Progressive Review - During the 1992 campaign, Hillary Clinton defended her role in the Madison Guarantee S&L scandal by saying, "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas. But what I decided to do was pursue my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life."
Forgotten, however, is what inspired this homily: accusations that Ms. Clinton had represented Whitewater business partner Jim McDougal's S&L before her husband's government. Here's what the New York Times reported on March 17, 1992: "Hillary Clinton said today that she did not earn 'a penny' from state business conducted by her Little Rock law firm and that she never intervened with state regulators on behalf of a failed Arkansas savings and loan association. . . "
Records would show that she did, in fact, represent Madison before the state securities department. After the revelation, she says, "For goodness sakes, you can't be a lawyer if you don't represent banks."
Susan McDougal recalled Ms. Clinton coming in and drumming up the business. Ms. McDougal told the Washington Post: "The problem was finances, her finances." The Washington Times quoted an unnamed Clinton business associate who claimed the governor used to "jog over to McDougal's office about once a month to pick up the [retainer] check for his wife."
Jim McDougal's version of the story, according to the LA Times, was that Clinton asked him to throw some legal work his wife's way to help the Clintons out of a financial crunch: "I hired Hillary because Bill came in whimpering that they needed help."
Hillary Clinton wrote Jim McDougal enclosing a power of attorney for him to sign "authorizing me to act on your behalf with respect to matters concerning Whitewater Development Corporation." Another power of attorney was enclosed for Susan McDougal. The power of attorney included the right to endorse, sign and execute "checks, notes, deeds, agreements, certificates, receipts or any other instruments in writing of all matters related to Whitewater Development Corporation."
This letter, uncovered in 1993 by Jerry Seper of the Washington Times, directly contradicted the claim of the Clintons that they were "passive shareholders" in Whitewater.
From a 1996 Chicago Tribune editorial: "The legal issues will sort themselves out in time. But one thing has become all too clear. Bill and Hillary Clinton and their aides have made a concerted effort to deceive official investigators and the American public with half truths and outright lies . . . It's not clear what the Clintons want to conceal, but it's clear that they have made extraordinary efforts to do so."