The decision by the House Judiciary Committee to add a campaign finance investigation against President Clinton has stirred up a firestorm of controversy. The straight party-line vote merely serves to illustrate how partisan the discussion has become.
But since Attorney General Janet Reno has decided not to appoint an independent counsel to investigate campaign finance abuses, Henry Hyde perhaps felt he had no choice but to open up the investigation. Of course, he has opened himself up to the criticism that this is an impeachment inquiry in search of a high crime.
The committee has subpoenaed a number of documents. These include a 27-page memo by FBI Director Louis Freeh reporting that a task force probe led agents "to the highest levels of the White House, including the vice president and president." He believed that this obligated Attorney General Janet Reno to appoint an independent counsel. The committee is also asking for an 100-page report this year by Charles LaBella formerly in charge of the Justice Department's campaign finance probe which supports Mr. Freeh's recommendation.
The committee also has subpoenaed documents, tapes, memos, and investigative reports Mr. Starr gathered about former Democratic fund-raiser John Huang. This might help establish a link between foreign contributions and subsequent administration action. These materials might be put with reports of leaked foreign policy documents concerning the administration's dealings with North Korea, Iraq, and China. Taken together, this could move the impeachment investigation in a new direction and spell trouble for the White House.
Where will this investigation lead? Only time will tell. But the recent addition of an investigation into possible campaign finance abuse does change the original calculations about whether the president will be impeached. While he may not be impeached for lying under oath about Monica Lewinsky, Congress may vote in an entirely different way if issues of campaign finance abuse are considered.
I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.
© 1998 Probe Ministries International