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FILEGATE, OR CHEESY SMALL-TOWN CRONYISM AT ITS WORST

When the Clintons first entered the White House in 1993, one of the very first things they did was to fire the longtime employees of the White House Travel Office, alleging all sorts of abuses and crimes against the people who had worked there during more than a few administrations (of both parties!).

It was bad enough that the nonpartisan people who had been employed in the White House Travel Office lost their jobs to make way for President Clinton's third cousin and for Hollywood producer Harry Thomason to make money there, and those people lost their jobs. But even worse was how the FBI and the IRS were sicced on these people, especially Billy Dale.

House Government Reform Committee Investigation of Travel Office Firings

Excerpts Relevent to Mrs. Clinton:

MRS. CLINTON, ACTING ON HARRY THOMASON'S BASELESS AALLEGATIONS OF WRONGDOING AGAINST THE TRAVEL OFFICE EMPLOYEES, ASSERTED PRESSURE ON SENIOR WHITE HOUSE STAFF TO FIRE THE TRAVEL OFFICE EMPLOYEES

o When Harry Thomason arrived at the White House during the week of May 10, 1993, he was anxious to learn what had transpired since he passed on rumors about the Travel Office to David Watkins. Watkins had not yet acted upon Thomason's allegations, so Thomason spoke with Mrs. Clinton about these matters. Mrs. Clinton in turn pressured Mack McLarty, Vince Foster and David Watkins to fire the employees. Thomason also met with Catherine Cornelius to exchange information. Thomason told Jennifer O'Connor about the kickback allegations and told her that the Travel Office employees had been ``ripping us off for years.''

o Harry Thomason had numerous contacts with President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton throughout the first half of May 1993, including: calls to the residence private line on May 5 and May 6; phone messages both to and from Mrs. Clinton throughout the week of May 10-14; meetings with President Clinton on the mornings of May 12 and May 13; and a lengthy dinner in the White House residence on the evening of May 13, 1993. Thomason provided incomplete testimony to the committee about the nature of these contacts and exhibited selective memory loss in recounting these meetings.

o Once Mrs. Clinton's wishes were relayed to Watkins on May 12,
Watkins turned to Foster to determine a course of action. Foster
tasked Associate Counsel Bill Kennedy to find a solution. Kennedy called the FBI and informed them that the ``highest levels'' of the White House were interested in this matter.

o On May 14, 1993, Mrs. Clinton, following a lengthy dinner with
Harry Thomason the evening before, relayed to David Watkins that ``Harry'' had a ``plan'' for the Travel Office and that ``we need to get those people out'' and ``our people in.'' Harry Thomason continued to press for the firings throughout the day.

o On May 16, 1993, in a previously undisclosed meeting between Mrs. Clinton and Mack McLarty, Mrs. Clinton pressured McLarty to fire the Travel Office employees.

o On May 17, 1993, McLarty met with Watkins and told him the Travel Office was on Mrs. Clinton's radar screen. Watkins, responding to pressure from McLarty, Foster and Mrs. Clinton, decided to fire the employees because he thought there ``would be hell to pay'' if he did not accede to the First Family's wishes. McLarty approved the decision and the May 17 memo on the firing was ``cc'd'' to ``Hillary Rodham Clinton'' and faxed to President Clinton in California.

o Even though it was cited as the basis for the firings, the Peat Marwick review was not completed until May 21, 1993, 2 days following the firings.

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WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS COVERED-UP THE REAL REASONS FOR THE FIRING OF THE WHITE HOUSE TRAVEL OFFICE EMPLOYEES. THE FIRINGS WERE NOT BASED ON THE PEAT MARWICK REVIEW, BUT RATHER WERE DECIDED BEFORE PEAT MARWICK EXAMINERS EVER SET
FOOT IN THE WHITE HOUSE

o At the very latest, the decision to fire the Travel Office employees was made by May 12, 1993, a full day before the FBI was called to the White House and 2 days before the Peat Marwick review team came to the White House. On May 12, Harry Thomason told David Watkins that he had talked with Mrs. Clinton and she was ``ready to fire them all that day.'' On May 10, Thomason had circulated the memo by Martens outlining allegations of wrongdoing in the Travel Office. The decision to fire was made first; the White House rationale was sought later.

