Clinton Scandal Clips

from the Progressive Review

Sep 2000 -

earlier stories

OCT 2000

Boys on the Tracks

[In 1987, two boys were killed in Arkansas' Saline County and left on a railroad track to be run over by a train. The initial finding of joint suicide was punctured by dogged investigators whose efforts were repeatedly blocked by law enforcement officials. Although no one was ever charged, the trail led into the penumbra of the Dixie Mafia and the Arkansas political machine. Some believe the boys died because they accidentally intercepted a drug drop, but other information suggests the drop may have dispensed cash, gold and platinum -- part of a series of sorties through which those working with US intelligence on behalf of the Contras were being reimbursed. According to one version, the boys were blamed in order to cover up the theft of the drop by persons deep within the Dixie Mafia and Arkansas political machine. If the case stays alive, it will be thanks in no small part to Mara Leveritt's book, "Boys on the Track," which was reviewed recently by High Times.]

PRESTON PEET, HIGH TIMES: One theory of the boys' deaths is that they happened upon (or maybe sought out) a clandestine cocaine air-drop at or near the tracks where they were eventually run over. For years beforehand, there had been reports from residents of Saline County and the surrounding area of low-flying planes circling slowly overhead at night, and tales of bundles plopping out of the skies from time to time, full of coke or pot.

In fact, this air-dropping technique was pretty much standard operating procedure for the minions of Adler Barriman Seal, importer of the Medellin Cartel's finest commercial intoxicants since the 1970s . . . Seal was the CIA's favorite dope-smuggling pilot, employed on contract to "investigate" dope gangs like the Medellin mob--and to keep all the money he made moving dope for them. And in the mid-1980s ~ the CIA set up Seal with a clandestine base strip in a place no one would ever have thought to look for one--in little Mena, Arkansas, about a hundred miles west of where those two boys were killed on the tracks in 1987.

Although Seal himself was assassinated in New Orleans in 1986, over a year before Ives and Henry were killed, Leverett speculates thusly: "My thoughts are that if Seal's operation was as large as it has been described by the FBI itself, then something like that just does not stop. Even if the CEO is taken out, they are going to have a staff. This operation has been described to me by Louisiana investigators, who told me that if this had been a Fortune 500 company, it would have been one of the top ones . . . "

Among the federal officials who worked brilliantly to keep a cloak of mystery over Seal's dope-import concession at Mena, as Leverett recounts almost in passing, ~ was the Western Arkansas US Attorney at the time Seal's operations moved up there from Louisiana and Texas: one Asa Hutchinson, who later on went to the US House of Representatives and became William Jefferson Clinton's most pitiless prosecutor among the House impeachment managers . . . But the impeachment circus itself was a long time ago, by the US media's attention span, and so the heyday of Barry Seal at Mena is absolutely paleolithic history, as Leverett acknowledges.


NEWSMAX: Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin claims in a new book out this week that Russian intelligence agencies reported to him in late 1996 that opponents of President Clinton were plotting to reveal a sexual relationship between Clinton and a young woman.

FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW: Indonesian tycoon James Riady has invited US President Bill Clinton to join the board of Lippo Group when he steps down from office early next year, according to business people who have met Riady in Jakarta recently. Riady has been telling business contacts in Jakarta that he expects Clinton to accept, even though the US president has been dogged by allegations that Riady funneled illegal foreign donations to Clinton's 1992 and 1996 election campaigns. A former Lippo Group employee reports that as far back as the mid-1990's Riady was said to be trying to recruit Clinton to the board as soon as he left office. Jakarta police are currently helping the US Justice Department in its investigation of the alleged campaign contributions.


It's not just impeachment counsel David Schippers' book that's being blacklisted by prominent media despite quickly hitting the NY Times bestseller list. The press is also keeping the wraps on a major scandal described therein, namely allegations of vote fraud by the Clinton-Gore administration in 1996.

