As Attorney General, my duty is to examine the facts and to follow the law. In this case, given all of the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take.
Too bad he didn’t do his “duty” when as a U.S. Attorney in 1995 a federal judge referred a case to him for investigation that was far more clear-cut than anything concerning the CIA.
NLPC was a plaintiff in the successful lawsuit to open the meetings and records of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care task force. The task force was directed by Ira Magaziner, who now directs the international development initiatives of the William J. Clinton Foundation.
On December 21, 1994, federal Judge Royce Lamberth, who presided over the litigation, asked Holder, at the time U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, to investigate Magaziner for possible perjury and criminal contempt of court. He also suggested that Attorney General Janet Reno should appoint an independent counsel to investigate.
Reno announced on March 3, 1995 that she would not appoint an independent prosecutor. On August 3, 1995 Eric Holder announced that he, too, would not prosecute Magaziner.
Magaziner asserted to plaintiffs in a March 3, 1993 statement that no outsiders, or non-government employees, were taking part in the task force. When task force documents were later produced, it was obvious that dozens of outsiders had taken part. It was not a small point. The presence of outsiders would trigger the Federal Advisory Committee Act, requiring that task force meetings be opened to the public. Magaziner’s claim stood for several months. Magaziner and other participants in the task force took no action to expose it or to correct the record.
An example of an outsider was Lois Quam, a vice-president of United Health Care Corporation, a for-profit managed care provider. United Health Care stood to financially benefit from the decisions of the task force, not to mention the reams of inside information to which she would become privy. Quam’s participation also helped fuel a controversy directly involving Hillary. The Clintons were investors in a closely held limited partnership called ValuePartners 1, which held a block of United Health Care stock. The partnership shorted a number of health-related stocks including United Health Care. At the time of his death, deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster was in the process of putting the Clinton’s health care stocks into a blind trust, a task not completed until July 26, 1994.
When Reno said she would not appoint a special prosecutor, it was even more appropriate for the case to be handled by the U.S. Attorney with jurisdiction. That was Holder and he should have acted. Holder’s failure to pursue Magaziner made a mockery of the law.
At the time, NLPC accused the Clinton administration of a cover-up. Both Reno and Holder were appointed by Clinton, and Reno owed her job to Hillary. Additionally, the Washington Post reported in January of 1995 that Holder was under consideration by Clinton for appointment to a federal judgeship.
A more detailed account of these events can be found in my 1996 book titled, The First Lady: A Comprehensive View of Hillary Rodham Clinton, co-authored by Timothy Flaherty. Click here to download a pdf of the chapter titled “Health Care.“
On August 24, Holder claimed:
I share the President’s conviction that as a nation, we must, to the extent possible, look forward and not backward when it comes to issues such as these.
But he then launched a probe of events that took place years before he was Attorney General. While looking back, maybe we should all examine Holder’s actions in letting Magaziner get off scot-free.
photo: AP/Wide World