LAST UPDATED: JUNE 12, 1998
AN OVERVIEW OF KEN STARR:
Political affiliation: Independent counsel in charge of the Whitewater investigation.
Role: Expanded the Whitewater investigation to include a search for possible extramarital sexual partners of the president. Starr reasons that any “pillow talk” that may have occurred during the president’s alleged affairs could have included information related to the Whitewater investigation.
Background: Kenneth Starr’s Whitewater probe has cost $40 million in its 3 1/2 year existence. It originally focused on potentially illegal transactions related to a 1980’s Arkansas real-estate deal. Since then, the probe has grown quite a few tentacles as Starr has embarked upon investigations into the death of late deputy counsel Vincent Foster as well as into concerns over mishandled FBI files, the so-called Travelgate scandal and accusations of campaign finance abuses during the 1996 elections.
In several cases, Mr. Starr was placed in charge of new investigations by Janet Reno seemingly out of convenience since it wouldn’t require the creation and appointment of new independent counsels.
Starr endured heavy criticism in February of 1997 when Pepperdine University in California announced he would be relinquishing his role as independent counsel and would be accepting a position as the dean of its law school and of a new public policy school there. After a loud outcry from members of both political parties, the media and even some of Starr’s own staff, Mr. Starr put these plans on hold and decided to remain with the investigation. Many though interpreted this as a sign that the investigation was losing steam.
Some analysts believe this latest expansion of Starr’s probe to include Ms. Lewinsky’s alleged affair with the president may be creating an all or nothing atmosphere for the investigation. They believe Starr is in danger of overstepping his mandate and risks losing all support for future investigations if the Lewinsky well turns up dry.
On April 16, 1998, Starr held a press conference to announce — among other things — that he no longer plans to join Pepperdine University as dean of its school of law. Criticism of Starr’s plans to join Pepperdine had grown due to reports that arch-conservative publisher Richard Mellon Scaife had given money to Pepperdine in the past and is also suspected of funneling money to one of Starr’s key witnesses, David Hale. The Justice Department joined many in the media by advising Mr. Starr that this could present him with a potential conflict of interest during his investigation of money which might have been given to Hale by Scaife.
MORE RESOURCE LINKS:
WHITE HOUSE REBUTTAL | CLINTON GRAND JURY TRANSCRIPT | LEWINSKY GRAND JURY TRANSCRIPT | NEW STARR RELEASE | 81 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS | EXPERTS TESTIFY ON IMPEACHMENT | HEARING TRANSCRIPTS: 2-DAY CLINTON DEFENSE | 184-PAGE CLINTON DEFENSE REPORT | CLINTON’S POST-IMPEACHMENT ADDRESS TO NATION | BIOS OF SENATE TRIAL MANAGERS | LEWINSKY DEPOSITION | JORDAN DEPOSITION | BLUMENTHAL DEPOSITION | MANAGERS’ CLOSING ARGUMENTS | PRESIDENT’S CLOSING DEFENSE
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