eventually, the allegations were dropped, but not before Olson and many others became convinced the law was unfair.
The ABA's House of Delegates voted on a resolution that urged the death of the statute. The group's president, attorney Philip Anderson of Little Rock, said, "We promoted its adoption after Watergate because we thought it would restore public confidence in our system of justice and because it would remove politics from the investigation of high administration officials. We have concluded it has not done either."
James Cole, a defense lawyer in Washington and a former Justice Department official, said, "It's a good idea that didn't work. The problems with this statute didn't start with Starr." Cole also stated that the law "was supposed to take politics out of the system. Instead it is used now as a political threat, even when it involves a case that normally wouldn't merit prosecution."
After the ABAs scathing report on the Independent Counsel Act, the Clinton administration withdrew its support, stating that the statute "has failed in its goal of removing politics from the process." A White House official said that Congress should let the law expire on June 30. DeputyAttorney General Eric Holder told the House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, "The act was supposed to increase trust in our government; unfortunately, it has diminished it. The climate of politicization pervades the process regardless of which way a specific decision, investigation or prosecution comes out." White House, spokesman Barry Toiv said Clinton "concurs with the judgment of the Justice Department that the statute should not be renewed -- that its flaws outweigh its benefits." Toiv said Clinton's judgment was "a policy decision based on his observation of how the law's been implemented." This was the first time the Clinton administration had gone on record against the statute. The president and Attorney General Reno successfully had lobbied for its renewal five years ago.
Only days later, Starr himself told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that he, too, opposed the renewing the law that put him in power. The independent counsel said, "The statute should not be reauthorized. Jurisdiction and authority over these cases ought to be returned to the Justice Department." Starr blamed the public outrage over his tactics on the structure of the law, saying it prevented him from responding to attacks that characterized the probe as "just another political game." Starr said that the law violated the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and judicial branches. Furthermore, he raised concerns about the costs and delays incurred by many independent counsel investigations.
On June 30, 1999, the Independent Counsel Act -- after 21 years and $167 million -- came to an end. There was little or no incentive to renew the statute, since accusations came from both parties that the law had turned into a political weapon against incumbents. With its expiration, none of the ongoing investigations by the five independent counsels were hindered. These included Starr's probe as well as the investigations of the activities of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman, former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, and former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy's tenure. Espy was acquitted of charges that he accepted illegal gifts.
In the future decisions about whether to begin ethics investigations of top officials will be left solely to Attorney General who has sent to Congress the rules under which her department will name special prosecutors in certain cases. The rules give the Attorney General far more discretion than the current independent counsel law, the Ethics in Government Act. Attorney General Reno sent a draft of the rules to Congress for the information of its members. The new rules dispense with the convoluted and sometimes controversial procedures of the independent counsel law, with its three-judge panels to appoint the counsels and multiple preliminary inquiries on whether the Attorney General should request such an appointment. The DOJ maintained the authority to decide crucial matters now strictly governed by the statute, like when to appoint someone from utside the Justice Department to carry out an investigation of a high-level Administration official.
Under these rules, the Attorney General would appoint a special counsel, as such prosecutors would now be known, and only after deciding that an investigation would pose a conflict of interest for the Justice Department and that an outside prosecutor was in the public interest. And a prosecutor could be dismissed only for cause.
PROPOSED FUTURE LEGISLATION. Common Causepropose new legislation which would rmeove partisanship and provide for integrity in investigating high ranking officials. Common Cause has suggested: (1) returning cases against high-ranking Administration officials to the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. This would strengthen the independence of the Criminal Division by enacting measures to insulate the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the division from pressure by the Attorney General, other Justice Department officials, the White House, or Congress. (2) Prohibit any communications about a criminal matter to the Assistant Attorney General or other prosecutors, from anyone in the White House, or any Member of Congress, or congressional staff. If any of these individuals had relevant information, they could convey it to the Attorney General who would decide whether it could properly be transmitted to prosecutors. (3) Prohibit the three higher-ranking officials in the Justice Department -- the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, and the Associate Attorney General -- from overruling any decision made by the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division unless one of those officials believes the decision was plainly in error, and sets forth reasons in a public, written memorandum.
