Friday, September 14, 2007

Matthews imagined committee staffers "feast[ing] their eyes" on Clinton admin. docs

On the September 12 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews noted that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) "has told the National Archives to give him millions of pages of Clinton White House records that have been previously sealed off from the public" and proceeded to speculate about what might be in the files, stating: "Let's see, the cattle-futures deal that got Hillary a $100,000 windfall, her missing billing records from that Arkansas law firm, [former deputy White House counsel] Vince Foster -- lots of stuff for Waxman's staffers and the Republican staffers on his subcommittee to feast their eyes on." In fact, in his letter to Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), Waxman supported a request to the National Archives only for documents pertaining to "political presentations given to federal agencies by the Clinton White House Office of Political Affairs." Contrary to Matthews' claims that the records were "previously sealed off from the public," Waxman also noted in his letter that "many of the records you seek may already be in the Committee archives" and wrote: "Regarding the specifics of your other requests, the Committee's own archives of Clinton-era documents are so broad and voluminous that they should already contain responsive documents, if such documents exist."

Furthermore, Clinton's "missing billing records" were turned over to prosecutors -- who opted not to prosecute -- in 1996, and numerous investigations into Foster's death have determined that it was the result of a suicide, a conclusion that to this day does not satisfy right-wing conspiracy theorists unwilling to let go of the suspicion that the Clintons were somehow involved (here and here, for example). Clinton's purported "missing billing records from that Arkansas law firm" are already publicly available. As Media Matters for America has noted, the Office of the Independent Counsel received the billing records in February 1996, according to a February 22, 1996, Washington Post report. Regarding Matthews' allusion to Whitewater, three independent counsels -- all Republicans -- the Resolution Trust Corp, the (Republican-controlled) House Banking Committee, and the (Republican-controlled) Senate Whitewater committee, in addition to every major news organization in America, spent years investigating Whitewater. None uncovered evidence of wrongdoing by the Clintons.

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