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Whitewater,popular name for a failed 1970s Arkansas real estate venture by the Whitewater Development Corp., in which Gov. (later President) Bill ClintonClinton, Bill
(William Jefferson Clinton), 1946–, 42d President of the United States (1993–2001), b. Hope, Ark. His father died before he was born, and he was originally named William Jefferson Blythe 4th, but after his mother remarried, he assumed the surname of his
..... Click the link for more information. and his wife, Hillary Rodham ClintonClinton, Hillary Rodham
, 1947–, U.S. senator and secretary of state, wife of President Bill Clinton, b. Chicago, grad. Wellesley College (B.A. 1969), Yale Law School (LL.B., 1973). After law school she served on the House panel that investigated the Watergate affair.
..... Click the link for more information. , were partners; the name is also used for the political ramifications of this scheme.
Whitewater was backed by the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, which went bankrupt in 1989. The controlling partners in both the land deal and the bank were friends of the Clintons, James and Susan McDougal. Vincent Foster, a Little Rock law partner of Mrs. Clinton, represented the Clintons in the buyout of their Whitewater shares. Accusations of impropriety against the Clintons and others soon surfaced, regarding improper campaign contributions, political and financial favors, and tax benefits. Claiming that relevant files had disappeared (they were found at the White House in 1996) and that they had in any case lost money on the Whitewater venture, the Clintons denied any wrongdoing.
When Foster, now White House counsel, committed suicide (1993), however, more questions arose. Strongly pursued in Washington, mainly by Republicans, but largely ignored by the general public, Whitewater was investigated by a special prosecutor beginning in 1994 and by congressional committees in 1995–96. Special 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 's investigation included testimony from Mrs. Clinton (which was the first time a first lady was subpoenaed by a grand jury) and videotaped testimony from the president.
In a 1996 trial, the McDougals and Jim Guy Tucker, Clinton's successor as governor of Arkansas, were found guilty of fraud in the case, and in another decision the former municipal judge David Hale, who had pled guilty to fraud and had been a witness in the McDougal trial, received a jail sentence. In yet another trial the same year two Arkansas bankers were acquitted of some charges, and the jury deadlocked on others. Although nothing conclusive concerning the Clintons' involvement in the Whitewater deal was proved in the congressional or special prosecutor's inquiries, Republicans charged Hillary Clinton with having sought to suppress politically damaging information and accused Clinton administration officials of lying under oath.
In early 1998, Starr won authorization to expand his investigation to include 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , and questions about Monica Lewinsky's relationship with Clinton quickly overshadowed Whitewater matters. However, in late 1998, when Starr presented his case for impeachmentimpeachment,
in Great Britain and United States, formal accusation issued by a legislature against a public official charged with crime or other serious misconduct. In a looser sense the term is sometimes applied also to the trial by the legislature that may follow.
..... Click the link for more information. of the president for his attempts to conceal the Lewinsky affair, he indicated that his office had no impeachable evidence in the Whitewater matters. Starr resigned in Oct., 1999, and was succeeded by Robert W. Ray, the senior litigation counsel in Starr's office. In Sept., 2000, Ray ended the Whitewater inquiry, stating there was insufficient evidence to prove that President Clinton or his wife had committed any crime in connection with the failed real estate venture or the independent counsel's investigation into it; the final report was issued 18 months later. Susan McDougal was pardoned by President Clinton in Jan., 2001, shortly before he left office.
See J. B. Stewart, Blood Sport: The President and His Adversaries (1996); M. Isikoff, Uncovering Clinton (1999).