Whitewater was a:
|“|| scandal stemming from allegations of impropriety surrounding a 1978 investment by Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, in the Whitewater Development Corp., an Arkansas real-estate company. Whitewater-related inquiries by Congress, legal authorities, and news organizations continued throughout the Clinton presidency.
The partnership between the Clintons and two of their associates in the venture, James McDougal and his then wife, Susan MacDougal, was formed in 1978 while Bill Clinton was Attorney General of Arkansas and continued after he became governor; Hillary Clinton and her law firm also handled some of McDougal's legal business. During the 1980s, when McDougal used his ownership of the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan for speculative real-estate ventures, insider loans, and other questionable practices, concern was raised that money may have been used improperly for the failing Whitewater Corp., and that Bill Clinton may have used his influence to help the savings and loan. In 1989 the insolvent institution closed, and the federal government had to finance a $60 million bailout.
When the Whitewater partnership was dissolved in 1992, the Clintons claimed a net loss of more than $40,000. Nevertheless, Whitewater-related inquiries followed them to the White House in 1993, in part because the new administration gave prominent positions to several of Hillary Clinton's former law partners, including Vincent Foster, who was named deputy White House counsel, and Webster L. Hubbell, who became associate attorney general. Foster, who was handling Whitewater-related matters and other politically sensitive issues, committed suicide in July 1993.
At the president's request, Attorney General Janet Reno named Robert B. Fiske, Jr. as special counsel in January 1994 to investigate Whitewater, including the circumstances surrounding Foster's death. After the Independent counsel statute was reauthorized in June, a three-judge panel appointed Kenneth Starr in August to continue the inquiry, which by 1996 had resulted in the convictions on fraud and other charges of Hubbell, the McDougals, and Jim Guy Tucker, who had succeeded Clinton as Arkansas governor.
The Independent counsel
|“|| declared in September 2000 that the office had closed its inquiry into the original Whitewater/Madison Guaranty allegations without finding evidence sufficient to justify a criminal indictment of either Bill or Hillary Clinton. On January 19, 2001, as part of an agreement with the independent counsel, Bill Clinton formally acknowledged that in early 1998 he had committed perjury; in exchange, the independent counsel agreed not to bring criminal charges against Clinton after he left office. In his final hours as president, Clinton pardoned Susan McDougal, who, in addition to her felony convictions, had gone to prison on contempt charges rather than testify against him.
Final reports by the independent counsel on the Whitewater and Lewinsky investigations were made public in March 2002. On the Whitewater matter, prosecutors concluded that although both Clintons had made "factually inaccurate" statements to federal investigators, the available evidence failed to prove that either of them had committed perjury or obstructed justice. Concerning the Lewinsky probe, the independent counsel believed he had enough evidence to indict and convict the former president, but had declined to prosecute because Clinton had "publicly admitted his wrongdoing" and been punished enough by his impeachment and other disgraces
- A Whitewater Chronology, What really happened during the Clinton years, OpinionJournal, May 28, 2003. Retrieved 15 June 2007.
- Aides Say Mrs. Clinton Erred In Claiming Press Got All Files, By Stephen Lanaton, The New York Times, January 20, 1996.