Reno again Urged to Investigate Gore Fund-Raising
(CNSNews.com) - Attorney General Janet Reno Friday said she just wants to make sure that justice is done in the case of Al Gore's questionable fund-raising activities during the 1996 re-election campaign.
Reno said she wants to "do this the right way" - fairly - "so it does not interfere with the democratic process."
"The worst thing you can do with an investigation is dribble it out piece by piece, without presenting the whole and without completing the whole," she said. "I don't want to present half-facts... I want to do it the right way."
She used the phrase "the right way" and "quickly as possible" several times.
Reno refused to say whether she will go along with the recommendation of a Justice Department official to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Al Gore. "I can't comment on the pending issue," she said.
Twice before, Reno has refused recommendations to appoint an outside investigator to probe Al Gore's fundraising activities. Those recommendations were made by Charles LaBella, the former head of the Justice Department's Campaign Financing Task Force, and by FBI Director Louis Freeh.
On Friday, Reno defended her decision not to go along with the LaBella and Freeh recommendations. "Based on the information we had at the time, the judgments were correct."
In other developments, House Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton (R-IN) Friday applauded news that the head of the Justice Department's Campaign Financing Task Force, Robert Conrad, has recommended the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Al Gore's political fundraising activities in 1996.
"If the news reports are true, this is a positive development," Burton said. "We're glad that Mr. Conrad had the intestinal fortitude to make this recommendation, particularly in light of the Attorney General's treatment of those who disagreed with her on this matter in the past."
"First Louis Freeh [FBI director], then Chuck La Bella [former head of campaign finance task force] and now Robert Conrad [current head of campaign finance task force] have made it clear that Janet Reno's Justice Department is incapable of conducting a thorough and unbiased investigation of the President and Vice President," said Burton.
He urged Reno to follow the recommendation this time around.
Reno, asked about the timing of a possible investigation into Gore's activities, said, "I think that anytime you look at something like this...that you want to conclude it as quickly as possible consistent with achieving justice."
Conrad reportedly told Reno last week that new evidence had raised more questions about whether Gore has been truthful with investigators. Gore has been questioned five times under oath, most recently in April - an encounter that reportedly was more confrontational than previous ones.
A White House spokesman said Gore has "cooperated fully with the investigation every step of the way."