Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Further Inquiry Needed on Clinton's Dealings in Arkansas

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Further Inquiry Needed on Clinton's Dealings in Arkansas

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton has found nine women he could not persuade. They were members of the Little Rock jury that convicted his former cronies and business partners on 24 felony counts of fraud and conspiracy.

Despite a massive public relations campaign and political intimidation by Clinton defenders against Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr, the jury in the president's former playground performed with honor and distinction.

The verdicts were "not good news for the White House," understated CNN's Bill Schneider. No matter how hard Clinton's supporters try, they cannot avoid the fact that in a truth-telling contest between former judge David Hale, who placed then-Gov. Clinton at the center of a conspiracy to defraud the government of $300,000, and the sitting president of the United States, the president lost.

No, Bill Clinton was not on trial, and, yes, the jury forewoman said the president's credibility was not at issue, but the verdict will have the effect of further undermining this president's already low character ratings.

The confluence of people, papers and money in the events collectively known as Whitewater was again brought out by the Senate Whitewater Committee counsel, Michael Chertoff. Appearing after the verdict on CNN, Chertoff said that Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, the defunct thrift headed by James McDougal, "was a thoroughly corrupt, criminal and fraudulent enterprise. Mrs. Clinton did work for Madison, and Bill Clinton played an active role in securing loans (through Madison) for the Whitewater land development" in which he and Mrs. Clinton, along with the McDougals, had invested.

Clinton people are busy borrowing from those who attempted to defend Richard Nixon when the heat was turned up on Watergate. Ann Lewis, deputy campaign chair for the Clinton-Gore re-election effort, said that "time spent in negative personal attacks is time spent away from real issues." Like Watergate, Whitewater is rapidly becoming a real issue.

What will happen next? In the Watergate affair, the guilty were quick to beat a path to special prosecutor Leon Jaworski's office to save their skins by ratting on their co-conspirators. …

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