House opens new Whitewater front against Clinton

The House Banking Committee yesterday began hearings in which it aims to show that, contrary to White House denials, President Bill Clinton received "substantial benefits" from the Whitewater property concern and from the failed Arkansas savings bank owned by his partner in the venture.

Opening the latest round of the controversy which has dogged Mr Clinton for more than three years, the committee's Republican chairman, Jim Leach, said Whitewater was a conduit for money to reduce Mr Clinton's personal debt and liabilities run up during his gubernatorial election campaigns in the 1980s. At bottom, he declared, the affair was about "the arrogance of power". It was an arrangement in which Jim McDougal, owner of the Madison Guaranty Bank, "provided virtually all the money, and Mr Clinton his name".

Unlike the separate Senate hearings, which entered a fourth week yesterday, Mr Leach is focusing not on the aftermath of the July 1993 suicide of Vince Foster, the deputy White House counsel who handled many of the Clintons' personal affairs, but on the tangled relationship between Madison and Whitewater, which lies at the origin of the controversy.

Republicans are insisting that Whitewater is a matter of political graft, in which Mr Clinton shielded Madison Guaranty from collapse in return for financial help, in good measure channelled through Whitewater's account at Madison. Democrats echo Mr Clinton's own insistence that not a shred of proof has emerged that he did anything wrong.

Mr Leach's efforts are unlikely to be more successful than previous efforts to elucidate the mysteries of Whitewater. But as the acknowledged Capitol Hill expert on the subject, he commands considerable respect. Yesterday he contended that despite assertions to the contrary, Mr Clinton did not lose money on the venture. Meanwhile, Mr Leach asserts, documents prove that "at least $88,000 [pounds 56,000] was siphoned from Madison to Whitewater".

While the House panel probes for financial irregularities, the Senate Whitewater Committee will produce more witnesses, including the former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum, to substantiate its charges that aides removed key Whitewater documents from Mr Foster's office immediately after his death, possibly on the direct orders of Hillary Clinton.

Testimony thus far leaves little doubt that papers were taken from the office. The Clintons, however, deny any intent to interfere with the investigations. If mistakes were made, they were caused by the confusion of the moment, their aides say.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Fertility Nurse

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join the ho...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Manager - Events

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Marketing Manager sought for pr...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash