Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Barrett Report: What is Hillary Hiding?

The New Media Journal is featuring a seven part series entitled "The Fraudulent Senator." In it, journalists Joan Swirsky, Justin Darr, A.J. DiCintio, Noel Sheppard, and Frank Salvato painstakingly dissect "the single biggest incident of campaign finance fraud in US history and a coordinated cover-up that stretched from the halls of justice to Capitol Hill to the mainstream media."

Haven't heard about it? Put simply, the subject of their investigation is Hillary Clinton, which explains the coverage vacuum. The series scrutinizes Clinton's gala fundraising concert arranged by businessman Peter Paul, an event that the Federal Election Commission calls "Event 39" in its investigatory documents.

I'll cover the entire series in a later post. There's a bit of detail that I'd like to expand upon first. In Part I of the series, we read:

[Hillary] has acknowledged accepting contributions from the influence peddling, recently indicted, uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff... There is also... the Clinton campaign-finance scandal of the late 1990s, where millions of dollars of illegal Chinese campaign cash found its way into Democratic Party and Clinton legal defense fund coffers. Worse, American missile-guidance technology was given to Beijing...

Clinton and fundraisers linked to the Chinese
That is not to omit the recently released 400-page Barrett Report. In 1995, while Independent Counsel David Barrett was investigating the president’s Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros for various crimes, he discovered that the president had used the Internal Revenue Service (headed by Hillary’s college friend, Margaret Milner Richardson), the Justice Department (headed by... Janet Reno), and the White House... to audit political enemies, particularly the women who had accused the president of sexual harassment and even rape.

Henry Cisneros
...Democrats have tried for 10 years to have the parts of the Barrett Report that dealt with these matters redacted, and they succeeded. But Republican Senators Charles Grassley, Chairman of the House Finance Committee, and James Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have both stated publicly that they are determined to get the entire report released.

The redacted portions must be pretty explosive because as columnist Tony Snow has noted, the “report is a bombshell, capable possibly of wiping out Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential prospects.”

Even now, the Barrett Report remains redacted; in effect, significant portions have been removed. You and I -- the American taxpayers -- spent over $20 million on this investigation and are unable to see the complete results.

With Hillary Clinton positioned for the presidency, isn't it time we demanded the release of the full report?


The press release announcing the report read (PDF):

Today the United States Court of Appeals for the District for Columbia Circuit, Division for the Purpose of Appointing Independent Counsels, approved the release of the Final Report of the Independent Counsel in re: Henry G. Cisneros. The Report can be found on the Office’s website at

This has been a long and difficult investigation. It is my hope that people will read the entire Report and draw their own conclusions. An accurate title for the Report could be, “WHAT WE WERE PREVENTED FROM INVESTIGATING.”

After a thorough reading of the Report it would not be unreasonable to conclude as I have that there was a coverup at high levels of our government and, it appears to have been substantial and coordinated. The question is why? And that question regrettably will go unanswered. Unlike some other coverups, this one succeeded.

I recommend that people begin by reading the memorandum of Mr. John Filan, Chief of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division in the South Texas District (Appendix no. 16).

Has any Independent Counsel, ever, expressed such bitterness? The particulars of the investigation only make you shake your head.


Appendix 16 of the report is titled Possible Improprieties by Assistant Chief Counsel (Criminal Tax):

After the prosecution case had been forwarded to District Counsel, several incidents occurred which have caused [investigators] to be highly concerned about possible improprieties... the case was pulled from the field with the apparent intent to "kill" it... and... improper disclosures have possibly taken place with... the Department of Justice in a further attempt to stop the case from being prosecuted... Our observations... are presented below:

1. Unprecedented Deviation from the Normal Review Process

...Sometime on or before January 15, 1997, District Counsel was informed by Chief Counsel's Office that the case was to be transferred to the National Office. District Counsel was told this was necessary due to the sensitive nature of the case, which required a "centralized review." District Counsel was directed to cease their review, box up the exhibits and mail it to Chief Counsel.

I am not aware of any other criminal tax cases that have been pulled from experienced District Counsel attorneys to be reviewed in Washington...

2. Apparent Failure to Consider Facts and Evidence

The decision to decline this case seems to have been made regardless of the evidence and facts... It is highly questionable and baffling as to why Chief Counsel's Office decided to extract a "sensitive" case from an experience District Counsel... and assign the... review to two attorneys... who do not review criminal tax cases on a regular basis...

