Mar. 28, 2016 12:46pm Fred Lucas
As the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server appears to intensify, a government watchdog group is suing to obtain the “draft indictment” from a past scandal.
Whitewater, an Arkansas land deal gone bad when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas and Hillary Clinton was a member of the Rose law firm, was the subject of much suspicion during Bill Clinton’s tenure as president. The National Archives has confirmed that there was a “draft indictment” of then-first lady Hillary Clinton by the office of independent counsel Ken Starr. Robert Ray, who took over the probe in 1999, determined in 2000 there was not sufficient evidence to indict the Clintons regarding Whitewater.
However, the National Archives and Records Administration, is refusing to release the draft indictment, asserting it would violate the former first lady’s privacy.
Judicial Watch announced Monday it had filed a motion for summary judgment, and suspects 2016 presidential politics is behind the agency’s reluctance to release the information.
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
“It is absurd for the Obama administration to argue that Hillary Clinton’s privacy would keep a draft indictment from the American public,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “One can’t help but conclude that the Obama administration is doing a political favor for Hillary Clinton at the expense of the public’s right to know about whether prosecutors believed she may have committed federal crimes.”
The National Archives confirmed in its court motion that “included among the records of Mr. Starr and his successors are drafts of a proposed indictment of Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
NARA also stated, “Box 2250 contains a folder labeled ‘Draft Indictment.’ Box 2256 contains a folder labeled ‘Hillary Rodham Clinton/Webster L. Hubbell Draft Indictment.’ Multiple drafts of the proposed indictment of Mrs. Clinton were located by NARA [National Archives and Records Administration] within these folders.”
The court filing, written by Martha Wagner Murphy, chief of National Archives FOIA branch, declared that the draft wold be a “privacy interest that is not outweighed by any public interest.”
“With respect to the potential invasion of personal privacy, all individuals are entitled to a presumption of innocence,” Murphy wrote. “When, in the context of a criminal investigation, an independent counsel determines not to bring an indictment, the subject of the investigation has a significant privacy interest in not being associated with any underlying criminal interest.”
The Clinton presidential campaign did not immediately respond to TheBlaze for comment.
The Judicial Watch’s opposition brief said, “Making false statements and withholding evidence from federal investigators bears on Mrs. Clinton’s honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness … for the position she currently seeks.” The brief added that the National Archives argument is “neither serious nor credible.”
The draft indictments regard allegations that Hillary Clinton provided false information and withheld evidence from federal investigators to conceal her involvement with the defunct Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, the collapse of which lead to multiple criminal convictions of several involved in the Whitewater land deal.
Hillary Clinton represented Madison Guaranty as an attorney at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clinton’s Rose Law Firm billing records were found in the private quarters of the White House shortly after an important statute of limitations had expired.
The Whitewater scandal was a convoluted matter that consumed the headlines in the early years of the Clinton administration. Starr’s investigation eventually led to the Monica Lewinsky matter.
The controversy traced back to 1978 with a real estate investment by the Clintons along with Jim and Susan McDougal into the Whitewater Development Corp., when Bill Clinton was the Arkansas attorney general and continued through his time as governor.
Hillary Clinton was a member of the Rose law firm, which handled legal business for the McDougals. David Hale, a former Arkansas judge also facing scrutiny, alleged that Gov. Clinton pressured him to provide an illegal $300,000 loan to the McDougals. The questions followed the Clintons to the White House in part because Hillary’s Rose law partners Vince Foster and Webster Hubbell both were giving posts in the administration. In 1996, numerous Clinton confidants were convicted, including Jim McDougal and Clinton’s gubernatorial successor, Jim Guy Tucker.