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MRS. CLINTON INSTRUCTED WHITE HOUSE STAFF ON THE HANDLING OF FOSTER DOCUMENTS AND THE FOSTER NOTE FOUND ON JULY 26, 1993, AND SENIOR WHITE HOUSE STAFF COVERED UP THIS INFORMATION AND KEPT IT FROM INVESTIGATORS

o Mrs. Clinton personally was involved in the discussions regarding the White House's handling of documents in Vince Foster's office following his death. Mrs. Clinton made known her views that investigators should be denied ``unfettered access'' to Foster's office prior to the search of the office on July 22, 1993.

o The White House withheld evidence subsequently discovered among the 2,000 pages over which President Clinton invoked executive privilege, that senior White House aide Bill Burton spoke with Mrs. Clinton on the evening of Foster's death (July 20, 1993).

o Mrs. Clinton directed that Mack McLarty and others not inform the President about the discovery of the Foster ``suicide'' note on July 26, 1993. This note essentially defended Foster's and the White House's actions in the Travel Office firings and Mrs. Clinton suggested that executive privilege research be done regarding the note.

o The White House's delay in turning over the Foster note was due to senior staffers' deference to Mrs. Clinton's wishes. Statements by Mack McLarty and David Gergen that the note was not immediately turned over because of the need to notify Mrs. Foster and the President are not consistent with the evidence. No one called Mrs. Foster the evening the note was discovered and President Clinton was not told about the note's
existence until after Mrs. Clinton met with Bernard Nussbaum and
Steve Neuwirth. Mr. Nussbaum and Mr. Neuwirth had been tasked with studying the executive privilege issue at 2:30 p.m. Susan Thomases and Bob Barnett also were in the residence that afternoon at approximately 3 p.m.

o The Foster note most likely was not a ``suicide'' note but rather a note in preparation for resigning or in the event that Foster was asked to resign or take the fall for the problems generated by the firings and related matters.(43)
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DAVID WATKINS' ``SOUL CLEANSING'' MEMO ACCOUNT OF THE TRAVEL OFFICE IS SUBSTANTIALLY CORROBORATED BY NUMEROUS RECORDS AND WITNESS TESTIMONY

o Watkins' contemporaneous account of Travel Office events told by Watkins in his ``soul cleansing'' memo is corroborated by the records of meetings, phone calls, contacts and documents that demonstrate the involvement and pressures to act from Mrs. Clinton, Mack McLarty and Harry Thomason.

o The President's invocation of executive privilege over discussions about the Watkins memo held between and among White House Counsel, Maggie Williams, Ann Lewis, and Mrs. Clinton is an extraordinary misuse of the privilege in light of the ongoing criminal investigation of these matters.

o The Watkins memo and the documentary evidence contradict sworn testimony by Mrs. Clinton that the claims in her April 1994 GAO responses that she had ``no role'' in the firings of the Travel Office employees were accurate.
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Besides the official Congressional Report, another great source of information about this scandal is Ann Coulter's book:

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Despite the best intentions of the Clinton White House, they couldn't completely ruin the innocent men and women -- especially Billy Dale -- who were unjustly fired from the White House Travel Office. Although Mrs. Clinton wanted to say this: she was foiled once again.

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WHITE HOUSE TRAVEL OFFICE FBI RECORDS CHRONOLOGY

Prepared by House Government Reform and Oversight Majority Committee Staff

WHITE HOUSE REQUESTS FBI BACKGROUND FILES

AUGUST/ SEPTEMBER, 1993
Anthony Marceca, an Army detailee to the White House, begins to "update" the background file on current Bush administration holdovers. This information comes from Randy Turk, the attorney for Craig Livingstone, the Director of Personnel Security at the White House. According to Turk, the Personnel Security office was told to update all of the files for White House employees held over from prior administrations.

FALL 1993 - JANUARY 1994
Approximately 338 files on former White House employees, including Reagan and Bush political appointees are allegedly requested and received by the Clinton White House.