...It was... apparent that they had received their direction to kill this case from... the outset.

Editor's note: '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... "In my 20-year experience I am unfamiliar with any similar behavior... The reason for field offices is to work the cases, not have Washington work the cases."'

...In summary, Chief Counsel's Office has consistently failed to rely upon the evidence showing Cisneros' guilt...

3. Chief Counsel's Relationship with Defense Counsel

...Throughout [the] process, Chief Counsel has wholeheartedly accepted and endorsed the defense version of events... the "story" which has been created, quickly fall apart when compared to the facts, testimony and evidence gathered during the investigation... Chief Counsel exaggerates and mistates events to bolster the position they have taken. Their discussion mirrors the position put forth by Cisneros' Defense attorneys... Examples of this conduct abound and include the complete discounting of the evidentiary value of the recorded conversations...

4. Chief Counsel's Disclosures to DOJ, Tax Division

...[There was a] meeting... to discuss the Office of Independent Counsel's request to Attorney General Janet Reno for expanded authority in its investigation of Henry Cisneros... OIC informed Special Agent Lange of Attorney General Reno's initial written response to OIC's expansion request. The language used in Reno's response mirrors the language [Chief Counsel] Finkelstein has given to CID for declining the case... it... appears that the possible disclosure by Chief Counsel, of their intentions to decline the case, has potentially influenced Reno's decision. [Reno's] decision should have been made independently and without knowledge of any tax investigation.

Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and Janet Reno

In conclusion, we raise these issues for your consideration because we have serious concerns about the propriety of the actions that have taken place in the review of this case. We are not privy to nor do we wish to speculate about personal or political motivations for the conduct we have witnessed... we strongly feel that the conduct of Assistant Chief Counsel (Criminal Tax) which preceded this declination needs to be examined.

In effect, the Attorney General at the time -- Janet Reno -- "limited investigators to one year of Cisneros's returns, and Justice Department officials failed to cooperate with [the] probe."


The conclusion of the protest from the Criminal Investigation Division (PDF) states:

This is a simple case that the defense counsel and Assistant Chief Counsel (Criminal Tax) has convoluted and tried to make complex. All CISNEROS had to do was deposit all his income... Instead, CISNEROS lied to Hernandez, lied to Gonzalez, lied to the IRS, lied to the FBI, and lied to the Presidential transition team... the analysis of this case and the conclusions drawn by Assistant Chief Counsel (Criminal Tax) are just plain wrong.

The New York Daily News places the fix in the lap of the Clintons.

Then-IRS Commissioner Peggy Richardson, a close friend of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., was involved in efforts to quash the probe, a source close to the case alleged.

But Richardson's role was cut from Barrett's report, which went through 26 drafts, because Democratic law firm Williams & Connolly successfully pressured Barrett to remove a section of the report naming her, a source said... [the] firm represents Cisneros, former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.

The New York Sun also succinctly places blame for the coverup with the Clintons:

...[The Barrett Report] outlines a coordinated effort by Clinton administration officials to first block and then limit the probe as a way of taking pressure off an administration that was already beset by scandals...

Why were so many pages redacted? What was the cover-up to which Barrett alluded? What are they hiding?


Robert Novak says that any member of Congress can read -- and publish -- the entire Barrett Report.

...the question remains what three judges -- David Sentelle (D.C.), Thomas Reavley (Texas) and Peter Fay (Florida) -- blacked out in 120 pages worth of redactions. Even after the report is released, Barrett and his lawyers would face judicial sanctions if they disclosed anything that was redacted.

However, the judges have established an exception, or rather 535 exceptions, to the rule that nobody can see what has been redacted. Any member of Congress can read it merely by asking. Any such lawmaker, who believes American taxpayers should see the product of $23 million in expenditures, presumably could then publish the material without fear of legal sanction.

But will any senator or House member do it? Nobody is interested in further prosecution of Henry Cisneros, an exceptional public figure who might well have become the first Hispanic-American governor of Texas and perhaps even president of the United States. Rather, an unredacted Barrett report is an opportunity to observe how the Internal Revenue Service decides when to prosecute, a place where Congress until now has feared to venture.

Is it time to ask our Congressional Representatives for the entire Barrett Report?

With Hillary Clinton poised to take the Democratic nomination for President, Americans must be privy to the full report for which they paid in full. We demand the full disclosure of the Barrett Report.

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