In cases involving the President, Vice President, senior White House officials or any Cabinet member, require the Assistant Attorney General to consult a panel of three of his predecessors, at least one of whom had been appointed by a President of the opposite party, before deciding to terminate a criminal investigation.
This proposal would prevent improper political influence in decision- making in high level investigations. It would block improper influence with the DOJ which should act independently. It would protect the Assistant Attorney General, while conducting high level investigations, from partisan pressure by having him or her consult with a panel of his predecessors in any high profile matter. Finally, it would restore public credibility in high level investigations and could restore public confidence in how such investigations are handled.
THE COST OF "STARR WARS"
STARRS BILLS. Between 1994 and 1999, the OIC spent approximately $45 million in taxpayers' money. At first they pursued an investigation that started with a real estate deal worth a few tens of thousands of dollars. It continued through Filegate, Travelgate, and -- when no concrete evidence was dug up on the Clintons -- it culminated in his personal sex life.
Starr refused to release detailed billing and expense statements of his investigation, so the information was obtained by the House Judiciary subcommittee which had been released by the General Accounting Office. Much of the $45 million which Starr spent on investigating Clinton paid for a large staff of government prosecutors. The federal funds went for new office equipment, up to $400-an-hour consultants, luxury apartments, and private investigators. The OIC's unlimited budget including paying for $370-a-month in parking assigned to "independent counsel," three safes for $6,546, and a $30,517 psychological analysis of evidence in the suicide of Vincent Foster by the same Washington group that looked into the death of rock musician Kurt Cobain.
Sam Dash joined the OIC team as an ethics consultant in 1994 and received a top rate of $400 an hour for Washington D.C. attorneys. In August 1999, the General Accounting Office (GAO) announced that Dash's entire earnings were $300,000 through Fall 1998 when he resigned over Starr's "partisan" appearance before the House Judiciary Committee. He often earned $2,000 for five-hour weeks which lasted through September 1997. During this time slot Dash earned $192,073, and then he signed a year-long contract for a maximum $104,000 annually. University of Illinois law professor Ronald Rotunda, who helped write a Supreme Court brief opposing Clinton's bid to delay the Jones lawsuit, also was a consultant to Starr. He earned $300 an hour for services which included "legal research," "work on special project" and "various phone consultations." In August 1998, after bringing in $118,400, he surprisingly decided to stay on the Starr team at no charge to the taxpayers.
The GAO also said that Starr's office spent $4.2 million in contract work during the five year investigation. $1.5 million was paid on 57 contracts with private investigators. Jury consultants were paid $147,311 for trial work and lawyers who made $373,700 representing the OIC. $7,500 was paid to a communications consultant for help in preparing his testimony before a House committee considering impeachment.
Starr's office also spent $843,000 for advice on legal and ethical issues. The expenditures also included $591,915 for computer support. $263 was paid to an appraiser who put a value on President Clinton's gifts to Lewinsky. Starr estimated that his office spent $4.4 million on its investigation of Clinton's affair with Lewinsky and cover-up efforts afterward. which led to the president's impeachment and his acquittal by the Senate. The OIC also paid out $66,067 to medical consultants, who helped with the Foster investigation and evaluated the health of Susan McDougal and Jim Guy Tucker.
Starr's personal salary was $118,400 a year. But his office granted 82 cash performance bonuses of up to $8,000. None went to Starr.
Decision Analysis, an Illinois firm normally hired by litigators, received $32,380 for a "community attitude survey and jury questionnaire" to help Starr prepare the fraud case against former Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker. Starr spent more than $729,000 on five private investigators who were hired to supplement dozens of FBI agents assigned to the case. Some of the investigators had retired from the FBI. He also paid as much as $19,000 each month to house eight members of his staff at a luxury apartment building.
Of the $4.4 million which Starr spent to investigate the Lewinsky case, most of the money was spent on personnel and benefits. Starr said that he had "approximately 57 employees" on the payroll, including 27 attorneys. Starr also remarked that the average attorney salary was $95,838. He said he had spent nearly $1 million on travel and was renting a 14,225-square-foot office in Washington.
In March 1998, Starr purchased 21 computers for $37,915, but GAO auditors never saw the equipment because "of the extreme sensitivity of investigative activities." According to records, Starr did not want GAO or anyone to have access to the office space. Starr also bought a $57,000 copying machine rather than to lease one for $1,299 a month. He justified the expense for the purchase of the new copier, claiming that he needed it "for at least 40 months." Starr presumably envisioned a long investigation of Clinton, one which would last until at least May 2001.
The GAO documents also showed that $434 was spent at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pentagon City, Virginia on January 13, 1998 -- the day that Starr's deputies and FBI agents wired Tripp. The secretly taped luncheon meeting at the Grill cost $127.42. Taxpayers also spent $56,810 for an office copier instead of leasing for $1,299 a month.
This behavior by Starr and his staff showed a lack of accountability and extravagance with taxpayers' dollars as well as the arrogance on his behalf. Starr was permitted to spend as much money as he deemed necessary during his investigation, and he was not required by the Independent Counsel Act to disclose how the funds were allocated.
THE CLINTONS LEGAL BILLS. Aside from the political and emotional damage that evolved from the four and one-half year investigation, the Clintons faced huge seven figure legal bills. Unlike his two Republican predecessors -- Ronald Reagan and George Bush -- who were never thoroughly investigated for Iran-Contra and were able to leave the White House with huge net worths, Clinton owed vast amounts to his attorneys.
The Clintons first defense fund began in 1995 and raised $1.3 million. However, due to strict limits on donations and controversies over campaign financing, it was terminated in December 1997 after having raised only $1.3 million in more than three years. It was handicapped by a limit of $1,000 per donation and it suffered from the taint of questionable foreign contributions before organizers voluntarily abandoned it. That fund raised $1.3 million over three years.
In February 1998 -- two months after the Clintons first fund closed -- former-Senator David Pryor of Arkansas engineered the Clinton Legal Expense Trust. Within six months, it had grown to $2.2 million. Ultimately, contributions to the Clintons raked in over $4.5 million. Donor lists released by the fund showed contributions of $10,000 from such entertainment figures as singer Tony Bennett and Lew R. Wasserman, chairman emeritus of Universal Studios. Another Southern Californian who gave the maximum was producer Peg Yorkin, co-founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation. Business executives who gave $10,000 include New York investment banker Steven Rattner; Sol Price of La Jolla, California, founder of the Price Club chain of stores; and Robert L. Johnson, president of Black Entertainment Television Inc. of the District of Columbia.
Direct-mail appeals also were sent to more than 170,000 people on Democratic fund-raising lists, and about $2.2 million was raked in during the first six months. Donations ranging from $1 to $10,000 were mailed in from approximately 20,000 donors. The $10,000 maximum donations came in from 70 donors: David Geffen, Barbra Streisand, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Michael Douglas, Ron Howard, Norman Lear, Kate Capshaw-Spielberg, Harvey Weinstein, Bud Yorkin, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
In the end, the Clintons' legal bills approached $10 million, and some calculated that they would balloon to $10 million. The bills were given to the Clintons from a number of high powered Washington lawyers, chiefly Bennett and Kendall, together with their associates. This legal team charged a minimum of $500 an hour. The most expensive legal work came as a result of Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Kendall, being questioned under oath about Whitewater financial transactions by Treasury Department investigators and the General Accounting Office in 1994 and 1995. The Clintons also were represented by counsel when they agreed to repeated interviews by Starr's staff at the White House on Whitewater finances.
The First Lady also appeared with her attorneys at the federal courthouse in Washington and testified before a federal grand jury in January 1996, shortly after copies of her long-missing Rose Law Firm billing records showed up on a table in the White House living quarters. The president testified by videotape as a witness in two Whitewater criminal trials in Little Rock and as a principal target of Starr's Lewinsky investigation in videotaped testimony to the grand jury in August. His lawyers were required to monitor the entire Lewinsky grand jury investigation and later appeared repeatedly before Congress in the impeachment inquiry. Clinton incurred other costs as a defendant in the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Jones, testifying in a videotaped deposition last year. Before the president settled this case for $850,000, his lawyers took it through two appellate court hearings and to the Supreme Court.
