Will the Barrett Report be spiked?

Will the Barrett Report be spiked? January 17, 2006

While some conservative news outlets – most notably talk radio and Fox news have discussed The Barrett Report (the ten year, 23 million-dollar investigation into the Clinton-era HUD-nominee, Henry Cisneros and the goings on surrounding his nomination) the major news outlets have written nary a word. The heavily-redacted (25%) paper will likely go under-reported, just like stories of voter fraud in Wisconsin and arrests of real terrorists, planning real terror made thanks to the NSA wiretaps.

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr and Brian McGuire of the NY Sun got some advance information about the report, and it’s pretty interesting, starting with the Pardon President Clinton issued to him, as he was exiting the White House:

Mr. Cisneros, a former San Antonio mayor, eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of lying to the FBI. He paid a $10,000 fine and was pardoned by President Clinton on Mr. Clinton’s final day in office.

Lest anyone believe that David Barrett is a “partisan hack,” it should be noted that Robert Bennett, President Clinton’s own counsel, vouches for his integrity in this article.

The report, excluding appendixes, runs to 428 pages. In it, Mr. Barrett is said to argue that Mr. Cisneros’s mistress delayed the first half of the investigation by lying to a grand jury that was reviewing evidence in the case and that the second half was impeded by top Clinton administration officials.

When the office of the independent counsel decided…to look into possible tax violations, it asked the attorney general at the time, Janet Reno, for expanded jurisdiction and access to the findings of the ongoing IRS investigation.

According to people familiar with the report, an alleged effort that followed aimed at shutting down the regional IRS investigation and at blocking the independent counsel from accessing its findings constitutes the bulk of Mr. Barrett’s report. They say it details an effort by (Clinton Administration official – admin) Mr. Finkelstein to have the regional IRS investigation relocated to Washington, D.C., where it was eventually closed, and a simultaneous effort by Mr. Radek to ensure that the attorney general did not approve an expansion of the independent counsel’s investigation.

A key element of the independent counsel’s case, persons familiar with the report say, is a memorandum written in 1997 by a former chief of the criminal investigation division for the IRS’s South Texas District, John Filan, to the chief inspector of the IRS in Washington. In the memo, Mr. Filan accuses Mr. Finkelstein of ordering the unprecedented removal of a regional investigation to Washington. The memo also claims that Finkelstein directed his subordinates to kill the case and that he worked in tandem with senior officials at the Department of Justice to make sure the case was not referred to Mr. Barrett for potential prosecution.

The removal of a regional IRS investigation to Washington is “extremely unusual,” according to a former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Andrew McCarthy. Mr. McCarthy worked briefly for the independent counsel.

“In my 20-year experience I am unfamiliar with any similar behavior,” Mr. McCarthy said. “The reason for field offices is to work the cases, not have Washington work the cases.”

The Barrett report is said to show that Ms. Reno hampered Mr. Barrett’s efforts at demonstrating tax violations on the part of Mr. Cisneros by limiting his investigation to one year of tax records. Successful tax evasion prosecution typically requires establishing a pattern of behavior over several years.

…Allegations of a coordinated effort during the Clinton administration to block the appointment of an independent counsel and then limit his scope could raise questions about the Clinton years at a time when many Democrats are pressing the former first lady, Senator Clinton, to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Among the most explosive allegations in the report, persons familiar with its contents say, are claims that the White House was aware of Mr. Cisneros’s possible tax violations and his misstatements to FBI investigators vetting him about payments to Ms. Medlar before the appointment of an independent counsel. The report says Mr. Clinton ignored the concerns of his transition team about Mr. Cisneros’s relationship with Ms. Medlar because he regarded them as minor and was determined to have him in his Cabinet because he is Latino.

The report also claims that Mr. Cisneros offered to resign when questions about his false statements surfaced in the middle of Mr. Clinton’s first term. The report suggests that Mr. Clinton’s counsel, Lloyd Cutler, advised against resignation, saying that the presumption of innocence was on his side.

The report also will show, sources said, that the Clinton transition team did not release the full FBI report on Mr. Cisneros to members of the Senate Banking Committee who reviewed Mr. Cisneros’s nomination.

No, it’s nothing earthshaking. No, nothing indicts Bill or Hillary Clinton. But the Democrats worked hard to suppress the release of the report, and that alone makes it worth looking at. And for my money, when the Democrats are trying to run as the “ethical” party (only half as many Democrats on Abramoff’s list as Republicans, after all!) and trying to pin the “corruption” label on the GOP, it’s something that should be heeded.

What was the phrase Hillary (“I have no idea how I made $100,000 on cattle futures”) Clinton used yesterday in Harlem? “Culture of corruption…” and “cronyism…”?

Snort. Giggle.

I told you she was projecting.

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