On May 28, 1996, a Little Rock, Arkansas, Federal Court jury convicted Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker and Susan and James McDougal on multiple fraud charges.1 The Whitewater investigation, at that moment, ceased being a political witch-hunt. Prior to the verdict, the Clinton White House and supporters of President Clinton had conducted an all-out campaign to discredit the independent counsel investigation of Kenneth Starr.2 The convictions gave Kenneth Starr a new mandate to pursue his White- water investigation.
The Washington Post, on February 6, 1995, published an opinion piece by Meg Greenfield entitled "Right and Wrong in Washington: Why Do Our Officials Need Specialists to Tell the Difference?"3 Greenfield, editor of the Washington Post editorial page and long-time Washington observer, reminded Washington that "having all those ethics boards is not the same as having ethics."4Greenfield wondered why Washington public officials had become so dependent upon ethics specialists to distinguish between right and wrong. "What has been reached in our age is the idea of ethics not as an intrinsic and understood and codifiable aspect of human behavior, but rather as one of many highly technical side concerns."5
Greenfield argued that Washington had lost its moral compass. No one seemed any longer to understand the difference between right and wrong. "What we once were assumed to know ourselves if we affected to be upstanding people, and could always count on parents, pastors and cops to call briskly to our attention [if] we didn't . . . is now believed to be beyond our own power of comprehension."6