Schippers describes White House pressures to have the INS clear tens of thousands of immigrants for citizenship status -- especially in key states -- in time for the 1996 election. Writes Schippers, who voted for Clinton twice, "INS Commissioner Doris Meissner didn't want to speed up the naturalization process and warned President Clinton's people that such a push might be viewed as politically motivated."

Clinton responded by giving the scheme cover under the National Performance Review, Al Gore's so-called "reinventers" of government. Clinton and Gore were going to improve government efficiency by ignoring the law. A NPR staffer assigned to the scam wrote that "we can reduce -- but not eliminate -- the risk of controversy over our motives by appointing one of our proven NPR reinventors as Deputy INS Commissioner." The memo said that "reinventors" should also be put in other agencies to replace leaders who "don't get it."

It is clear from the documents that the original goal was to get near a million applicants naturalized in time for the election, new citizens who presumably would be pro-Clinton. The NPR coordinator, Doug Fairbrother, reported his progress directly to Vice President Gore, including word that the Justice Department had agreed to waive "stupid rules."

Fairbrother also sent a fax to INS Deputy Commissioner Chris Sale in which he reminded him, how important it was to "get the results the Vice President wants."

Among the products of this scheme were more than 75,000 new citizens who had arrest records when they applied, 115,000 whose fingerprint records had proven unclassifiable, and another 61,000 who never got fingerprinted. One applicant was actually in jail when he was naturalized.

Further, Schippers learned that the scam was to continue: "Our sources inside the INS revealed that, in preparation for the 2000 elections, INS agents in district offices were directed to relax the testing for English, complete every interview in twenty minutes, and insure that all applicants pass the civics test by continuing to ask questions until an applicant got a sufficient number right. Sometimes it was necessary to ask twenty or twenty-five questions before four or five were answered correctly."

Before Schippers could complete his inquiry, the Starr report arrived on the Hill and the rest is history -- albeit pretty crummy history.

This sort of thing has happened before, especially in Schippers' home town of Chicago, where Hinky Dink Kenna and Bathouse John Coughlin once rigged the vote in Ward One. In 19th century Washington, Boss Shepherd imported blacks from suburban Prince George County to boost his support in the city. And in the 20th century, such alleged fraud gave LBJ his early nickname, "Landslide Lyndon."

But rigging the vote is still a crime, and among the most offensive crimes one can commit against a democracy. That the matter is not on the front pages of America's newspapers suggests as well as anything how far we have fallen.

DAVID S. CLOUD, WALL STREET JOURNAL: An independent counsel is investigating whether the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department obstructed his probe of former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, lawyers familiar with the matter said. Independent Counsel David Barrett is questioning IRS officials who were involved in the Cisneros case and has indicated he will look at the Justice Department's role as well. And he has widened his focus to look at whether the Clinton administration allowed politics to influence its handling of other tax cases involving Democrats, one of the lawyers said. It is unclear whether Mr. Barrett has authority to investigate the IRS and Justice Department treatment of tax cases beyond that of Mr. Cisneros, but the probe has become more serious in recent weeks. Mr. Barrett convened a grand jury two months ago and pressured a career IRS lawyer in the chief counsel's office into testifying by telling him that he was a subject of the probe, people involved said. The IRS employee, whose name couldn't be determined, invoked the Fifth Amendment in order to secure an immunity deal and is now cooperating, two lawyers said. He has testified several times and was asked about his work on the Cisneros case. Other IRS officials have testified as well.

BRIT HUME: A US military medical team finds itself stuck in the desert in Mauritania because the aircraft that was supposed to take them home was needed by the Gore campaign. Sixty doctors and other medical professionals were supposed to have flown back to Germany in a C141 transport plane . . . An e-mail from US Air Mobility Command explained, "Aircraft being pulled for Vice President Gore campaign support." A command spokesman would not put it quite that way, but did concede that support for the White House would take priority over flying those doctors home.

