Wonder What's under All That 'Whitewater.' (Investigations into Whitewater Scandal and Death of Vincent Foster)

Insight on the News, June 12, 1995 | Go to article overview

Wonder What's under All That 'Whitewater.' (Investigations into Whitewater Scandal and Death of Vincent Foster)


While Washington has been the scene of intense excitement during the last few months for those cerebral types who revel in number crunching, deregulating and cutting federal bureaucratic bloat down to size, it has been weak tea for those who enjoy the gut-level sensationalism and emotional pyrotechnics typified by an Oprah or Geraldo show. But maybe that's about to change.

Now that the GOP's "Contract With America" is a done deal in the House, some of the contractors are itching to dig into Waco, Ruby Ridge, Whitewater and related outrages. The Senate, in more modulated and decorous fashion, certainly will do the same in its own good time.

There will be some interesting side trips - or at least there could be. Not the least of them would be further investigation into the demise of Vincent Foster, the Clinton White House official who allegedly ended his troubles in a little suburban park just down the road from the CIA a bullet from an antique pistol. Assuming the O.J. Simpson trial is wrapped up at the time, a serious inquiry into the Foster case could become a national passion and pastime.

There are, of course, those who would rather not see the inquiry continue. A detailed review of the materials removed from Foster's office during the tense and chaotic hours following the tragedy could prove damaging to some. Others contend that the Foster family has suffered enough without further exposure of Vince's laundry on the national dirty-linen line.

Regarding the latter objection, it truly is too bad that innocent people are tormented in the course of investigations such as this. But Foster chose the path he followed to the White House, despite apparent regrets later. His death occurred while he was working for the president, occupying offices in one of the most important public edifices of this nation. The public has a legitimate claim to the truth if it takes 10 years to dig it out.

There are other side trips that could prove interesting to most of us and certainly unnerving to some. The Whitewater story seems at its core a banking story, and investigators have to follow the dollars, banking's stock in trade. Those dollars lead down some curious pathways.

As recounted recently in Insight, independent counsel Kenneth Starr has been taking a methodical look at drug and arms trafficking in and out of Mena, Ark., and at homicides possibly related to that activity. If the clandestine arms and drug activity took place, what became of the awesome loot it generated?

Will the House and Senate do what they can to fully inform the public regarding these alleged sidelights to Whitewater? Superficially, it would seem the answer cannot be other than a resounding yes, because opening the closed doors of Starr's investigation certainly would provide the dominant Republicans with plenty of mud to sling at Clinton and Co.

So why the nervousness in Republican quarters" on Capitol Hill about getting into these matters? Among possible answers would be that some Republicans fear they have a tiger by the tail. In that scenario, so-called Whitewater would be the tail, and the business end of the beast would be - oh, say, Iran-Contra.

House Doorkeeping Policy

Will Be 'Do-it-Yourself'

House Republicans can open their own doors, thank you. They'd been pushing to turn the traditional, mostly ceremonial patronage position of doorkeeper into the real world, but the 49 holders of that office balked at being retrained as security guards.

So now the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee has come up with another idea. Basically, "Get rid of them." At least half of the doorkeepers would get the ax or accept duties with the U.S. Capitol Police under the committee's plan. …

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