The Justice Department has rejected a request for an independent prosecutor to investigate possible criminal violations of campaign finance laws by the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns.
The decision, made as President Clinton is considering whether to keep Attorney General Janet Reno in her job, turned down a request by Common Cause, the public interest lobbying group, to investigate Clinton’s and Bob Dole’s primary campaign operations.
A letter announcing the decision, signed by Mark M. Richard, an acting assistant attorney general, said lawyers in a newly created campaign finance unit would continue to examine the issues raised by Common Cause.
Legal experts said that they were not surprised by Reno’s decision given the lack of specifics in the complaint, but that the attorney general faced several more difficult decisions in coming days, particularly on requests from Republican lawmakers for independent counsels to investigate Democratic fund raising.
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