The decision by a voice vote in the Senate to revive till June the stalled (by Democrats) special committee investigation will ensure that the public receives the next installment in events known collectively as Whitewater. Even The Washington Post-no friend of committee chairman Alfonse D'Amato of New York-had criticized Democrats for filibustering to keep the Whitewater Special Committee from completing its task. Said a Post editorial, "Senate Whitewater committee Democrats have behaved less as seekers of truth than as bail bondsmen at every turn for embattled Clinton officials and associates."
Senate Democrats said the nearly year-old investigation (more if you count the tame "investigation" led by Democrats before the 1994 election transferred power to the Republicans) had gone on long enough, longer than any previous similar probe. True, but this one is unique in that it seems to involve the paranormal-the power of someone to make documents materialize and dematerialize at will.
"There are outstanding areas of inquiry that need investigation and closure," said the Post editorial.
D'Amato noted that, until Democrats shut down the hearings Feb. 29, "substantial progress" was being made on three critical areas of inquiry:
First, whether White House officials engaged in improper conduct in handling documents in Vincent Foster's office following his death.
Second, whether the White House improperly interfered with any investigations or prosecutions by various federal agencies relating to, among other things, Madison, Whitewater and Capital Management Services, Inc. (CMS).
Third, the activities of Madison, Whitewater and CMS, the work and billing practices of the Rose Law Firm, the bond underwriting contracts between the Arkansas Development Finance Authority and Lasater and Company, and the lending activities of the Perry County Bank in connection with Bill Clinton's 1990 reelection campaign as governor of Arkansas.
In reviving the hearings, the Senate Whitewater committee will try to complete the investigation in several remaining areas. These include:
(1) The lease of Madison office space to the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA). Was there a connection between this lease and James McDougal's personal and political contributions to Gov. Clinton?
(2) The 1985 Madison fund-raiser for the Clinton campaign for governor. Were Madison funds diverted to the campaign?
(3) The discovery of a copy of Rose Law Firm billing records in the White House residence. How did they get from Little Rock to Washington? Who had them? Who left them in the White House book room? Why were these subpoenaed records not turned over to investigators for two years?
(4) The funding of Whitewater. If the Clintons and McDougals were 50-50 partners, why did the McDougals invest $158,000 in Whitewater, while the Clintons invested less than $50,000? Were there any quid pro quos?
(5) Did the Clintons manage Whitewater after 1986? Did they misstate their financial condition in seeking extensions of Whitewater loans? Did the Clintons receive any preferential treatment from banks extending Whitewater loans? If so, why?
(6) Did Gov. Clinton pressure Judge David Hale to make an improper Small Business Administration loan to Susan McDougal? Were funds from Capital Management improperly diverted to Whitewater?
(7) Did Gov. Clinton manipulate the award of state bond underwriting contracts to Dan Lasater? If so, why?
(8) Did the Clinton campaign for governor violate federal law by not filing required reports for cash withdrawals over $10,000? Did the owners of the Perry County Bank make illegal campaign contributions to the 1990 Clinton campaign? Was there a connection between these contributions and any appointments to state office?
These are questions that need to be answered, not only that the law might be satisfied, but so the voters will have a complete picture of the character of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
© 1996, Los Angeles Times Syndicate