Myth: Ken Starr's investigation was ethical and fair.
Fact: Ken Starr's investigation was filled with conflicts of interests, illegalities and improprieties.
Ken Starr's investigation was not independent, but heavily based in right-wing politics, replete with conflicts of interest, illegal leaks, perjury traps, overzealous prosecution, and ties to Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire funding the scandals.
Below are 68 reasons why you should not trust Kenneth Starr or his investigation: (1)
Improprieties in gaining the office of independent counsel:
1. Starr was appointed by conservative judge David Sentelle's panel immediately after Sentelle had a lunch with Jesse Helms and Lauch Faircloth, North Carolina's right-wing, Clinton-hating senators.
2. Judge Sentelle's wife went to work for Senator Faircloth's office five months after Starr's appointment.
3. When the Justice Department considered Ken Starr for Independent Prosecutor, Starr failed to admit numerous conflicts of interest.
Conflicts of interest:
4. Before his appointment, Starr wrote a friend-of-the-court brief about Paula Jones for the Supreme Court.
5. Starr wrote a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the Republican National Committee for Bush attorney general Richard Thornborough.
6. Starr maintained his million-dollar-a-year private law practice while working as independent counsel.
7. Starr represented Big Tobacco while working as independent counsel; Bill Clinton is Big Tobacco's number one enemy.
8. Starr's law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, was being sued by the Resolution Trust Corporation while Starr investigated the RTC.
9. Starr represented International Paper, which had sold land to the Whitewater Development Company.
10. Starr sits on the board of the conservative Washington Legal Foundation, funded by Big Tobacco.
11. Starr sought out a book deal with Newt Gingrich's agent, Lunn Chu.
12. Starr has ties to right-wingers James Moody and George Conway, the Jones/Tripp lawyers.
13. Starr was forced by Associate Attorney General Webb Hubbell to stop representing Bell Atlantic; later, Starr got even by prosecuting Hubbell into oblivion.
Illegalities and ethical lapses in the investigation:
14. Starr leaks like a sieve, contrary to the law preventing him from disclosing information to the press.
15. Starr contributed to a New York Times Magazine article to promote his investigation.
16. Starr wired Linda Tripp before asking for authority to pursue those allegations.
17. Starr pressured Lewinsky to wear a wire before asking for authority to pursue further allegations.
18. Starr's only key Whitewater witness, David Hale, is reported to have been paid by Richard Mellon Scaife, who is funding the Clinton scandals.
19. Starr's only key Whitewater witness, David Hale, is a proven liar.
20. Starr's own investigation gave David Hale more than $60,000 for living expenses.
21. Starr's Whitewater state trooper witnesses were paid by Jerry Falwell.
22. Someone at Starr's private law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, faxed an affidavit from the Jones case to the Chicago Tribune before it was filed in court.
23. Starr's star "witness," Linda Tripp, worked simultaneously with Starr's and Jones's lawyers.
24. Starr had gained detailed knowledge of Monica Lewinsky's sealed deposition in the Jones suit within hours of its completion.
25. Starr appears to have set a "perjury trap" for Clinton.
26. Apparently for political reasons, Starr withheld his report clearing Clinton on Vince Foster's suicide until after the 1996 elections.
27. Apparently for political reasons, Starr withheld his exoneration of Clinton on Travelgate, Filegate and Whitewater until after the 1998 elections.
28. Apparently for political reasons, the Starr Report, complete with pornographic details, was released to Congress and the public just a month before the 1998 elections.
Overzealousness of prosecution:
29. Starr held Monica Lewinsky without a lawyer for eight or nine hours. (She was technically free to go, but coerced psychologically with threats of 27-year prison sentences.)
