Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005
 
The Pink Panther Elephant

The Guardian points out that Democrats recently failed to cut off funds for the continuing investigation of Henry Cisneros. Although Cisneros copped a plea in 1999, more time (and money) have been spent on the investigation since then than before. The rough timeline of this story is as follows:

  • 1987: Cisneros, then Mayor of San Antonio, begins an extramarital affair with Linda Jones, then Linda Medlar. He gives her money for living costs and her daughter's college expenses.
  • 1988: Cisneros admits affair and doesn't seek re-election.
  • 1990: Jones begins to record conversations with Cisneros without his knowledge.
  • 1991: Cisneros reconciles with his wife and ends relationship with Jones. He continues to send her money.
  • 1992: Cisneros is under consideration for a cabinet position in the incoming Clinton administration.
  • 1993: Cisneros lies about payments to Jones during his FBI background check. He is approved by Senate as Secretary of HUD.
  • 1994: Cisneros cuts off payments to Jones. Jones hires attorneys. By her own admission, she subsequently edited the tapes to remove her own demands for money and threats to expose Cisneros.
  • 1995: Cisneros settles a suit from Jones charging that he reneged on agreements to provide financial support. Special Counsel begins investigating Cisneros's statements to FBI. David Barrett is appointed as Independent Counsel. Jones, who also lied to FBI, is given immunity and cooperates with prosecutor.
  • 1996: Cisneros leaves HUD. Barrett discovers that the tapes, which Jones has represented as original, are doctored and obtains warrant to search Jones's home.
  • 1997: Jones is indicted for conspiracy, false statements to the Cisneros prosecution, and bank fraud. Cisneros is indicted for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to FBI.
  • 1998: Jones pleads guilty to 28 felonies, is sentenced to 3 1/2 years.
  • 1999: Jones is again working with Barrett in hopes of winning early release from prison. Cisneros pleads guilty to 1 misdemeanor count, agreeing to pay a fine but serve no jail time or probation. Cisneros becomes the first and only Clinton administration official convicted of criminal charges for acts related to their federal service. The Wash Post story on the plea bargain states it, "end[s] a wide-ranging independent counsel investigation that lasted more than four years and cost more than $9 million."
  • 2001: Cisneros is pardoned by Bill Clinton.
  • 2005: Investigation continues. Cost is now up to $21 million. Barrett states that, "the probe would continue another 10 months but [he] could not guarantee it would end then." There have been no indictments since 1999, and no clear statement of what Barrett has been investigating for the past 6 years.

Finder's credit for this story goes to skippy.



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