Whitewater: The White House Playbook

an Editorial from the Wall Street Journal on 9/6/96

 After months of claiming executive privilege
 and on the brink of a contempt of Congress
 charge, the White House on Aug. 15 released
 2,000 pages of documents sought by Rep.
 William Clinger's Government Reform and
 Oversight Committee. Among the documents
 was a 12-page "task list" compiled by
 Associate White House Counsel Jane
 Sherburne in December 1994. The memo, a
 playbook for the complex political and
 criminal defense operation run out of the
 White House, offers an inside view of how the
 Clinton team approached the myriad scandals
 and issues known as "Whitewater." Personnel
 listed in parentheses are White House or other
 staffers assigned to clean up a problem.
 Double asterisks (**) indicate that somebody
 needs to be assigned to the task.
 Task List December 13, 1994
 1. Issues
 a. Foster Document handling (Nemetz)
 b. Travel Office (Cerf)
 c. White House/Treasury contacts (revisited;
 report) (JCS)
 d. Obstruction of justice (DOJ handling of
 criminal referrals; Jay Stephens; RTC
 whistleblower reprisals) (**)
 e. Use of White House resources for response
 efforts (Nolan)
 f. Foster suicide (Nemetz)
 g. Espy (ethics; expanded Smaltz inquiry re
 Tyson's, Hatch Act)
 (Mills/Nolan/ **)
 h. Cisneros (**)
 i. Brown (**)
 j. Hubbell (**)
 k. Ickes/union representation (**)
 l. Stephanopoulos/NationsBank (**)
 m. State Department--passport files (**)
 n. Archives--abuse of personnel system (**)
 o. Legal Defense Fund (Mills)
 p. Health Care Task Force (Neuwirth)
 q. White House operations (drugs, passes,
 r. Residence renovations (Neuwirth)
 s. Presidential immunity (Sloan)
 t. White House Arkansans (Thomasson, Nash,
 Rasco) (**)
 u. PIC surplus (Presidential Inaugural
 v. Improper electioneering (SBA) (**)
 w. GSA (Roger Johnson (**)
 x. Value partners (Neuwirth)
 y. Presidential campaign (FEC audit) (**)
 z. Commodities (Kendall/**)
 aa. Gubernatorial campaigns (Lindsey, Wright)
 -- record
 keeping (Kendall/**)
 ab. Gubernatorial campaigns--MGSL (Madison
 Guaranty S&L)
 ac. Whitewater/MGSL (Kendall/**)
 ad. other MGSL/McDougal (Kendall/**)
 ae. Rose Law Firm (HRC work for MGSL;
 Frost Case,
 FSLIC representation) (Kendall/**)
 af. David Hale/Susan McDougal/SBA
 ag. Tucker (**) n=g
 ah. Lasater (bond deals; cocaine; Roger
 Clinton) (**)
 ai. Use of loans to achieve legislative initiatives
 aj. ADFA (political favors; Larry Nichols) (**)
 ak. Mena Airport (**)
 al. Troopers (**)
 am. Women (Kendall/Bennett/**)
 A complete list of the Sherburne "task list" is
 Point 2 of the memo identifies "key Republican
 objectives," establishes basic research tasks,
 and an "offensive structure" that includes
 "W&C" (the Williams & Connolly law firm,
 the Clintons' personal lawyers) and
 "surrogates" to speak on behalf of the
 administration. Points 3-5 outline research
 and memos to be completed in matters related
 to Vincent Foster, the Madison Guaranty
 criminal referrals, and the Resolution Trust
 Corp. investigation of Madison.
 6. White House/Treasury Contacts. . . .
 c. Truthfulness of White House and other
 Adminstration witnesses
 (referral of testimony to Starr--Ickes,
 i. consult with lawyers
 ii. identify areas of vulnerability
 iii. research re perjury
 iv. press response. . . .
 7. Smaltz Investigation
 a. Espy--ethics (Mills)
 b. Beyond Espy ethics (Hatch Act, Tyson's)
 i. determine charter, scope of inquiry
 ii. determine press strategy
 iii. identify congressional interest
 iv. assemble public record
 v. fact gathering. . . .
 11. Hubbell
 a. monitor cooperation
 b. determine press strategy/develop talking
 points. . . .
 21. Other Pre-Inaugural. . . .
 b. Negative Associations
 i. Jim Guy Tucker
 ii. David Hale (SBA)
 iii. Jim McDougal
 iv. Dan Lasater (bond deals, cocaine, Roger
 Players, Institutions Mentioned in
 Sherburne Memo
 Bennett, Robert. Attorney in Paula Jones sexual
 harassment case.
 Brown, Ron. Former Commerce Secretary.
 Was under investigation by Independent
 Counsel Daniel Pearson. Killed in a plane crash
 in Croatia on April 3.
 Cerf, Christopher. Associate White House
 Cisnernos, Henry. Housing Secretary. Under
 investigation by Independent Counsel David
 Frost: auditing firm involved with Madison S&L
 and Rose Law Firm.
 FSLIC: Federal Savings and Loan Insurance
 Hale, David. former Arkansas insider and key
 Whitewater witness.
 Hatch Act: Bars solicitation of campaign
 contributions from government employees.
 Hubbell, Webster. Former Associate Attorney
 General; jailed in the Whitewater probe.
 Ickes, Harold. White House Deputy Chief of
 Johnson, Roger. Administrator of the General
 Kendall, David. Clintons' personal attorney.
 Lasater, Dan. Convicted cocaine distributor and
 longtime Clinton friend.
 Lindsey, Bruce and Wright, Betsey. Top
 Clinton aides from Arkansas.
 McDougal, Susan. Convicted on multiple fraud
 counts in White-water trial along with husband
 Jim McDougal and Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy
 MGSL: Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan.
 Mills, Cheryl. Associate W.H Counsel.
 Nash, Bob. Agriculture Department official.
 Nemetz, Miriam. Associate White House
 Neuwirth, Stephen. Associate White House
 Nolan, Beth. Associate White House Counsel.
 Rasco, Carol. Domestic policy advisor.
 Sherburne, Jane C. Associate White House
 Sloan, Clifford. Associate White House
 Smaltz, Donald. Appointed independent counsel
 to investigate then-Agriculture Secretary Mike
 Espy. Tyson's: Arkansas Poultry giant Tyson
 Stephanopoulos, George. Senior White House
 aide. NationsBank provided him with home
 loan.Neuwirth, Stephen. Associate White
 House Counsel.
 Stephens, Jay. Attorney hired by Resolution
 Trust Corp. to investigate civil claims against
 Madison Guaranty S&L.
 Thomasson, Patsy. Arkansas associate of
 cocaine distributor Dan Lasater and head of
 White House Office of Administration. Nash,
 Bob. Agriculture Department official. Rasco,
 Carol. Domestic policy adviser.
 Tucker, Jim Guy. Former Governor of
 Arkansas, convicted of multiple fraud counts in
 Whitewater prosecution.
 Tyson's: Arkansas Poultry giant Tyson Foods.
 Value Partners. Investment partnership of
 Hillary Clinton, Vincent Foster and Webster

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