Starr To Investigate Cash Payments To Hale
WASHINGTON (April 10) -- The Justice Department has asked Independent Counsel Ken Starr to investigate allegations that his key Whitewater witness was paid cash in exchange for damaging information about President Bill Clinton.
The allegations concern David Hale, who said then-Gov. Clinton urged him to make an illegal loan. Caryn Mann alleges that Parker Dozhier, a friend of Hale's, paid Hale money that was funneled from several persons linked to The American Spectator magazine, a conservative publication.
Mann says she did not see money being exchanged, but her son says he did. The charges have been denied by the magazine and Dozhier. In a two-page letter to Starr, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder said the department had concluded the allegations raised about Hale "warranted further investigation."
Justice officials have concluded that at this point, Starr holds sole
jurisdiction to investigate "obstruction and witness tampering" in the
"Since the matter appears to us to be within your jurisdiction, and given these unique facts, the department lacks jurisdiction to investigate it," Holder wrote Thursday.
The department questioned whether Starr would have a conflict of interest in investigating a witness so important to the his case but left it to Starr to determine whether there is such a conflict.
But the department put Starr on notice that it is prepared to act "should you develop any evidence of misconduct by any member of your staff, including FBI agents assigned to assist you.
"Should you believe that this matter would be better investigated by the Department of Justice, we would be prepared to accept a referral from you," said Holder.
Critics also point out another possible conflict of interest. The money allegedly funneled to Hale came from The American Spectator magazine. The magazine receives financial support from Richard Mellon Scaife, a millionaire associated with anti-Clinton efforts.
Scaife is also a major donor to Pepperdine University, where Starr has accepted a deanship.
Despite some doubts, Justice officials decided Starr can investigate his own witness. But they put him on notice that they are watching.