FOX NEWS: Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., chairman of the House Treasury and Postal Subcommittee on Appropriations, accused the White House of providing his panel with incomplete information on the first lady's campaign travel. According to a new report Kolbe's panel received from the White House Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton's campaign under-reported $300,000 in expenses, costs for which the government has not been reimbursed by the Clinton's campaign.

KNIGHT-RIDDER: Days after the White House gave a big boost to the proposed Meadowlands Mills shopping mall in sensitive wetlands in Carlstadt, the development company's executives and their relatives gave at least $ 31,000 to Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign. For years, environmentalists have opposed building the upscale shopping and entertainment complex because it would require filling more than 90 acres of marshland that is home to rare waterfowl and other wildlife. The US Fish and Wildlife Service opposed it for the same reasons, then reversed itself as part of a federal endorsement of the complex engineered by the White House. Executives of the development company, the Mills Corp., and a spokesman for Gore denied that there was any connection between endorsement of the 2.1 million-square-foot project and the campaign contributions.

SEP 2000

GEORGE LARDNER JR. WASHINGTON POST: Staff memos from Vice President Gore's office depict the White House coffees he hosted for the 1996 campaign as fund-raisers and indicate that his visit to a Buddhist temple in California was also considered a fund-raiser. The memos were among the first stack of e-mails that were covered by subpoenas issued during past Justice Department and congressional investigations, but were not reviewed because they had not been properly archived. They were reconstructed by the FBI from a small set of backup tapes that the White House provided to the bureau because its own restoration efforts were proceeding so slowly. Gore has said he never thought of the coffees as fund-raisers and never even heard of them described as "fund-raising tools." He also testified last April that he never understood his April 29, 1996, luncheon at the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple near Los Angeles to be a fund-raiser. One of the e-mails, provided yesterday to congressional investigators for the first time, shows Gore's political director, Karen Skelton, asking another staffer on April 23, 1996: "These are FR coffees right?" A Gore aide who asked not to be identified said the "FR" in Skelton's memo could have been shorthand for "finance-related" instead of "fund-raisers," meaning that they were meant to woo donors but not necessarily to produce specific sums. WASHINGTON POST


ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT GAZETTE: Now Whitewater is closing without a conclusion. There is, as the prosecutors say, insufficient evidence. Legally, it's over. Morally, ethically, politically, historically, it remains a morass. The details are all so vague, murky, ambiguous . . . in a word, clintonesque.

What significance, if any, will Whitewater have for the future? Presidents and prosecutors will come and go, history will be written and rewritten till Whitewater is reduced to a footnote. It was a comic, and for some a tragic, interlude but, in the history of the Republic, never serious. The only scene from the whole panorama that still remains clear in our memory is the spectacle of a young man whose name we've mercifully forgotten telling a congressional committee that he'd lied to his own diary.

In the end it is an absence and not a presence that may define the significance of Whitewater: the absence of any sense of a responsible, credible self. Which may be why it is no longer possible to rouse much interest in this particular play. The principal characters have made themselves unreal by not taking responsibility for their deeds, their word, or their sworn testimony. They no longer have selves to swear upon. ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT GAZETTE

JERRY SEPER, WASHINGTON TIMES: Former White House aide Kathleen Willey Schwicker, who accused President Clinton of groping her in the Oval Office, filed a lawsuit yesterday naming Mr. Clinton, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and other top aides in a conspiracy to violate her privacy rights. The civil suit, filed in US District Court here, said the Clintons and others improperly released personal letters she sent to Mr. Clinton and turned over confidential information about her in a scheme aimed at "destroying her good name, credibility and reputation." . . . Mrs. Schwicker told reporters outside the District of Columbia federal courthouse: "My children have been threatened, my government files have been released and my life's innermost secrets have been dragged through the press. I am only one private citizen and he is the president, but that is why we have courts - to protect people like me from abuses from people like him." . . . Others named included former White House Counsel Charles F.C. Ruff, current and former presidential aides Bruce Lindsey, Cheryl Mills, Sidney Blumenthal and James Carville, and David E. Kendall, Mr. Clinton's personal attorney, along with his Washington law firm, Williams & Connolly.

