How dare Ted Olson thwart Al Gore’s attempted coup of the presidency? Well, for some Democrats, it’s now payback time.
Senate Democrats are refusing to confirm Washington super lawyer Ted Olson as Solicitor General -- if Democrats can call their chief lobbyists with law degrees super lawyers, I’m certainly within bounds to call a real lawyer a super lawyer. The media is doing all it can to block Olson as well. Olson’s principal sin was leading the Bush legal team against Al Gore’s 36 days of legal hell in Florida.
Senator Leahy has dredged up an old bogus allegation against Olson. Leahy wants to revisit charges that Olson was involved in the Arkansas Project, an investigation by the American Spectator magazine into the criminal activities of the Clintons.
Now, right on cue, the beltway media is trying to revive this matter. On May 10, the Washington Post ran an extensive piece examining whether Olson was sufficiently forthcoming in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his involvement in the Arkansas Project. Hold on just a minute here ... The Post is asking the wrong question.
The issue is not the candor of Ted Olson about the Arkansas Project, but why the Post isn’t reporting that there’s nothing to this story in the first place. I reported it big time in my book, "Absolute Power." The government’s investigation of the Arkansas Project is another example of the Clinton administration, with the complicity of the abysmal Reno Justice Department, demonizing its accusers. Let me give you the highlights:
On August 9, 1998, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder suggested that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr initiate an investigation into allegations that conservative philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife indirectly paid David Hale to testify against Bill Clinton in the Whitewater investigation. Scaife allegedly channeled the money through the American Spectator magazine by helping to fund its Arkansas Project.
It gets crazier. The main source of the allegations was a lady fortuneteller, a dabbler in the occult, who claimed that her former boyfriend, Parker Dozhier -- a research assistant for the Arkansas project -- paid Hale $5,000 at the time he was cooperating with Starr in his Whitewater investigation. Both Hale and Dozhier denied that any payments were made and countered that the fortuneteller was an ardent Democrat given to wild fantasies and bent on ruining Dozhier.
Deputy Holder attempted to dissuade Starr from conducting the investigation himself, implying that he had a conflict of interest "because of the importance of Hale to your investigation and because the payments allegedly came from funds provided by Richard Scaife." Holder encouraged Starr to have the Justice Department investigate. Clinton’s attorney and snapping turtle David Kendall piled on and demanded that Starr refer the matter back to Justice.
Now, here’s the rest of the story -- something you won’t read in the mainstream Clinton press. Ultimately, neither Starr nor Reno investigated the matter. Reno appointed former Justice official Michael E. Shaheen Jr. to conduct an independent investigation. He did, and there was no "there" there. In a 168-page report released on July 28, 1999, Shaheen exonerated all of the accused.
It was wrong for Clinton and Reno to launch an investigation into this non-story in the first place. It was wrong for them not to apologize to the accused (and to the nation) once an investigation cleared them, including Ted Olson, Ken Starr and the American Spectator. It was wrong for Janet Reno to inform Ken Starr that she was going to investigate him just four days before his scheduled impeachment testimony before Congress. It was wrong for the Justice Department to deliberately leak to the media that this investigation was underway. It was wrong for the media to suppress the results of the special investigation vindicating the wrongly accused. And, it is particularly outrageous for Senator Leahy and other Democrats to attempt to resurrect this issue now.
Ted Olson committed the unforgivable sin of effectively criticizing Bill Clinton’s endless misconduct in office. He compounded that sin by thrashing David Boies and the rest of Gore’s legal army, thereby formally ending the Clinton-Gore-Reno reign of injustice.
The Democrats put their best legal minds up against Ted Olson, and he trounced them. One would think that even they should acknowledge his prowess and get behind his nomination. But to them, as usual, politics trumps the cause of justice.