Absolute Power: The Legacy of Corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department

Absolute Power: The Legacy of Corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department

by David Limbaugh


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780895261472
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Publication date: 09/18/2002
Pages: 385
Sales rank: 711,269
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

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This book is about the consummate corruption and politicization of the Clinton-Reno Justice Department. It examines how this enforcement arm of the executive branch was used as both a sword and shield for the Clinton-Gore administration's innumerable crimes and abuses of constitutional power.

Much lip service was paid to the "rule of law"during the Clinton years, primarily to distract attention from how often it was undermined. "The rule of law"is the very core of our constitutional system. It is a maxim holding that we are a government of laws, not men. This means that no man is above the law and that the law restrains government itself. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 51: "In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

The law is not an end in itself, but a necessary means to preserve our liberties. The framers' solution was to incorporate into the Constitution a scheme of governmental powers and limitations. The powers would be divided between the federal and state governments and among the three branches in each. A complex system of checks and balances would help to prevent each branch from becoming too powerful at the expense of individual liberties.

But the framers understood that no constitution, regardless of how brilliantly crafted, could completely prevent abuses. John Adams said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

If, for example, the president happens not to be a man of virtue and one or both of the other branches of government fail to restrain him, he has a green light to wield his executive power arbitrarily and capriciously. But even then, there are further checks within the executive department itself, such as the Justice Department, provided that honorable people control that department.

This book examines the record of the Clinton-Gore administration in light of our constitutional history, focusing on President Clinton's executive abuses - in particular, those involving the complicity of the Justice Department. The Clinton-Gore administration's rampant corruption and trampling of the rule of law permeated the entire executive branch. Whether conscious conspirator or unwitting puppet, Janet Reno dedicated the awesome enforcement power of the Justice Department to protect and defend President Clinton's multiple crimes and abuses of power. She prostituted Justice into a base political arm of the administration.

In 1993, shortly after she was installed as attorney general, Janet Reno sent an unmistakable signal that her Justice Department would primarily serve the political ends of Bill Clinton rather than the ends of justice. At once, she fired all ninety-three of the country's United States attorneys. According to no less an authority than Ted Olson, President George Bush's chief post-election attorney, Reno's move was extreme and unprecedented. "In order to maintain continuity in thousands of pending prosecutions, and as a statement to the public that elections do not influence routine law enforcement, the nation's top prosecutors are traditionally replaced only after their successors have been located, appointed, and confirmed by the Senate. On instructions from the White House (she claimed it was a "joint' decision; no one believes that), Reno ordered all 93 to leave in ten days. There could not have been a clearer signal that the Clinton campaign war room had taken over law enforcement in America."

The firings were only the beginning. Throughout Clinton's two terms, the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, instead of dispassionately enforcing the law, waged war against the administration's political and legal enemies.

When President Clinton wanted to practice character assassination on the White House Travel Office staff, Ken Starr, or Linda Tripp, he relied on the Justice Department for logistical support. When frustrated by a recalcitrant Republican Congress, President Clinton used Janet Reno to orchestrate end runs around the legislative branch - misusing the judicial system to usurp legislative prerogatives, such as with their wholesale war on the tobacco industry.

When Clinton ducked responsibility for his excesses, as at Waco, the buck stopped with Janet Reno rather than the president. But if the polls swung in her favor, he swooped in to take personal credit. When the president became embroiled in a personal lawsuit, he enlisted the aid of Reno's department to file briefs on his behalf. When he was at legal war with the independent counsel, Reno joined forces with the president rather than the independent counsel whom she was legally obliged to assist. Throughout the Clinton-Gore administration, Reno was complicit in the assertion of phony legal privileges and disruptions of the judicial process.

When congressional and independent counsel investigations struck close to the administration, Reno conveniently assumed jurisdiction over the investigation and became the president's surrogate stonewaller. While pretending to conduct investigations, she blocked Congress, denying it access to critical information and stalled long enough to stifle whatever momentum and progress investigators had achieved. Just as Clinton failed to maintain a wall of separation between his private and public lives, he misappropriated Justice to do his private dirty work and refused to keep his private attorneys separate from the Justice Department.

Even when matters as serious as national security and illegal foreign campaign contributions were involved, Reno, instead of performing her constitutional duty to enforce and uphold the law, used her office to insulate the Clinton-Gore administration from scrutiny and resulting accountability. When Charles La Bella, the Special Task Force attorney she appointed to investigate the campaign finance scandal, recommended the appointment of an independent counsel, she brazenly ignored the request and denied Congress access to La Bella's recommending memo.

Indeed, just as this book is going to press, New York Timescolumnist William Safire is reporting that on December 20, 2000, soon after Al Gore's concession, three top Justice Department aides, including an assistant attorney general, ordered one of the last remaining independent counsels, David Barrett, to stop his grand jury investigation. Barrett refused and Justice is apparently in a panic, especially with the prospect that the "incorruptible"John Ashcroft, if confirmed, will be taking the helm at Justice. Barrett is reportedly investigating allegations that the Justice Department pressured the Internal Revenue Service not to cooperate with his investigation into where disgraced Clinton appointee Henry Cisneros got the money to pay his former mistress - payments that led to Cisneros's prosecution and resignation. Justice allegedly told the IRS not to allow Barrett to see all of Cisneros's tax returns. So, as Safire asks, "Was Justice colluding with the IRS in protecting any Clinton appointees or heavy contributors from charges of tax fraud?""Equal justice,"Safire reminds us, "demands the law to move in, not to "move on.'"

The Clinton-Reno Justice Department, from Waco to Elian - with Travelgate, Chinagate, Monicagate, and the illegal war against tobacco in between - was one continuous, perfidious scandal factory. The republic cannot long endure such corruption and abuses of power.

While there have been numerous books about the Clinton administration and its multitudinous scandals, there has been no comprehensive case-by-case critique of the Clinton Justice Department. All of the sordid details must be exposed and articulated in a way that is accessible and intelligible to the average reader. If we can't succeed in bringing the late administration to account for its misdeeds, at least we can attempt to deter future administrations from such illegality by publicly exposing the abuses of the Clinton-Reno Justice Department.

Table of Contents

2Tobacco Wars39
3A Genuine Conspiracy65
4Investigating the Investigator93
5"A Substantive, Savvy, and Experienced Professional"139
6Presidential Privilege157
7The Mother of All Scandals169
8The Mother of All Scandals Moves to Congress203
9The Mother of All Scandals and the Justice Department231
10Bill Lann Lee: Quota King275
11Treating with Terrorists293

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