JOSH GERSTEIN, ABC NEWS: In this political season, President Clinton's appearance at a fundraising event, even one for his wife, isn't likely to attract much attention from the press. But a fund-raiser the president attended in Philadelphia today was noteworthy in one respect: it took place on federal property. Generally, politicians avoid soliciting funds in federal buildings because of the Pendleton Act, a federal law that restricts fundraising by government officials. In the event at the City Tavern, President Clinton stressed that his wife needs so-called hard money donations of $1000 or $2000 from people that haven't yet supported her Senate campaign . . . The tavern offers lunch and dinner from a kitchen run by restaurateur Walter Staib under a contract with the Park Service. The building and land are owned by the federal government and considered part of the Independence National Historical Park. Several park rangers stood guard as the president arrived for the brunch just before noon Sunday. Park Service spokesman Phil Sheridan said the legal question had come up during planning for the brunch, but that government lawyers determined it wasn't a problem.


JIM LEHRER: Now, speaking of closure, you have also said publicly that you are ... Well, I'll just ask you, are you still going to ... are you still considering seeking an indictment, a criminal indictment against President Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky matter after he leaves office?

ROBERT RAY: I have said that that matter remains open, that it would be appropriate to render that judgment once the president leaves office. It is now publicly known. It was not my choice, but it has now become publicly known that there's a grand jury investigation in the District of Columbia with regard to that matter. And beyond that and given that fact, I cannot have any further comment.

JIM LEHRER: Doesn't that walk on your closure statement a moment ago or not? Did I misread what you're saying? In other words, it is ... the cloud over President Clinton still exists, because there is a grand jury investigating the possibility or considering the possibility of indicting him, correct?

ROBERT RAY: Well, there are constitutional reasons why it is appropriate to not render that judgment until such time as the president leaves office. I think as a practical matter, as I have explained in other context, even if one were convinced that it was appropriate to bring charges and to bring them now, that would be a constitutional issue about whether or not a sitting United States president could be indicted. For that issue to be resolved, and it would have to ultimately be resolved by the United States Supreme Court, that would take us well beyond January 2001, and I do not render decisions in a vacuum. An appropriate decision, as I have said, will be rendered in January 2001. Now, I well understand that the viability of my office continues during the life of this administration and not much beyond it. And I fully intend to render a judgment with regard to that matter promptly.

JIM LEHRER: But I'm not sure I follow you on this, Mr. Ray. I'm not trying to be difficult, but clearly, then, if you had concluded that you were not going to seek a grand jury, you could announce it tomorrow, but the fact ... an indictment against ... you could announce that tomorrow. That doesn't impinge on any constitutional problem. It's the fact that - so the only way to read this is that you are seriously considering seeking an indictment, correct?

ROBERT RAY: No. I can't comment.

JIM LEHRER: Did I misread that?

ROBERT RAY: No. I can't comment about that ...

JIM LEHRER: But if you chose not to seek an indictment, there's nothing in the process that would preclude you from announcing that today. That's all I'm trying to get at, right? Am I right or wrong about that?

ROBERT RAY: Well, what I am telling you is there is a process under way, and it's a hypothetical question because you now know what it is my office is conducting. It is conducting a grand jury investigation with regard to the matter, and it will reach appropriate conclusions at the appropriate time.


NYPOST: Ray left numerous troubling questions unanswered. Like:

* What did happen to those billing records?

* What was Hillary's role in the scheme by Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan to deceive bank examiners, as federal regulators concluded it had? And why did Hillary claim 99 times that she couldn't recall her work for Madison?

* Why did a document, apparently prepared by Hillary, value Whitewater property at $400,000, when the government got only $38,000 for it six years later?

