Friday, April 22, 2005

Underhanded Dems, Kerry and Dorgan, try to kill Clinton probe


Senate Democrats are quietly trying to kill a 10-year legal probe that implicates several senior Clinton administration appointees for obstruction of justice, the Daily News has learned.

The Democrats, saying that the $21 million investigation by Independent Counsel David Barrett should have ended long ago, succeeded in attaching an amendment to a spending bill Tuesday to cut off his funding by June 1.

But two sources close to the investigation said that if the legislation becomes law, it will thwart Barrett from making public a final report that names senior officials in the Clinton Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service who allegedly buried a tax fraud case involving former cabinet member Henry Cisneros.

"It's about obstruction of justice," said one of the sources. "People are willing to take drastic actions to kill this report."

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who introduced the amendment with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), said last week that the disgraced HUD secretary paid a $10,000 fine in 1999 for lying to the FBI and that then-President Bill Clinton pardoned Cisneros, so the probe "should have ended years ago."

Barrett's probe began in 1995 by looking into allegations that Cisneros, who was Clinton's secretary of Housing and Urban Development, lied to the FBI about payments to his mistress. It expanded years ago into a broader obstruction case involving alleged tax fraud, according to the sources.

The report will allege that Justice Department officials snuffed out a tax case against Cisneros and that the IRS sometimes audited Clinton critics without good cause.

Barrett's investigation was wrapped up two years ago, and his 400-page final report was submitted to a three-judge panel last August, said two sources.

Because those named in the report have until the end of June to refute Barrett's findings, Kerry and Dorgan's amendment would prevent its release.

Originally published on April 21, 2005


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