Starr Is Handed Spectator Fund Case

By Seper, Jerry | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 10, 1998 | Go to article overview

Starr Is Handed Spectator Fund Case


Seper, Jerry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Despite concerns of a possible conflict of interest, the Justice Department yesterday asked independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr to investigate accusations that Whitewater witness David L. Hale received money from a conservative foundation while cooperating in the probe.

Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., in a letter to Mr. Starr, said the independent counsel's office had "investigative and prosecutorial jurisdiction over these allegations" because it involved possible tampering with one of his witnesses.

Mr. Holder said the department lacked jurisdiction in the matter, although it had been reviewing the accusations, along with concerns about Mr. Starr's ties to the American Spectator magazine and the conservation foundation that supports it.

"There have been suggestions that your office would have a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict . . . because of the importance of Hale to your investigation and because the payments allegedly came from funds provided by [billionaire publisher] Richard Scaife," Mr. Holder said.

"Should you believe that this matter would be better investigated by the Department of Justice, we would be prepared to accept a referral from you."

Mr. Starr's office was unavailable last night for comment.

Attorney General Janet Reno said last week the department was reviewing accusations that Mr. Hale accepted money from the American Spectator foundation while cooperating in the Whitewater probe. A foundation director is Washington lawyer Theodore Olson, a former law partner of Mr. Starr's. The foundation received money from Mr. Scaife, who also gave $1 million to Pepperdine University, where Mr. Starr will head the law school after the Whitewater probe ends.

The Justice Department review was sparked by accusations by Caryn Mann, a Bentonville, Ark., funeral home assistant manager, who said Mr. Hale accepted money from Parker Dozhier, her former boyfriend.

Mr. Dozhier, a Hot Springs, Ark., bait-shop owner, has said he received about $35,000 from officials representing the American Spectator in exchange for being the magazine's "eyes and ears" on the Whitewater case.

He said he primarily clipped newspaper articles and sent them to the conservative monthly. He said no money was ever given to Mr. Hale, although he sometimes let him stay in his lake cabin.

Mr. Dozhier reportedly was paid by Stephen S. Boynton, a Virginia lawyer who was financed by the American Spectator to run a research project on Whitewater.

Terry Eastland, the magazine's publisher, said there's no evidence money from a $1.7 million research project on Whitewater went to Mr. Hale.

He said he will oversee an internal audit to determine how the project money was spent.

Mr. Hale, who served 19 months after pleading guilty to unrelated fraud in the Whitewater probe, was the government's chief witness in the first Whitewater trial, helping to convict former Arkansas Gov. …

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