Independent Counsels

February 21, 1997 • Volume 7, Issue 7
Should Congress make major changes in the law?
By Kenneth Jost


Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr  (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr  (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr may be at a critical stage in the Whitewater investigation. The special prosecutor reportedly is weighing evidence to decide whether to bring criminal charges against President Clinton or the first lady stemming from their involvement in the failed Arkansas development. Starr has been criticized for his outside legal work and political activities. In addition, the Whitewater investigation has provoked new criticism of the independent counsel law. Critics say the post-Watergate law costs too much, hurts innocent people and reduces public confidence in government. But supporters say the law is needed to ensure impartial investigations of misconduct by top officials. Congress is being urged to rewrite the law, and Clinton himself has said the act's costs outweigh its benefits.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Ethics in Government
Jan. 31, 2014  Whistleblowers
Feb. 18, 2011  Lies and Politics
Apr. 30, 2010  Gridlock in Washington
Jun. 22, 2007  Prosecutors and Politics
Jun. 16, 2006  Pork Barrel Politics
May 07, 1999  Independent Counsels Re-Examined
Feb. 21, 1997  Independent Counsels
May 27, 1994  Political Scandals
Apr. 06, 1979  Assassinations Investigation
Dec. 05, 1973  Presidential Impeachment
May 16, 1973  Ethics in Government
May 10, 1961  Secret Societies and Political Action
Jun. 29, 1960  Conflicts of Interest
Oct. 26, 1955  Businessmen in Government
Apr. 07, 1954  Fair Investigations
Apr. 25, 1952  Congressional Immunity
Dec. 05, 1951  Ethics in Government
Jan. 28, 1948  Individual Rights and Congressional Investigations
Jul. 02, 1934  Political Reform and Federal Patronage
Mar. 07, 1924  Congressional Extravagance and the Budget
Nov. 12, 1923  Issues Developed in the Teapot Dome Inquiry
Legal Professions and Resources