Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker was indicted on felony charges Wednesday along with two others in a case that grew out of the government’s investigation of the controversial Ozark land deal known as Whitewater.
Tucker, a Democrat, becomes the highest-ranking incumbent government official to be charged in the investigation led by independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Indicted at the same time were John Haley, and William J. Marks Sr., both partners of Tucker in a cable television venture.
Although Tucker served as lieutenant governor when President Clinton was governor of Arkansas, his indictment has little - if any - political fallout for the president because the two men were never close allies.
According to the indictment, Tucker, as a private attorney in the late 1980s, conspired with his associates to obtain a loan of $300,000 backed by the Small Business Administration under false pretenses and to hide millions of dollars in profits from the Internal Revenue Service.
After the Tucker indictment was announced by Starr, the White House issued a statement saying that Clinton still views Tucker as “an outstanding public servant.” At the same time, White House officials were quick to emphasize the case did not involve the president in any way.
Still, the president’s lawyers are sure to view the Tucker indictment as an important development because the governor’s chief accuser, former municipal judge David Hale, also has leveled serious allegations at Clinton.