Sprint Corp. hired former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell for $90,000 to help it win federal approval for a European venture, The Kansas City Star reported Saturday.
The newspaper said it learned details of the arrangement after obtaining a letter from a Sprint lawyer to the chairman of a congressional committee. The Star said Sprint officials confirmed the contents but would not elaborate.
The Star said Hubbell was to receive $15,000 a month for six months, but the arrangement ended after a month when Hubbell pleaded guilty in December 1994 to defrauding his partners and clients at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock. He was paid “less than $90,000,” said Sprint spokesman Bill White.
A federal grand jury led by Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr and congressional investigators are exploring Hubbell’s ability to land jobs that paid more than $400,000 between his March 1994 resignation from the Justice Department and his plea agreement.
Critics of the Clinton administration suggest those fees were designed to ensure that a potential witness in the Whitewater investigation remained loyal to the White House. Hubbell, a close friend of the president and Hillary Rodham Clinton, had been a law partner of Hillary Clinton in Little Rock, Ark.
The president has said administration officials helped line up many of the jobs for Hubbell as “human compassion” for a friend in trouble.
Sprint officials said that company officials in Washington decided on their own to hire Hubbell in November 1994.
“No one from the White House or associated with the president contacted us,” White said. “We identified Hubbell ourselves. There was no middle man at all.”
The Star said it was unclear what work Hubbell performed on the Sprint joint venture with German and French telephone companies. The venture was later approved by Hubbell’s former colleagues at the Justice Department and now operates under the name Global One.
Reached by The Star at his home in Washington, Hubbell declined to discuss his work for Sprint. “If they have given a statement, I’m happy,” he said. “Whatever they want to say, they can say.”