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Businessweek Archives

Whitewater Shafting

Up Front: Capital Offenses


Look who's talking. On Capitol Hill, the outcry for a special prosecutor to probe the tangled affairs of the Clintons, Whitewater, and Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan was intense.

Among Democratic senators calling for action were Virginia's Charles Robb and Michigan's Donald Riegle, who both complained loudly about past probes of their own questionable conduct. Keating Five alum Riegle knows a lot about S&L wheeling and dealing. In 1991, the Senate Ethics Committee rebuked him for helping influence-seeking Charles Keating, the convicted thrift kingpin, with his regulatory problems while taking Keating campaign gifts. And Robb is familiar with federal grand jury investigations: He was cleared last year of conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges stemming from taped eavesdropping on car-phone conversations involving his political archrival, former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder. But his reputation has been sullied: An indictment of an associate accused Robb of knowing about the tapes' content, an accusation the senator denied.

Then there are the Republicans. Just two years ago, with the Iran-contra imbroglio at issue, Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) compared the Office of Independent Counsel to the Spanish Inquisition. Dole used parliamentary tactics to kill the office. Yet with a Democrat in the White House, Dole pushed hard for a special prosecutor, albeit one who still reports to the Justice Dept.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT AND JULIE TILSNER Richard S. Dunham

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