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Starr Hits Four-Year Anniversary

By Jonathan Karl/CNN

Starr
Ken Starr

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Aug. 5) -- Wednesday marks the fourth anniversary of the appointment of Ken Starr as independent counsel to investigate alleged wrongdoing related to Whitewater, the Clintons' Arkansas land deal.

During those four years, Starr has spent about $40 million investigating President Bill Clinton and his inner circle, a sum which has won Starr some accomplishments -- and some controversies.

The original Whitewater independent counsel, Robert Fiske, handed over the reins of the investigation to Starr on Aug. 5, 1994. It was a move that angered Democrats from the start.

"Give me a break, this move screams politics," Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) said at the time.

Bennett
Bob Bennett

Starr was a prominent Republican who had served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Clinton's personal lawyer, Bob Bennett, opposed Starr's appointment from the get-go, calling for Starr's resignation even before he had begun his investigation.

Bennett was not alone. Over the years, the attacks on Starr would grow vicious. He drew fire from CNN's Larry King and from Monica Lewinsky's former lawyer, Bill Ginsburg. King told Starr to "go jump in a lake" on his show, Larry King Live.

And back in April, Ginsburg scolded Starr: "Mr. Starr, what about the American people, Mr. Starr. Have you no shame?"

Even amidst the flurry of controversy that has surrounded Starr and his investigation, he has accomplished a list of legal victories: twelve convictions and guilty pleas.

Ginsburg
Bill Ginsburg

Clinton pal and former number three at the Justice Department Webster Hubbell pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion.

Earlier in the investigation, in May 1996, Starr won the conviction of Arkansas governor Jim Guy Tucker on 11 counts, including conspiracy and fraud. At the same trial, Jim and Susan McDougal, former Clinton business partners, were also convicted on a combined 27 counts.

Starr has also won court battles with the White House. He successfully challenged the assertions of "executive privilege" for some White House aides and a "protective function privilege" for the Secret Service.

Among the list of victories, there have also been defeats. The Supreme Court battle over the notes of former Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster ended with a decision that attorney-client privilege extends beyond the grave. And a second indictment against Hubbell was thrown out by a judge who said Starr was on a "fishing expedition."

But Starr's most devastating defeats have been on the public relations front. After announcing he planned to accept a deanship at Pepperdine University, he was forced to backtrack.

"As Fiorello LaGuardia would say, when I make a mistake, it's a beaut," Starr said of the controversy surrounding the appointment.

Even Starr's supporters say he has a political tin ear, but this deeply religious man shows flashes of humor.

Starr has had his mandate expanded year by year. He has been tasked to probe the firings in the White House travel office, administration access to hundreds of FBI files on Republicans and, finally, the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Tradition calls for a gift of flowers on a fourth anniversary. But flowers are something the White House probably won't be sending Starr. In any case, the independent counsel will be getting something he wants more than a bouquet for his investigation anniversary: the testimony of the president.

In Other News

Wednesday, August 5, 1998

Lewinsky Prepares To Take Center Stage Thursday
House Panel Braces For Reno Contempt Vote
Clinton Huddles With House Democrats
House Democrats Lose Vote On Census Method
Starr Hits Four-Year Anniversary
Hillary Clinton Plays Crucial Role In Husband's Legal, Political Strategy

Election '98
Kevorkian Lawyer Captures Michigan's Democratic Gubernatorial Nomination
Michigan Primary Results
Kansas Primary Results
Missouri Primary Results


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