Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gop Has Wave of Whitewater Questions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gop Has Wave of Whitewater Questions

Article excerpt

WAS HILLARY Rodham Clinton more than a "passive investor" in a losing land deal? Did she mastermind a massive cover-up of conflict of interest in the Arkansas governor's office?

Did Vincent Foster's secretary see his torn, despairing note at the bottom of his briefcase days before her bosses discovered it? And later, why did the FBI only find one palmprint on the paper?

What advice did Mrs. Clinton's friend, Susan Thomases, known to White House staffers as the "Midnight Caller," give to the president's lawyer? And why did the deputy White House counsel take the onions off his hamburger on the day of his suicide?

Questions of those investigating the Whitewater affair are likely to move between the pointed and the pointless this week as the Senate special Whitewater committee wraps up its first hearings and the House Banking Committee begins its own attempt to "tell the story of Whitewater."

Specifically, the separate congressional inquiries and that of independent counsel Kenneth Starr, still operating in Arkansas, are trying to determine the relationship between the Clintons and James McDougal, the owner of a failed savings and loan.

They also want to know whether the president and his wife did anything improper in the Whitewater real estate investment that failed in the late 1980s, and whether the president and Mrs. Clinton, or their underlings, pressured any federal agencies to ignore requests to investigate as late as two years ago.

Over the last three weeks, former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste has often asked witnesses in the Senate hearings to respond to a few more questions "to help bring closure on this issue."

That is unlikely to happen.

Some people believe there is enough evidence of concealed financial dealings among the elite of a small state to make a scandal that would unearth the entire administration.

Others are convinced that all this amounts to technical transgressions sprinkled with Republican innuendo aimed at besmirching a Democratic president. …

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