Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gop: Independent Counsel Needed for Clinton Probe

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gop: Independent Counsel Needed for Clinton Probe

Article excerpt

Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., and House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., Sunday urged Attorney General Janet Reno to appoint an independent counsel to investigate any involvement by President Bill Clinton with a failed Arkansas savings and loan firm and a real estate venture in the state.

White House adviser George Stephanopoulos said there was "no need at this time for an independent counsel." He accused the Republicans of exploiting the issue for political reasons.

Federal authorities are looking into possible wrongdoing involving Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, owned by Clinton's friend, James McDougal, and the Whitewater Development Corp. Whitewater was owned jointly by McDougal, his then-wife Susan, and Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, while Clinton was governor of Arkansas.

Questions include whether funds from the now-defunct thrift were diverted to Whitewater or to Clinton's 1984 gubernatorial campaign.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Dole accused Reno of "dragging her feet" on appointment of an independent counsel. "It's high time that she did what she knows she should do," he said.

Dole said he thought Madison Guaranty and Whitewater could be a "pretty serious issue" for Clinton but added that he believed the president would be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Dole, angry at a lengthy probe of the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan administration, has led a GOP effort on Capitol Hill to block reinstatement of the special prosecutor law. The measure, passed after the Watergate scandal, provides for court appointment of independent counsel to investigate wrongdoing by high-level government officials. …

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