Independent Counsel Donald C. Smaltz responded today to a June 16,
1997 Time Magazine opinion piece that he described as containing "a slurry of
misleading observations" and "inaccurate." In his Letter to the Editor, Mr.
Smaltz criticized Time's reporter for adopting her own set of erroneous facts to
fit a pre-determined slant to her story. Mr. Smaltz wrote that "Time's reporter is
entitled to her opinions, but not to her own set of facts."
Mr. Smaltz's letter details and corrects the false and misleading
statements in the article, including:
Starr has had to tell Smaltz to back off from delving into issues
involving Clinton. This never happened -- in any form, at any time, at any place.
So far, he's turned up little in his costly probe. The article
completely ignored and did not mention:
(1) the imposition of more than $3.5 million in criminal fines, including a $2 million
fine from Crop Growers Corporation, the largest fine secured by any Independent Counsel to
(2) convictions of three corporations and five individuals for 44 offenses involving
gifts and gratuities to former Secretary of Agriculture Michael Espy and contributions to
his brother Henry's failed Congressional campaign in an effort to influence decisions by
and obtain access to Secretary Espy;
(3) the first conviction in approximately 100 years for giving a gratuity to a sitting
cabinet member (Sun-Diamond);
(4) the first indictment and conviction by an Independent Counsel of a publicly-held
company (Crop Growers); and
(5) the first prosecution to charge and convict individuals for money laundering in
connection with illegal campaign contributions (Ferrouillet and Hemmingson).
In his letter, Mr. Smaltz reminded Time that the Special
Division of the United States Court of Appeals defined his investigative mandate as
whether Secretary of Agriculture Espy violated any federal criminal law
"relating in any way to the acceptance of gifts by him from organizations or
individuals with business pending before the Department of Agriculture." Describing
the giving of illegal gratuities and gifts to Cabinet Secretaries as a "pernicious
act that pervades not only the official, but also the agency and the public trust,"
Mr. Smaltz reasserted his commitment to completing the investigation "fairly,
vigorously and expeditiously."
The Letter to the Editor accompanies this press release. # # #