Slippery White House stokes up suspicion: Constant drip of less than shattering revelations keeps scandals alive - World - News - The Independent

Slippery White House stokes up suspicion: Constant drip of less than shattering revelations keeps scandals alive

THE SUMS of money are piffling, no wrongdoing has been proved. The central events took place in a small, obscure Southern State, a decade ago or more. But Arkansas' then governor, Bill Clinton, is now President. And for a harassed White House, the tangle of his personal and financial dealings, collectively known as 'Whitewater', is the story that will not die.

Yesterday brought the latest instalment of torture by a thousand tiny cuts: allegations that the Rose law firm of Little Rock - where Hillary Clinton and Vince Foster, the senior White House counsel who died last July, were partners before they came to Washington - only last week had secretly shredded documents relating to Whitewater, the real estate venture the Clintons once jointly owned with the head of a savings bank called Madison Guaranty.

Admittedly, the report appeared in the Washington Times, a conservative paper ferociously critical of a Democratic President. Based on the claims of two unidentified Rose employees, it is hotly denied by the firm's managing partner. But the timing is unfortunate: just when Robert Fiske, the special counsel appointed by the government to uncover the truth about Whitewater, is about to start work in Little Rock.

The inquiry will examine not only possible financial and ethics misbehaviour by the Clintons, but that separate headache for the White House - the Foster affair. It is now admitted that Whitewater documents were removed from Foster's office shortly after he was found dead, before the police could inspect it. Now the White House must contend with speculation Foster did not commit suicide, as universally and logically assumed, but was murdered.

The rumours' only basis are assertions by a paramedic who first saw the body. His claims of 'circumstances inconsistent with suicide' have been rebutted by leading forensic experts. Nor has anyone suggested who might have killed Foster, or why. By far the most plausible explanation is that he was so depressed he took his life.

But it is by innuendo and partial revelation that Whitewater lives - prompted less by Republican mischief- making than White House slipperiness, that offers conspiracy theorists a field day. The removal of the files from Foster's office offered ammunition aplenty. If proof emerges that Rose did indeed turn to the paper shredder, there will be yet more.

Meanwhile, other shreds of the Whitewater fabric pop up almost daily. Last weekend came the first apparent proof that money from Madison, whose 1989 collapse cost taxpayers up to dollars 60m (pounds 41m), helped the Clintons meet their commitments to Whitewater, which they had jointly set up with Madison's owner Jim McDougal.

The funds in question, a puny dollars 7,300, date back to 1985. They are said to be an 'informal payment' assisting the Clintons at a moment when the Whitewater concern was experiencing difficulties. But Jim Leach, the Iowa congressman who is leading the Republican campaign, insists the discovery is 'clear evidence of a small amount of fire amid the smoke'. Another typical story contains the less than shattering revelation the Clintons might have underpaid their income taxes by dollars 11,000 between 1978 and 1980, by incorrectly reporting Whitewater transactions.

More gripping was a story in the New York Times that a report by the Park Police, who found Foster's body, 'strongly suggests' Bernard Nussbaum, White House counsel and Foster's immediate superior, deliberately impeded its investigations in the 48 hours following his death.

Now Mr Nussbaum says he did nothing wrong when he insisted that other staff be present when witnesses were interviewed by the police. But the Justice Department refuses to release either the report of the Park Police or the separate autopsy on Foster, on the grounds that to publish them could interfere with the work of the special counsel. And so curiosity grows. Will the White House never learn? Or maybe there really is something to hide.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Programme Test Manager

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

Secondary supply teachers needed in Peterborough

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...

Modern Foreign Languages Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full time German Supply Teacher...

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week