* Why was a Madison Guaranty cashier's check - found in the trunk of a car following a tornado in 1997 - made out to "Bill Clinton" for $27,600, when Clinton testified that he "never borrowed any money" from the S&L?

* Why was a second check - from the trustee account of the Clintons' Whitewater partner, James McDougal - made out for the exact amount needed to pay off a $27,600 loan? Why did it contain the notation "Payoff Clinton"?


JUDICIAL WATCH: The Clinton-Gore White House claimed last week that computer back-up tapes of computers in the White House office that improperly obtained FBI files were "unreadable." The admission came in the ongoing $90 million Filegate class action lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch on behalf of the former Reagan and Bush administration staffers and others whose FBI files were illegally obtained by this White House. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a defendant in this lawsuit. The Clinton-Gore White House had been ordered to search the back-up tapes, which store the contents of desk top and other personal computers, of the Office of Personnel Security ­ the office which obtained the FBI files in question and was run by former bar bouncer D. Craig Livingstone.

In allegedly trying to read the tapes, the Clinton-Gore White House has claimed that "the tapes themselves are now unreadable, absent the use of data recovery techniques of which EOP is not currently capable." The tapes are for the computers of Mari Anderson and Edward Hughes, two assistants who worked for Livingstone. Testimony by Mari Anderson had admitted that she and others in the office (Craig Livingstone and political operative Anthony Marceca) knew that they wrongly were obtaining the FBI files of Republicans.


As of June, the Justice Department listed 25 people indicted and 19 convicted because of the 1996 Clinton-Gore fundraising scandals. According to the House Committee on Government Reform in September, 79 House and Senate witnesses asserted the Fifth Amendment in the course of investigations into Gore's last fundraising campaign.


ROD DREHER, NY POST: In their trial, the McDougals denied the president played a role in arranging a fraudulent loan for the Whitewater development, and Clinton testified he was clueless about it. But from his post-conviction jail cell, a terminally ill Jim McDougal changed his story and offered to cooperate with the independent counsel. He died before he was of much use.

For her part, Susan McDougal refused to tell the government what she knew, leading the judge to cite her for contempt. Without her cooperation, it became virtually impossible to build a strong case against the first couple.
We have also learned that, while in prison, Webster Hubbell received lucrative business contracts from the Riady family and other Clinton supporters. It looked for all the world like an attempt to buy his silence.

A 1996 recording of a prison phone call between Hubbell and his wife has Mr. Hubbell promising not to "raise those allegations that might open [the investigation] up to Hillary." He also says, "So, I need to roll over one more time."

Without Hubbell's full cooperation, which he withheld, it is very hard to put together a case on direct evidence that the lummox was rewarded financially for taking a fall for Bill and Hillary. But the suspicious contracts and the tapes are part of the record - and they aren't flattering to Mrs. Clinton.

In a similar vein, the independent counsel's office earlier failed to find criminal misconduct in the matter of the missing Rose Law Firm billing records, which detailed Mrs. Clinton's work on another fraudulent real-estate deal.
Someone in the White House just happened to find them almost two years after they had been subpoenaed. The records contradicted Hillary's sworn testimony in which she claimed she hadn't worked on the deal. The counsel's office couldn't find a criminal conspiracy, though, so there were no indictments. But only fools and paid Clinton shills would truly believe those records just happened to be misplaced.


FROM THE RAY STATEMENT: The Madison Guaranty/Whitewater investigation resulted in the conviction of 12 defendants, including former Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker, Jim and Susan McDougal, and former Associate Attorney General Webster L. Hubbell. This Office investigated whether Jim and Susan McDougal committed any crimes in connection with Madison Guaranty, CMS, or Whitewater Development by using control of two financial institutions - Madison Guaranty and Madison Bank & Trust - to lend money to or for the benefit of Whitewater Development and to pay Whitewater Development financial obligations at a time when the McDougals and the Clintons jointly owned Whitewater Development. In May 1996, Jim and Susan McDougal were convicted in federal court in Arkansas of various crimes involving Madison Guaranty, CMS, and Whitewater Development. According to one federal bank regulatory agency, the failure of Madison Guaranty cost the taxpayers $73 million.

