Independent Counsels Re-Examined

Should the law be scrapped or saved with changes?


The independent counsel law, first enacted after the Watergate scandals, is due to expire on June 30, and few members of Congress want to save it. Critics say the law gives independent counsels too much discretion, costs too much and lends itself to political misuse. Republicans have long complained about the law. Now, after Kenneth W.Starr's four-year investigation of President Clinton in the Whitewater and Lewinsky cases, many Democrats oppose it too. Supporters concede the law should be changed, but say it is still needed when the Justice Department would have conflicts in investigating the president or other top officials.

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr tells the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 19, 1998, that he will not bring impeachment charges against Clinton over Whitewater, the White ...

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