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September 05, 1996 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

.McDougal refuses to testify,
held in contempt of court

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 5,.1996-- 9A

Taking dead aim at President Clinton,
Whitewater prosecutors had Susan
McDougal held in contempt yesterday
for refusing to say in front of a grand
jury whether the president lied at her
If Mrs. McDougal, the president's
former Whitewater partner, does not
answer questions by Monday, she
could be sent to jail for up to 18
U.S. District Judge Susan Webber
Wright held Mrs. McDougal in con-
tempt after prosecutor W. Ray Jahn
called her a "recalcitrant witness" and
said that she had violated the judge's
order to testify.
Mrs. McDougal said a Whitewater
prosecutor had asked her whether
Clinton knew anything about a fraud-
ulent $300,000 loan, some of which
went toward the purchase of land for
the Whitewater venture.
A prosecutor also asked, she said,
"To your knowledge, did William
Jefferson Clinton testify truthfully
before your trial?"
In a statement Mrs. McDougal read

to the court, she said she didn't want to
testify because she could be charged
with perjury if her truthful testimony
was inconsistent with that of other wit-
nesses or conflicted with prosecutors'
perception of the truth.
Also, she argued, she should not be
compelled to answer the questions of
Whitewater prosecutors in a proceed-
ing closed even to her lawyers. Grand
jury proceedings are routinely closed
to defense attorneys.
"Some of her arguments are inter-
esting but they're not the law," the
judge said.
The White House would have no
comment, said Mark Fabiani, a special
associate counsel to the president.
Mrs. McDougal and her former
husband, Jim, were partners with
Clinton and his wife in the
Whitewater development project from
1978 until shortly before Clinton was
elected president in 1992.
The McDougals, along with former
Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, were convicted
May 28 on bank fraud and related
Mrs. McDougal was sentenced to

two years in prison in connection with
a $300,000 loan she received from
David Hale, who once accused
Clinton of pressuring him to make the
loan. The McDougals used $25,000
of the loan as a down payment on land
bought for the Whitewater project.
In videotaped testimony played to
jurors May 9, Clinton said he knew
nothing about the loan or the land
Yesterday, Mrs. McDougal and her
lawyer, Bobby McDaniel, renewed
charges that Whitewater independent
counsel Kenneth Starr had targeted her
as a means of bringing Clinton down.
"Susan has stood up to them and she
will continue to stand up to them,"
McDaniel said. "The independent
counsel has an agenda. They don't care
about Susan McDougal being in jail.
They want Bill and Hillary Clinton."
Mrs. McDougal must report on
Sept. 30 to begin serving her
Whitewater prison sentence. The judge
will decide whether any jail time
imposed for contempt will be added to
her prison term or served at the same

Susan McDougal, middle, walks with her attorney, Bobby McDaniel and Jennifer Horan into the federal courthouse yesterday.
McDougal was found in contempt of court after refusing to testify to a special federal grand Jury investigating Whitewater.

California wrestles with affirmative action

Los Angeles Tunes
The strength of democracy is also its
.veakness. Yes, Americans get to vote
on important matters, or at least some
of the important matters and for that
they stand ready to fight. But also,
they find themselves obliged to vote
on questions that make them uncom-
fortable, where they must take sides
against their own mixed feelings,
knowing their votes will impose a con-
sensus when none, in fact, exists. And
against that, there is no way or will to
*ght at all.
As Oscar Wilde, ever the cynic,
once put it: "Democracy means simply
the bludgeoning of the people by the
people for the people."
In November, Californians will
choose, as it were, between fairness of
opportunity and equality of opportuni-
ty in the workings of state and local
government. Or is it the other way
around, equality vs. fairness?
This is not idle word play with the
" itizen ballot initiative Proposition
209, the latest hot spillover from the

caldron of race and gender politics in
On Nov. 5, Proposition 209 will
demand a decision on a subject where
basic laws of the land are contradicto-
ry and their history veiled, where judi-
cial direction is indecisive and policy
implementation is uneven, where an
entire generation has lived with some-
thing and still cannot agree what it is.
Proposition 209 is about affirmative
action. It's about affirmative action
preferences for blacks and Latinos,
American Indians and women, but
only those working for the government
- or seeking government contracts or
competing for admission to college.
Affirmative action for that slice of the
population would be outlawed by
amendment to the state constitution
with passage of the initiative.
But Proposition 209 also is about
the nature of a fair society, America's
grand stereotype of itself and a 35-year
quest to right hundreds of years of
social wrongs. It's about getting a
break in a society where demand

exceeds supply when it comes to
So in nine weeks, Californians will
have to choose their ground. Yes or no.
Both sides in this campaign official-
ly claim allegiance to the founding
belief that equality is an essential aim
of society.
Per the Civil Rights Act, portions of
government contracts were set aside
for disadvantaged groups. Colleges
and universities began to award extra
points toward admission based on race.
Government agencies that failed to
diversify their work forces were
ordered by courts to do so.
All the while, of course, everyone
denied that any of this was a "quota,"
that overloaded buzz word.
The extra consideration had undeni-
able logic. But the new rules, by avoid-
ing quotas, created a vagueness that
could be aggravating. Some old timers
at the table felt they were losing too
much, while some newcomers
believed they were gaining their share
too slowly.

Through the years, those who felt
aggrieved by affirmative action fought
back on grounds of "reverse discrimi-
nation" and were successful in limit-
ing, but surely not eliminating, race
and gender as deciding factors in gov-
ernment hiring, contracts and educa-
tional admissions.
In 1972 and again in 1973, a white
man named Allan Bakke was denied
admission to the University of
California medical school at Davis. He
sued, complaining that 16 of 100 open-
ings in each class were unfairly set
aside for ethnic minorities.
The U.S. Supreme Court split 5-4 in
ordering Bakke admitted. But at the
same time the court held that race could
be taken into account for admissions.
In the 1990s, the challenges to affir-
mative action gained strength from the
confluence of two powerful social cur-
rents - the new economic anxiety that
is now short-handed to the term
"downsizing," and the growing influ-
ence of conservatives and their ideolo-
gy of individualism.

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