[The cost to taxpayers of Madison Guaranty was considerably more than that of the entire special counsel investigation. Since Clinton supporters make much of the latter costs, it is probably inconsistent to refer to the Madison-Whitewater case as a "two-bit land deal."]

This Office investigated whether President and Mrs. Clinton knowingly participated in any criminal conduct related to Madison Guaranty, CMS, or Whitewater Development or had any knowledge of such conduct. 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 involving Madison Guaranty, CMS, or Whitewater Development or knew of such conduct. The evidence relating to their testimony and conduct, in connection with this investigation and other investigations involving the same entities, was also, in the judgment of this Office, insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that either of them committed any criminal offense, including perjury.

[The Clintons now fully meet the Democratic Party's standard for holding public office, namely that criminal evidence against them be "insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt." Generally speaking under the law, any old crook can be elected to Congress, although the President, in what is becoming a quaint anachronism, still solemnly swears to "faithfully execute" his office and "to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."]

The investigation made the following findings and conclusions: This Office investigated whether President Clinton gave knowingly false testimony when he testified in the 1996 trial of Mr. McDougal, Ms. McDougal, and Governor Tucker that he "never borrowed any money from Madison Guaranty," "[n]ever caused anybody to borrow any money for [his] benefit," and "[n]ever ha[d] any personal loan with Madison Guaranty at any time."

At Susan McDougal's 1999 trial for criminal contempt and obstruction of justice for her refusal to testify about matters that included an alleged $27,600 Madison Guaranty loan to President Clinton, the government introduced two checks as evidence of the alleged loan. The first check was an actual Madison Guaranty cashier's check, dated November 15, 1982, made out to "Bill Clinton" in the amount of $27,600 that was found, by happenstance, among other Madison Guaranty records in the trunk of a car in July 1997 following a tornado. The second check was a microfilm copy, dated August 1, 1983, from the James B. McDougal Trustee account in the amount of $5,081.82 made out to Madison Guaranty. The latter check was signed by Susan McDougal, and the government presented testimony at trial that the amount of the check was precisely equal to the amount of principal and interest remaining due on the alleged loan at the time. The memo line of the check contained the words "Payoff Clinton."

Neither check reflected a signature or endorsement by Bill Clinton. The backs of both checks contained bank stamps, indicating that they had been deposited and processed. The government presented evidence at trial that both checks were used to the benefit of Whitewater Development. A government agent testified at trial that the fingerprints on the $27,600 check were not sufficiently clear to permit a comparison to any known fingerprints.

This Office determined that the evidence regarding this alleged loan was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that President Clinton borrowed money from Madison Guaranty, caused anyone to borrow money for his benefit from Madison Guaranty, or had any personal loan at any time from Madison Guaranty. Consequently, the evidence was, in the judgment of this Office, insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his testimony regarding the alleged loan was knowingly false.

[Apparently the special counsel feels that the checks may have been made out to some other Bill Clinton who needed exactly the same amount to pay off his loan as did the Clinton would become president . . . It is also interesting to note that two of the people who could have helped cleared this up -- James McDougal and the owner of the car in question -- ended up dead under dubious circumstances within a month of each other. Two other key witnesses, Susan McDougal and Webster Hubbell, refused to cooperate with prosecutors. In May 1998, the Review reported:

"Despite an autopsy, serious questions continue to be raised over the death of Jim McDougal, a key witness in the Clinton scandals. McDougal, at the time of his apparent heart attack, was in the custody of the Justice Department at a Fort Worth federal prison. He was not a well man and was taking a dozen medications. Despite his condition and his importance to the criminal investigation of the Clintons and others, McDougal was placed in solitary confinement, allegedly for failing to urinate for a drug test. McDougal died within a month of a single-car crash that killed an auto shop worker who had discovered a certified check for $27,000 made out to Bill Clinton from McDougal's S&L in an abandoned car. The mechanic had been expected to testify concerning his discovery."