DECEMBER 16, 1993
The White House requests Barnaby Brasseux's FBl background file,

DECEMBER 20, 1993
The White House requests Billy Dale's FBI background file from the FBI. The request form has Bernard Nussbaum's name typed in the "From" section of the memorandum request.

DECEMBER 28, 1993
Billy Dale's FBI background files are processed by the FBI.

JANUARY 6, 1994
The White House has stated that this is the date which it received Billy Dale's background files. The White House claims to have put the file directly into a vault in the Office of Personnel Security headed by Craig Livingstone. Livingstone's superior at that time was White House Counsel and former Rose Law Firm partner Bill Kennedy.

According to the White House, all of the files which had been requested were placed in the vault in the Office of Personnel Security sometime during this period.

APRLL 4, 1994
White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum resigns.

NOVEMBER 21, 1994
Bill Kennedy resigns from the White House Counsel's Office.

DECEMBER 1, 1994
According to White House Special Counsel Jane Sherburne, Billy Dale's records were removed to the White House Archives.

The White House has told the press that all of the FBl background files were moved to the White House Archives on this date.

COMMITTEE REQUEST FOR BILLY DALE DOCUMENTS

JANUARY 11, 1996
House Government Reform and Oversight Committee issues subpoena to the White House requesting "all records relating to Billy Ray Dale."

.WHITE HOUSE WITHOLDING OF RECORDS

SPR1NG 1996
The White House withholds an unidentified "basket" of documents claiming they are privileged or privacy related. The Government Reform and Oversight Committee inquires as to who the privacy concerns involve. The White House states that the records were those of David Watkins, Bill Kennedy and some Billy Dale personnel records. No mention is made of the FBI background files.

MAY 9, 1996
White House Counsel Jack Quinn, in a letter to Chairman Clinger, states that the President instructed him to claim executive privilege as a protective matter over 3,000 pages of documents. Quinn then asks Attorney General Reno to review the documents.

Committee on Government Reform and Oversight votes to hold the White House Counsel Jack Quinn in contempt for failure to turn over subpoenaed documents

MAY 21,1996
According to Jane Sherburne, The White House retrieved the Billy Dale FBI background files from the White House Archives.

MAY 29, 1996
A White House Counsel employee calls the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee to say the White House will be turning over documents that evening. When they did not arrive, late that evening Committee staff contacted White House Special Counsel Jane Sherburne, who said documents were still being reviewed and would be delivered the next day.

MAY 30, 1996
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the contempt citation against Jack Quinn.

The White House delivers approximately 1,000 pages of previously withheld documents including the White House request from the FBI for 32 years of Billy Dale's Confidential FBI records which the White House identified as originating in the White House Counsel's office. (Billy Dale's personnel records were in an entirely separate file.)

The contempt vote is postponed to allow the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight an opportunity to examine the document production and executive privilege log.

WHITE HOUSE EXPLANATIONS RE:BILLY DALE FBI RECORDS

JUNE 4, 1996
The fact that Billy Dale's FBI records were retrieved from the FBI under the name of Bernard Nussbaum is reported in the press.

Bernard Nussaum denies knowing anything about the request and the White House has no response for close to 24 hours. The White House does not explain who requested this information or why.

JUNE 5, 1996
The White House claims this was a routine request for background files and Billy Dale's records were "mistakenly" sought due to a clerical error by an unnamed file clerk. Special Counsel Jane Sherburne issues a tentative statement describing this "routine"' "mistake"

The White House announces that it has been contacted by the Office of Independent Counsel.

Chairman Clinger requests a list from the White House and Attorney General of any other White House requests for confidential FBI background reports of private citizens and for any government employees who were not seeking employment or appointment in the Clinton Administration, or access to the White House.

JUNE 6, 1996
The White House claims that GAO requested Billy Dale's FBI background files. The GAO denied that it requested Mr. Dale's FBI background file.

JUNE 7, 1996
The White House acknowledged that it had obtained the FBI Files of approximately 338 former White House employees including many Reagan and Bush political appointees.

The White House alleges that the files were never read, however, Anthony Marceca tells Randy Turk that he read all the files and passed on any derogatory information to his supervisor, Craig Livingstone .