Independent Counsel

June 26, 1998

Over the last few months, President Clinton's defenders have been complaining that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr is out of control. They point to the open-ended nature of the law that allows an enterprising lawyer to pursue nearly any lead and spend nearly any amount of money. Sooner or later a smart lawyer is going to find some statement or some political deal that could be used for an indictment even if that indictment does not lead to a conviction.

And you know something, the critics are right. The Independent Counsel law is a disaster. And you know something else, conservatives have been saying that for years. But only recently have liberals (and especially Democrats) been saying the same thing. I can't remember too many Democrats complaining about Lawrence Walsh during the Iran-Contra investigations. But all of a sudden, they are complaining about the Independent Counsel and the Independent Counsel law.

A little history is in order. The Independent Counsel law was not passed by a Republican Congress to get a Democratic President. It was passed by a Democratic Congress in 1977 in the post-Watergate period and signed by a Democratic President. Not one Democrat in the Senate voted against it. The five votes against it were conservative Republicans. Since that time, the law has been re-authorized every five years.

The reasons cited against the law by conservative Republicans back in the 1970s are now starting to surface in the 1990s. But it took the scrutiny of a Democratic President to bring them about. Once you establish an Independent Counsel and provide the necessary funds, the investigation can go anywhere often with few checks and balances. The law needs revision or it needs to be revoked. Too bad it took more than two decades for a lot of people in Congress to see that.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International