November 8, 1995 in Nation/World

Gop: Bentsen Leaked Info Ex-Official Denies Trying To Influence Whitewater Investigation

Newsday
 
Tags:ethics

Senate Republicans investigating Whitewater Tuesday investigated the Whitewater investigation.

Under intense questioning from Whitewater Committee Chairman Alfonse D’Amato, R-N.Y., former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen said he acted properly July 23, 1994, by giving then-White House Counsel Lloyd Cutler transcripts of depositions by key figures questioned as part an Office of Government Ethics probe.

Bensten denied trying to influence the Whitewater investigation.

Instead, he said he was simply trying to make sure the White House had as much information as possible to prepare for Whitewater hearings.

In any case, Bentsen said, he gave the information to Cutler under the proviso that none of it be shared with potential witnesses.

But three Resolution Trust Corp. officials who helped conduct the ethics probe into contacts between Whitewater investigators and the White House testified that they vehemently opposed Bentsen giving the sworn testimony to aides of President Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Indeed, John J. Adair, Clark W. Blight and Patricia Black told the committee they were shocked when they learned Bentsen and other Treasury Department officials gave the White House the sensitive material.

What’s more, Black testified that she raised concerns with Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr early this year that Francine Kerner, the former counsel to the Treasury Department Office of Inspector General, was leaking sensitive information from the ethics investigation to the White House. Kerner is scheduled to testify today.

D’Amato charged that the alleged leaks allowed administration officials to “tailor” and “coordinate” their subsequent testimony before Congress.

Republicans charged that Harold Ickes, White House deputy chief of staff, used leaked information to coordinate his testimony before the committee with his former deputy, Roger Altman, something Ickes denied.


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