30. Starr tried to force Marcia Lewis, Lewinksy's mother, to testify against her. (She became ill as a result.)
31. Starr's investigators were bearing guns when they interrogated Lewinksy's brother.
32. Starr tried to pressure Whitewater witness Steve Smith to testify falsely, according to Smith.
33. Starr threatened Whitewater witness Sarah Hawkins with indictment without any evidence of wrong-doing.
34. Starr subpoenaed a sixteen-year old boy at his school to intimidate him.
35. Starr subpoenaed Robert Weiner for making a phone call from his home.
36. Starr kept Susan McDougal locked in jail for eighteen months and tried to get her to testify to an imaginary affair.
37. Starr subpoenaed White House aide Sidney Blumenthal for talking with the press about his investigation.
38. Starr subpoenaed a Little Rock home decorating store where Webster Hubbell shopped.
39. Starr subpoenaed bookstores where Monica Lewinsky shopped, trying to learn her reading habits.
40. Starr has subpoenaed Secret Service agents to testify against the president.
41. Starr tried to dig up dirt on the president's sex life long before the Monica Lewinsky allegations.
42. Starr's investigators harrassed White House Interior Department liaison Bob Hattoy about recruiting gay people to work in the Clinton Administration.
43. Starr's lieutenant Michael Emmick is a notoriously vicious prosecutor.
44. Starr's lieutenant Hickman Ewing is also a notoriously vicious prosecutor.
45. Starr's lieutenant Bruce Udolf violated someone's civil rights with his prosecutorial excess.
46. Starr's lieutenant Jackie Bennett says he "didn't know" Mickey Kantor was the President's personal attorney.
47. Starr has maintained both Washington D.C. and Virginia Grand Juries, so that he can berate black witnesses in front of a white jury.
48. Starr has tried to breach the attorney-client privilege of Vince Foster, Monica Lewinsky and President Clinton.
Starr's far-right activism and bias (which prevent him from being an independent counsel, unlike his predecessor, the moderate and ideal Robert Fiske):
49. Starr considered running for a Republican Senate nomination in Virginia.
50. Starr was co-chairman of an unsuccessful Republican congressional campaign (Kyle McSlarrow, 1994).
51. Starr pushed a Whitewater story as a member of the ABA Journal editorial board.
52. Starr contributed $5,475 to Republican political candidates in the 1993-94 election cycle.
53. Starr contributed $1,750 to a political action committee gave money to 1995-96 GOP presidential candidates.
54. Starr, according to journalist David Brock, is a mainstay at right-wing parties.
55. Starr appeared on radio programs to speak in support of Paula Jones's case against the president.
Starr's connections to Richard Mellon Scaife and other Clinton-haters financing the scandals:
56. Star accepted a Scaife-funded tenured chair at Pepperdine University. (The ensuing scandal caused him to reject it.)
57. Starr sits on the board of the Scaife-funded Washington Legal Foundation.
58. Starr has done work for the Scaife-founded Landmark Legal Foundation, which has done work for Paula Jones.
59. Starr prepared a legal brief for Paula Jones on behalf of the Independent Women’s Forum, which is Scaife-financed.
60. Starr spoke at the Richard Mellon Scaife-funded Property Rights Group while working as independent counsel.
61. Starr spoke at right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson's Regent University while working as independent counsel.
62. Starr performed legal work for the conservative Bradley Foundation.
Other Starr fumbles:
63. Starr has spent nearly $40 million to smear the president and has found no evidence of wrong-doing anywhere, except for the cover-up of a sexual affair.
64. Starr has described no fewer than ten "critical stages" of his Whitewater investigation that never amounted to anything.
65. Starr resigned before completion of his Whitewater probe, only to come back after intense right-wing pressure.
66. Starr himself has admitted that he has exercised bad judgment.
67. Starr has been accused of shielding perjury in a General Motors case.
68. When Starr appeared before the House Judicial committee, he answered at least 30 times with statements like "I can't recall…" "I don't remember…" even for momentous events like when he learned about the Tripp tapes.
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1. Sixty of these points are taken from James Carville, "Sixty Reasons Why I Don't Trust Ken Starr's Investigation," ...And the Horse He Rode In On (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998), pp. 143-147.