MORE LEGAL BILLS. Starr's office investigated and/or subpoenaed over 100 current and former White House officials, along with a minimum of 200 to 300 people in Arkansas and elsewhere. Between 1994 and 1998, these individuals had to pay approximately $30 million in attorneys' fees, since Fiske began his inquiry in January 1994. The $30 million is about equally split between Washington and Arkansas. Legal bills for White House staffers alone, beginning with the original inquiry into Whitewater and the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan and extending to the White House Travel Office, misdirected FBI files, Vince Foster's suicide and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky's relationship with the President, totaled approximately $8 million. This did not include the Clintons' $3.5 million-plus debt which was a result of only Whitewater. In addition, there was the Jones sexual harassment case against Clinton. Based on industry standards, The Nation estimated that fees ranged from $350 per hour for Washington lawyers to $150 per hour for Little Rock lawyers. Attorneys from big, blue-chip Washington firms -- Arnold & Porter; Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering; Williams & Connolly; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Covington & Burling -- charged $300 to $500 per hour for legal advice. Therefore, the total amount of money dished out by the various players was in the neighborhood of $23 million.
Among those running up six-figure bills included: Monica Lewinsky, $2,000,000; Vernon Jordan, $150,000; Betty Currie, $150,000; Sidney Blumenthal, $150,000; George Stephanopoulos, former senior adviser to the President, $100,000; Thomas (Mack) McLarty, former chief of staff, an estimated $400,000; Marsha Scott, deputy director of presidential personnel, an estimated $250,000; Patsy Thomasson, a former top personnel official, $100,000; Maggie Williams, Hillary Clinton's former chief of staff, $350,000; David Watkins, former White House administration director, an estimated $425,000; Evelyn Lieberman, executive assistant to Williams, an estimated $250,000. For a handful like Stephanopoulos who wrote a book after he left the White House, the bills were not too devastating. Also, there were government officials forced to retain private counsel in matters that stemmed directly from their work, and they received up to $125 per hour in reimbursement for legal fees incurred. However, this did not come close to covering the per hour bill for a Washington attorney which was sometimes 300 percent higher. By April 1998 the Justice Department received applications for refunds from twenty-six federal employees, most of whom were White House officials. Yet under the rules, disbursements, if granted at all, had to wait until the duties of the independent counsel terminated. The Justice Department paid out $62,000 in reimbursements prior to April. This included $45,000 to former press secretary Dee Dee Myers and $12,766 to John Podesta, deputy chief of staff. Although Podesta did most of his own legal work, his tab for fifteen Whitewater-connected appearances was still an estimated $15,000.
Those without famous names also ran up exorbitant bills as well. In February 1998, Hillary's secretary, Marsha Berry, got a phone call from an FBI agent working for Starr. Berry was told that the special prosecutor wanted to talk to her. According to her, "He said my name had come up in the Monica Lewinsky case." Berry then was compelled to hire her own personal attorney and began to worry whether she would have to gather her notes, documents, diaries, and phone logs which would be turned over to Starr. However, when the FBI agents arrived for a preliminary conversation, things quickly got confusing. Towards the beginning of their conversation, Berry informed the agents that she had begun working in the White House long after those events took place. They had confused her with someone else named Berry. The FBI's response was that they just assumed that it was she. Nevertheless, Berry had to pay for her legal counsel.
The Starr investigation also led to widespread fear among White House officials. Staff members became fearful of talking to one another about Whitewater-related matters, since any conversation could lead to more subpoenas. In addition few employees continued to keep diaries or written records, since these could also be subpoenaed by Starr's office.
Elsewhere in Washington, the Starr inquiry also affected innocent law firms and businesses, which were subpoenaed for records of transactions involving one or more persons being investigated. For example, Kramer Books, where Lewinsky allegedly purchased a gift for Clinton, refused to comply with Starr's subpoenas to turn over records of the transaction. Kramer Books claimed that a citizen's reading habits ought to be none of any prosecutor's business. Kramer's legal bill was more than $100,000.
Two things kept down the total amount of legal bills incurred in Arkansas by those involved in Starr's inquiry. First, compared with lawyers in Washington, those in Arkansas charged a relatively low $150 per hour. Second, hundreds of people were summoned by Starr, and the vast majority appeared not to have retained counsel. Of more than 120 people believed to have played supporting roles in the Whitewater investigation in a poll conducted by researcher Cindy Elser, a relatively small number did not hire an attorney. Of those who did acquire counsel, the bill was in the range of just a few thousand dollars. It was estimated that the total legal expenses for the group was approximately $136,000.
In Arkansas, people from Governor Jim Guy Tucker to mere couriers for the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock paid out over $9 million in legal bills. Tucker produced more than 50,000 documents for Starr, who subpoenaed his credit records, bank records, checks, military records, law school transcripts, passports, and dealings with air charter companies and accountants, all the way back to 1962. In all, Starr issued 40 separate subpoenas in connection with the case against Tucker alone. In another case which arose out of the investigation of Municipal Court Judge David Hale and his questionable loan to Susan McDougal, Starr targeted Eugene Fitzhugh, a Little Rock lawyer, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges linked to Hale. Fitzhugh spent $45,000 defending himself; and a partner, Charles Matthews, spent $100,000. Hale paid an estimated $50,000 to his attorney.
The list in Little Rock also included: Christopher Wade, an original developer of the Whitewater property, close to $100,000; Jim Lyons, a Colorado attorney who tried to help the Clintons sort out the Whitewater mess, $250,000; and Jim Blair, general counsel at Tyson Foods and a longtime friend of the Clintons, $20,000.
The Rose Law Firm spent close to $2 million for its lawyers from the firm of Vinson & Elkins. In all, 30 people at the Rose Law Firm, from partners to half a dozen couriers, plus secretaries and paralegals, have been called. Since the start of the independent counsel's tenure, the Rose Law Firm has had to copy more than one million pages of documents in response to 50 subpoenas, mostly during the first two years of the saga.
Legal fees for Tucker amounted to about $2 million. Susan McDougal shelled out an estimated $850,000 in fees. Jim McDougal was billed about $500,000. For William Marks, a former partner of Tucker's; John Haley, Tucker's former lawyer; and Larry Kuca, a Tucker business associate, all of whom pleaded guilty to financial charges, an estimated total of $900,000. An Arkansas law firm and an accounting firm amassed $200,000 more in related legal bills.
The Starr inquiry consumed countless hours of lawyers' time at the Treasury Department, including the Secret Service, the Justice Department, and the United States Park Police. In Arkansas, nearly every state agency was investigated -- from the banking commission and the Arkansas State Police to the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, the state historical commission, and the pollution control agency. In some cases, agencies paid for private lawyers for employees called to testify before one of Starr's grand juries. Since 1994, the Resolution Trust Corporation paid $322,000 for attorneys hired by RTC officials queried during the original inquiry into Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan.
Even relatively obscure Little Rock residents and private business people were rocked by Starr's investigation. Former White House aide Steve Smith had to pay $70,000 for legal aid. Susan Pfeifer, owner of a Little Rock gift shop known as the Design Center, was subpoenaed because Webster Hubbell happened to have shopped there. In 1994, Pfeifer received a subpoena asking for five years' worth of her business's records.
Perry County Bank in the small town of Perryville was also on Starr's hit list. In 1994, Fiske began inquiring into reports that Herby Branscum Jr. and Rob Hill, the bank's owners, used bank funds to make contributions to Clinton's 1990 gubernatorial re-election campaign. After two years of investigation -- during which time Starr took over from Fiske -- Branscum and Hill were indicted in February 1996. In an effort to pressure Branscum and Hill, Starr subpoenaed Hill's 80-year old mother, his two adult daughters, his brother, his brother's wife and Hill's 16-year-old son. The case went to trial in June 1996. Despite Starr's efforts, Branscum and Hill were acquitted on some charges and the jury deadlocked on others, though favoring acquittal on all of them. Altogether, Branscum and Hill spent $1.6 million defending themselves and their bank.
