The Rising Tide of `Wifewater'

Article excerpt

Hillary Rodham Clinton has done more for educating the public in the principles of modern feminism than Gloria Steinem or Betty Friedan, the early superstars of the movement.

She climbed to the nexus of power using everything it takes. Like many male wheeler-dealers before her, she took ethical risks which, now that they have come to light, are like curses. Chickens coming home to roost.

No wonder that she's taking a solo trip to Eastern Europe to celebrate the Fourth of July in Prague. Wicked wags in Washington say, unkindly, that she's looking for a country that doesn't have an extradition treaty with the United States.

For anyone who doesn't yet know her offenses, a quick read of the majority report on the Whitewater hearings will fill in most of the blanks. Many ethical lapses lead in and out of Vincent Foster's office and continue to fuel speculation not only about why he committed suicide, and where, but how his files mysteriously disappeared from his office with the help of Hillary's staff: "From the moment that she was notified of Mr. Foster's death," the committee says, "Mrs. Clinton and her key agents - Margaret Williams and Susan Thomases -were engaged in the subsequent handling of documents in Mr. Foster's office."

That means they dealt with papers about Whitewater and Travelgate that were - and are - potentially damaging to the First Couple, which the first lady knew were in Vince Foster's possession.

What we have here is a pre-White House/post-White House scandal in which Hillary Clinton is accused of hiding or destroying documents from her law firm, and for holding on to files when they were subpoenaed by Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel, two years earlier.

At every important turn, crucial files and documents `disappeared' or were withheld from scrutiny whenever questions were raised," committee charges. One of the most damaging bits of evidence are her fingerprints on the late-recovered billing records of the Rose Law Firm found in the White House residence last August. Although other fingerprints were found as well, the others are not those of anyone who was in that part of the White House the day the files were found.

What's more, the billing records - which Mrs. Clinton says she's "happy" were finally found - reveal that Hillary lied about the amount of time she spent on the shady side of the Whitewater and Castle Grande land investments. …