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of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto
"FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES"
BACKGROUND ON AAPS V. HILLARY CLINTON
THE HEALTH CARE TASK FORCE LAWSUIT
Tom R. Spencer
Prompt Congressional action is required to insure that
criminal and ethical misdeeds associated with attempts to
covertly shape the National Health Care Policy do not become
whitewashed as a "confusion in lexicon" when in fact there is
ample evidence to suggest obstruction of justice by those with
friends in high places.
The facts are clear. Early in their administration, the
President and First Lady put forth a concept for a massive
reordering of our National Health Care System. The bureaucratic
details were to be crafted by a secret advisory task force, then
rammed through a Democratic controlled Congress in the
Administration's first 100 days. This blitz-krieg was to be
headed by the Clintons' friend of thirty years (and the
President's Oxford roommate) Ira Magaziner. To insure secrecy
and control over the process, Hillary Clinton was named
Chairperson and she in turn tasked her law partner (then White
House Counsel) Vince Foster to design the legal strategy with the
assistance of another law partner, Webster Hubbell (the Associate
Attorney General) and friend Beth Nolan, deputy White House
FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT
You will recall that due to abuse and conflicts of interest
at the White House during the Nixon Administration, Democrats
passed a strict law limiting secret Presidential Advisory
Committees so that only those Advisory Committees wholly composed
of federal employees were exempted from the requirements that the
proceedings and documents be opened to public inspection. During
the same era, Democrats proposed and passed the Independent
Counsel Law, to prevent Justice Department shenanigans.
HIDING THE WORKING GROUP MEMBERS
Contending that secrecy was required to prevent the plan
from being "lobbied" by "outsiders," Magaziner and Mrs. Clinton
invited to the Task Force hundreds of friends from the HMO
industry and others of like mind and appointed them as Special
Government Employees to attempt to "cover" them under the laws
To hide from Congress the massive expenditures that were
associated with the enormous group of private citizens working in
secret, the costs of the so-called Working Group Members were
spread out covertly among the various Departments of the
Government. And to more quietly provide travel for these people,
WorldWide Travel (friends of the Clintons, Harry and Linda
Thomason) were utilized instead of The White House Travel Office.
Indeed, evidence exists that Hillary Clinton sought the firing
and FBI investigation of the entire Travel Office staff shortly
after the Thomasons sought the Health Care Task Force travel
business, which was considerable. Also, travel vouchers cited by
the court as "germane to exposing this sham" have vanished.
Many of the secret Task Force members were unpaid, most had
not submitted to conflict of interest checks, or background
investigations and met none of the normal criteria demanded by
carefully drawn regulations for federal service. The Justice
Department had a special task force, assigned to each working
AAPS FILES LAWSUIT AND THE COVER UP BEGINS
When the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
(AAPS) became concerned and demanded to know what was being
planned and by whom, they were firmly rebuffed by the White House.
In February, 1993, they filed suit in federal court in
Washington, which infuriated Hillary Clinton. As Webster Hubbell
writes in his recent book. Vince Foster was instructed by Mrs.
Clinton in a loud voice to "fix it, Vince, handle it Vince!"
Magaziner, Foster, Hubbell, Nolan, Department of Justice,
and White House lawyers were sent scrambling, under intense
pressure to avoid the feared scrutiny which a full federal court
discovery process would bring. As soon as the lawsuit was
served, Magaziner presented to Federal Judge Royce Lamberth in
March, 1993 a sworn Declaration firmly representing that "only
Federal Government employees serve as members of the
interdepartmental working group." Based upon that
representation, the Judge denied the Doctors of AAPS any
discovery regarding the 600 plus members of the Working Groups
and declared that their identities, work, and documents were
exempt from the Sunshine law.
Later when it became apparent to the federal courts that the
makeup of the advisory groups (which had been meeting directly
with the President and First Lady), was far different from the
representation of the Administration, full discovery was
authorized. The Department of Justice, however, delayed and
stonewalled the Doctors to such an extent for a full year that
Judge Lamberth found sanctionable conduct in the midst of the
case and ordered the Department to forthwith comply with his
WHITE HOUSE OFFERS HUSH SETTLEMENT
Meanwhile, the Health Security Act was floundering under
Congressional and media inspection as the President continued his
ramming strategy. When the Republican leadership and the public
found out that what was planned was the federalization of over
14% of the entire economy, even Democratic Senators blinked and
headed for political cover. In the fall of 1994, the White House
declared the Bill dead and retreated.
By now, however, it was more than clear that the Magaziner
Declaration and other statements made to Judge Lamberth were
false. The Department of Justice tried to "moot the case" by
making Task Force documents public and quietly offering the
Doctors money from the Treasury. In return, DOJ wanted secrecy
and complete release from all sanctions for the First Lady,
Magaziner, and their lawyers. The Doctors turned the offer down
and pointed to the Court for sanctions against all defendants.
They demanded that, at the least, the First Lady, and the other
lawyers be sent to Ethics School and be made to pay their legal
When Republican Members of Congress learned of the
misrepresentation to the Court and that the expenditure for the
Task Force exceeded by at least Eleven Million Dollars the amount
testified to ($300,000) in appropriations testimony by the White
House, they demanded the appointment of an Independent Counsel.
Attorney General Janet Reno declined.
THE COURT ASKS U.S. ATTORNEY FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Judge Lamberth referred the matter to United states Attorney
Eric Holder for an investigation as to whether Magaziner had
committed perjury in the case. Not surprisingly, Magaziner and
the White House turned to an old friend, Charles Ruff, for
representation. Ruff was a friend of Holder, had been the
previous U.S. Attorney, and had been touted for the number two
position at DOJ.
Ruff lobbied Holder and convinced him that a perjury
prosecution would be unsuccessful. Holder declined to prosecute,
reporting to Judge Lamberth that while there had been sloppy and
overly aggressive lawyering at the White House, there was massive
confusion in the "fluid" lexicon of membership of the advisory
groups. Therefore, he could find no evidence that the Magaziner
Declaration was in fact false, due to this definitional
"confusion". Moreover, he determined that Magaziner did not
intend to obfuscate, but relied upon lawyers. Finally, while he
harshly criticized the tactics of Justice lawyers (which he later
attempted to water down in a letter to Lamberth), he determined
that the death of Vince Foster and the conviction on the other
charges of Webster Hubbell, would make a prosecution difficult.
AAPS DEMONSTRATES THE COVER UP TO THE COURT
The Doctors, however, were undeterred. They filed a massive
report to the Court on their findings of obfuscation, and pressed
the Court for Civil Sanctions. Judge Lamberth studied the
"sufficient" evidence to begin a serious investigation. What was
apparently disturbing to Judge Lamberth, hardly a partisan, and
to some members of Congress is the lengths to which high
government officials went to obstruct Justice. But just how high
did it go?
And what should be disturbing to Congress and the public at
this juncture is that the matter was investigated by a person
promoted to a very high office by this President after the
investigation, who was lobbied to terminate the case by a person
who is now White House Counsel and that the Attorney General
previously declined to appoint an Independent Counsel.
Based upon the recent revelations of Webster Hubbell, the
documentary evidence, and the conclusions of Judge Lamberth there
is more than enough basis for ordinary citizens to believe that a
major "cover-up" existed at the highest levels of our
Congress should now demand the appointment of a Special
Counsel to review the issues of obstruction of justice before the
Statute of Limitations, which would bar prosecution, expires.