A single appearance before the Washington grand jury usually cost between $5,000 to $10,000. Included in that cost is the lawyer's time spent preparing the person to testify; going over documents, memorandums, phone logs, and other material; accompanying the subpoenaed individual to the grand jury where the lawyer has to wait outside; and then debriefing the person at the end.
Even in the waning days of the Senate trial, legal bills continued to be sent out. House managers and Senate Republicans demanded an investigation into Sidney Blumenthals contention that the president never characterized Lewinsky as a "stalker." After journalist Christopher Hitchins filed an affidavit stating that Blumenthal had portrayed Lewinsky as a "stalker," the White House aide ran up another $100,000 in legal bills in addition to the $200,000 tab which already had been billed.
Lewinsky's high powered attorneys, Plato Cacheris and Jacob Stein, ran up $400,000 in legal bills even before their client testified before the grand jury in August 1998. Prior to her subpoena, they held 12 to 14 hour per day sessions with Starr's attorneys. Their $400 per hour fee translated into $10,000 a day. After it was over, Lewinskys bills totaled more than $2 million, and she immediately went to work and picked up nearly that amount within a couple of weeks after the Senate trial ended. Barbara Walters' two-hour broadcast in March attracted nearly 50 million viewers. ABC did not pay Lewinsky, but the network gained tens of millions in commercial revenues when they charged between $750,000 and $800,000 for 30 second spots on the show.
Afterwards, Lewinsky kicked off a multimillion-dollar campaign. St. Martins Press shipped out 400,000 copies of Monicas Story which immediately became a best seller at $24.95 a copy. Lewinsky was given a $600,000 advance, and she received 10 percent in royalties. Then she jetted to London where she signed books at Harrod's Department Store, posed for pictures, and gave interviews to foreign magazines. Then Lewinsky received $660,000 for a television interview. She was still bound by her immunity agreement with Starr, so she was limited in what she could say about the investigation while on American soil. But there were no legalities which limited her free speech in foreign countries.
RAY'S CONCLUSION -- MARCH 2002. Eight years and $70 million later, Ray released a five-volume report which concluded that the Clintons’ land venture benefited from criminal transactions, but there was insufficient evidence to prove the former president or his wife were guilty of wrongdoing. Finally completed in March 2002, the report also said prosecutors could not rule out the possibility that Hillary Clinton played a role in the disappearance and mysterious discovery of her law firm billing records.
Part of the investigation focused on a fraudulent $300,000 federally backed loan that a Little Rock judge claimed he was pressured by Clinton to make to the McDougals who operated the failed Madison Guaranty S&L. The report said Jim McDougal wrongly used funds from the failing S&L to benefit the Whitewater venture in Arkansas that he had created with the Clintons.
The report read: “Insufficient evidence exists to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that either Governor or Mrs. Clinton knowingly participated in the criminal financial transactions used by McDougal to benefit Whitewater. … Insufficient evidence also exists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Governor Clinton knew of or approved the loan. … There is some evidence that Governor Clinton knew or should have known that Jim McDougal was not conducting Madison Guaranty’s affairs as required by banking rules.”
The report related an incident in which the Arkansas banking commissioner told Clinton in 1983 that there were problems at Madison. The report said Clinton told the commissioner to do whatever was necessary and not to worry about politics.
The report also focused extensively on Hillary Clinton’s legal work on the Castle Grande land development that was operated by Jim McDougal and partly financed by his failed S&L. Hillary Clinton’s legal work on the project was not disclosed until 1996, when her law firm billing records, which had been subpoenaed earlier in the case, were found in the White House family residence.
Prosecutors investigated whether there was an attempt to obstruct by hiding the records. The report said, “The evidence gathered could not exclude the possibility that Mrs. Clinton put the billing records in Room 319A.” It noted that she gave sworn testimony “denying placing them in Room 319A or knowing how they got there.” (Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2002)