Finally, it should be remembered that road is long between evidence "insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt" and evidence sufficient to convince a reasonable citizen or journalist. The cases remains open]

NEWSMAX: Secret impeachment evidence against President Clinton sealed by law till the year 2049 is "sensational" and "terrible if it was true," a Washington Post reporter familiar with some of the material said during a radio interview on Monday. "There is an awful lot of interesting stuff still under seal that maybe we'll find out about," Post reporter Peter Baker, who broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal for that paper, told WOR network radio host Bob Grant. Baker was being interviewed about his new impeachment book, "The Breach." "I've been privy to some of it," said Baker. "A little of it is talked about in the book. There was a lot of material that the investigators looked at in (Independent Counsel Ken) Starr's office that was very sensational, very -- ah -- it would be terrible if it was true -- but that hadn't been checked out." In his book Baker says that the independent counsel's office investigated 21 women linked to Clinton.

JERRY SEPER, WASHINGTON TIMES: The Clinton administration has handed out $180 million in bonuses to top Justice Department executives since 1993, including Lee J. Radek, head of the agency's Public Integrity Section, who vigorously opposed the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate Vice President Al Gore. Bonuses also went to Robert K. Bratt, former head of the department's international police training section, and his top assistant, Joseph R. Lake Jr., who were accused last week of mishandling classified documents and improperly obtaining visas for two Russian women


WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Joe, what was the president's reaction to the fourth time, as I understand it, that the Justice Department is investigating the vice president's fund raising?

JOE LOCKHART: His reaction to what?

WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, what was his reaction to it? I mean, how many vice presidents have been investigated four times for questionable fund raising?

JOE LOCKHART: I think there's an ongoing investigation at the Justice Department, and because it's ongoing, it wouldn't be appropriate to comment.


PAUL SPERRY, WORLDNET DAILY: Former Special Counsel Robert Fiske never seized nor even tried to seize Vincent Foster's computer as evidence after the deputy White House counsel died unexpectedly in 1993, WorldNet Daily has learned. As a result, Foster's hard drive became a hot potato inside the White House, bouncing from one official's hands to another's -- breaking the chain of custody over and over, before finally, last week, ending up where it has belonged all along -- in the hands of investigators, according to former White House officials who are finally talking publicly about what they know about the Foster case . . . Ray has yet to rule on Whitewater and the alleged obstruction part of the Foster case. He will give a summary of his findings on the first couple's shady Ozark investment and the Foster aspect "within the next couple of weeks," said Keith Ausbrook, a senior counsel in Ray's office here. He said the investigation at this point is "still open." . . . One of the computer files reveals that Foster and his wife planned to go out the same night he was found dead in Fort Marcy Park, according to a White House whistleblower who has read the file and recently turned over evidence to Ray under subpoena. The former computer specialist is scheduled to testify about Foster before a federal grand jury on Thursday . . .

[Earlier stories, including in the Review, reported the hard disc as having been destroyed. It now appears that it was only missing. The Foster death has been called "The Rosetta Stone" of the Clinton machine scandals. The disc could provide potentially vital evidence.]

WASHINGTON TIMES: Vice President Al Gore and the chairman of the Democratic National Committee sought a $100,000 donation from a wealthy Texas lawyer in 1995 after promising that President Clinton would veto a bill limiting damage awards in product-liability cases. According to documents obtained by The Washington Times, the requests came in separate telephone calls by Mr. Gore on Nov. 30, 1995, and by DNC Chairman Donald L. Fowler on Dec. 13, 1995, to lawyer Walter Umphrey, senior partner at the Beaumont, Texas, law firm of Provost & Umphrey. In a telephone call sheet prepared for the vice president by the DNC, Mr. Gore was instructed to ask Mr. Umphrey for $100,000 for the DNC's media fund. A call sheet prepared by the DNC two weeks later for Mr. Fowler suggests the vice president did not reach his intended target. Two weeks later, the DNC chairman received a similar directive to ask Mr. Umphrey for cash. "Sorry you missed the Vice President. I know [you] will give $100k when the President vetoes tort reform, but we really need it now. Please send ASAP if possible," the sheet says under "reason for call." The Justice Department's campaign-finance task force has opened a preliminary investigation into the solicitation and the activities of Mr. Gore and others.

