August 9, 1995 in Nation/World

Bank Probe Blocked, Committee Told Federal Examinder Says Fraud Rampant At Madison Guaranty

Los Angeles Times
 
Tags:ethics

A federal bank examiner who delved into the failure of the Arkansas savings and loan with close ties to Bill Clinton told a House committee Tuesday she was blocked, disciplined and finally removed from her job for aggressively urging a criminal probe of the key figures involved, including the president and his wife.

“We uncovered rampant bank fraud, including check kiting,” Jean Lewis, a Kansas City-based investigator for the Resolution Trust Corp., said of her methodical examination of old check stubs from the Madison Guaranty S&L.; Nonetheless, higher-level officials in Little Rock, Kansas City and Washington refused to undertake a full-scale criminal investigation, she said.

“I believe there was a concerted effort to obstruct, hamper and manipulate the results of our investigation,” charged Lewis.

Meanwhile, in parallel Senate hearings on Whitewater, a close confidante of Hillary Clinton denied she or the first lady sought to prevent investigators from examining White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster’s office in the hours after his suicide.

“I never, I say never, received from anyone or gave to anyone any instructions about how the review of Vince Foster’s office was to be conducted or how the files in Vince Foster’s office were to be handled,” said Susan Thomases, a New York attorney and long-time adviser to the Clintons.

The second day of hearings in the House Banking Committee was again marked by partisan bickering. Frustrated Democrats charged the Republican majority with stacking the hearing with witnesses who saw the Whitewater affair as a massive conspiracy.

This “is absolutely McCarthyite,” snapped Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. He accused the Republicans of putting out unfounded allegations about the Clintons and other officials, and then denying the accused a right to respond during the hearings.

Democrats also noted that while Tuesday’s hearing highlighted shoddy bank practices at the failed Arkansas thrift, none of this evidence directly implicated Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Justice Department officials also took objection to Lewis’s testimony.

“It is 100 percent wrong, probably wrong, and totally wrong for her to say that the Justice Department ignored her (criminal) referral,” said department spokesman Carl Stern.


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