Whitewater Net Ensnares
Arkansas Securities Official
WASHINGTON (CNN, Feb. 9) -- The Whitewater spotlight has turned to a
former Arkansas securities commissioner who said she was
pressured by White House aides to make a public statement
favoring the Clintons in their role in Whitewater.
Beverly Bassett Schaffer said a White House aide approached
her husband in late 1993 to ask if she was willing to speak
out publicly in favor of President Bill Clinton and first lady
Hillary Rodham Clinton.
She told the Associated Press her husband was later
approached by a Clinton friend, who asked if his wife might be
willing to hold a press conference on Whitewater. Later, an
attorney in Schaffer's law firm asked her to compile notes on
Whitewater, which she believed to have been passed on to the
White House aide, Bruce Lindsey.
Schaffer said Thursday her response to those asking for her
support was "No way. I don't want to be drawn into the
Both Lindsey and the attorney, Skip Rutherford, are mentioned
in notes from a Jan. 7, 1994 White House meeting on
Schaffer and Whitewater, which were the subject of scrutiny
Thursday during Senate Whitewater hearings.
The notes, taken by former White House communications
director Mark Gearan, showed Clinton aides were worried
about what Schaffer would say about her discussions with Mrs.
Mrs. Clinton had talked to Schaffer about allowing a savings
and loan associated with the Whitewater land deal to issue
stock. Schaffer approved the stock deal, but denied, during
the 1992 campaign, that she'd been pressured by Mrs. Clinton
to do so.
According to notes of the January 1994 White House meeting,
aides suggested sending someone to Arkansas to make sure
Schaffer's story was "okay."
The White House turned over the notes Wednesday after a
delay, saying Gearan inadvertently had taken the notes with
him when he left the White House.
The notes are filled with expletives, some of which set the
Senate Whitewater committee buzzing. One Republican said the
notes showed an effort to influence Schaffer before she
"I personally am disturbed by the implications of this
language, particularly that someone was going to meet with
Mrs. Schaffer and that holes had to be poked in 'their' story
and that if this 'f's up' we're done, and I wonder what that
means," (198K AIFF or
WAV sound) said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
White House spokesman Mark Fabiani said presidential aides
who participated in the 1994 meeting were simply seeking to
have Schaffer repeat comments she made that were supportive
of Mrs. Clinton's Whitewater role.
White House counsel Jane Sherburne, who was questioned during
Thursday's session, said she did not know what the notes
meant. But she suggested they could mean White House aides
were just trying to get the facts.
Gearan will likely be called back to explain his notes to
Whitewater investigators. The hearings are recessed until
next week. (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)