[While this was properly a front-page story, the Washington Post buried it on page nine under a headline -- "1995 Documents Appear to Link Lawyer's Contribution to Veto" -- that concealed the Gore involvement.]

JOSH GERSTEIN, ABC NEWS: One of the most powerful entities on the American political scene is trying to hush up the results of a government investigation into alleged corruption on the part of some of the country's most prominent public figures. Who's behind this effort to prevent the public from learning what evidence investigators gathered with taxpayer dollars? A high-powered lobbyist? A top criminal defense lawyer? Maybe a Beltway fixer? Nope. The call to suppress the results of this multimillion-dollar probe is coming from a most unlikely source: The New York Times. In an editorial last week, the Times declared that Independent Counsel Robert Ray should scrap his plan to report this month on the so-called Whitewater allegations against President Clinton and the first lady. "The need for an orderly election overrides the need for a detailed report summing up the prosecutor's findings," the Times argued. "In the absence of stunning new information worthy of prosecution, he should stand aside and let the voters decide based on the existing voluminous public record." You'd be forgiven for reading the bizarre editorial twice. After all, it's not everyday that a newspaper crusades to keep information from its readers. The logic of the paper's argument is truly baffling. Is the Times saying Ray's analysis isn't newsworthy? Does anyone doubt for a moment that, if one of the paper's reporters got a draft of the report, it would run on the front page?
USA TODAY: A federal investigation has found evidence that organized labor had access to "volumes of non-public information" about the Democrats' election plans in 1996 and even had veto power over some of the party's political decisions. But the Federal Election Commission has concluded that the ties between labor and the Democrats were not illegal, a decision that experts say further shreds the nation's already tattered campaign finance laws. "The evidence shows that the AFL-CIO had not merely access to, but authority to approve or disapprove the DNC's and the state Democratic committees' plans" for political activity in each state, the FEC report says . . . FEC General Counsel Lawrence Noble, who directed the inquiry, says the level of coordination between the party and organized labor would have made the AFL-CIO's spending illegal under FEC standards. But a federal court ruling last year imposed a stricter standard for determining coordination, and that meant the level of cooperation between unions and the party was permissible. By a 4-0 vote on July 11, the FEC agreed. "This is consistent with what I see as the collapse of the regulatory regime for campaign finance," says Tom Mann, an election law expert at the Brookings Institution, a moderate Washington think tank. "We are now in a situation where almost anything goes."
WASHINGTON TIMES: President Clinton has quietly installed three new ambassadors, all heavy contributors to the Democratic Party and the Gore campaign, without the consent of the Republican-controlled Senate. The three are Carl Spielvogel, an advertising executive from New York, as ambassador to Slovakia; James A. Daley, an investor in nursing-home companies and Boston hotels, as ambassador to Barbados; and Robin Chandler Duke, widow of a career diplomat and former president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, as ambassador to Norway. Collectively, the trio has given $550,900 to Democrats in the past three years, including $24,000 to Vice President Al Gore and $343,000 to the Democratic Party, according to research at the Federal Election Commission by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff. Mr. Spielvogel held a fund-raiser for Mr. Gore at his Long Island home just days after his appointment. "At the specific moment that Vice President Gore is trying to distance himself from the corruption of the Clinton administration, here we have President Clinton selling ambassadorships to fund the Gore campaign," said Marc Thiessen, spokesman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.