independent counsel


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independent counsel,

in U.S. law, a judicially appointed investigator of charges of misdeeds by high government officials. Originally termed "special prosecutor," the position was first created by the 1978 Ethics in Government Act. Prompted by the Watergate affairWatergate affair,
in U.S. history, series of scandals involving the administration of President Richard M. Nixon; more specifically, the burglarizing of the Democratic party national headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C.
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, the purpose of the law was to avoid the conflict of interest that might develop if the executive branch (i.e., the Justice Dept.) investigated its own officials. The act expired in 1992, but a new independent counsel law was passed in 1994. The new law also permitted the investigation of members of Congress. The request for an appointment of an independent counsel was made by the attorney general; the counsel was appointed by an independent judicial board. An independent counsel was used to investigate the Iran-contra affairIran-contra affair,
in U.S. history, secret arrangement in the 1980s to provide funds to the Nicaraguan contra rebels from profits gained by selling arms to Iran. The Iran-contra affair was the product of two separate initiatives during the administration of President Ronald
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, WhitewaterWhitewater,
popular name for a failed 1970s Arkansas real estate venture by the Whitewater Development Corp., in which Gov. (later President) Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, were partners; the name is also used for the political ramifications of this scheme.
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, and the Lewinsky scandalLewinsky scandal
, sensation that enveloped the presidency of Bill Clinton in 1998–99, leading to his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives and acquittal by the Senate.
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. In 1999, following prosecutor Kenneth StarrStarr, Kenneth Winston,
1946–, American public official, b. Vernon, Tex., grad. George Washington Univ. (B.A., 1968), Brown (M.A., 1969), Duke (J.D., 1973). After clerking for Chief Justice Warren Burger and working in the Justice Dept.
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's confrontations with President Bill Clinton and the impeachment of the president, the law again expired and was not renewed. The attorney general now has sole responsibility for appointing outside prosecutors.
References in periodicals archive ?
Analysts noted that lawmakers, in effect, gave Barr authority over Mueller when they let the independent counsel law expire in 1999.
And this is not an independent counsel case, which means it is the attorney general," said Jacob Frenkel, a white-collar defence attorney who used to work in the independent counsel's office.
Olson, arguing against the constitutionality of the 1978 Independent Counsel statute, which had been enacted in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal.
An independent counsel started an investigation into an online opinion rigging scandal involving a power blogger nicknamed "Druking," Wednesday, after 20 days of preparation.
The Audit Committee has retained independent counsel and other advisors to assist it in its investigation.
The board of WPP said independent counsel will carry out the probe into the claim.
Consider these six "practice tips" for managing independent counsel.
But when is an independent counsel a "must have" versus a "nice to have"?
Originally a measure of the 1978 Ethics in Government Act, a reform law meant to target the sort of behavior at the heart of the Watergate scandal, the (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/counsel/office/primer.html) Independent Counsel Act , passed a decade later, established the process by which the Justice Department can hand off investigations to a special prosecutor to avoid conflicts of interest.
There is some difference of opinion as to whether the audit committee of the board of directors of an organization (whether public, private, or nonprofit) needs independent counsel for the purpose of advising the audit committee and for the purpose of conducting internal investigations.
California policyholders that have been sued often may have a right to hire "independent counsel" paid for by their insurer.
"Independent Counsel" or "Special Prosecutor" Legislation

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