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, Helicopters) (Mills/Nolan) r. Residence renovations (Neuwirth) s. Presidential immunity (Sloan) t. White House Arkansans (Thomasson, Nash, Rasco) (**) u. PIC surplus (Presidential Inaugural Committee) 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) (Kendall/**) 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 (Kendall/**) 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 available in THE POLITICAL DIGEST PLUS. 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, Stephanopoulos) 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 Clinton) 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 Counsel. Cisnernos, Henry. Housing Secretary. Under investigation by Independent Counsel David Barrett. Frost: auditing firm involved with Madison S&L and Rose Law Firm. FSLIC: Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. 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 Staff. 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 Tucker. MGSL: Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan. Mills, Cheryl. Associate W.H Counsel. Nash, Bob. Agriculture Department official. Nemetz, Miriam. Associate White House Counsel. Neuwirth, Stephen. Associate White House Counsel. Nolan, Beth. Associate White House Counsel. Rasco, Carol. Domestic policy advisor. Sherburne, Jane C. Associate White House Counsel. Sloan, Clifford. Associate White House Counsel. Smaltz, Donald. Appointed independent counsel to investigate then-Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy. Tyson's: Arkansas Poultry giant Tyson Foods. 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 Hubbell.