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I Ben Sargent DATELINES The Prosecutor’s Double Standard BY RICHARD FRICKER e nneth e Starr Lg if nothing else resolute The Church of Christ preachers kid from San Antonio diligently slogs through the streets of the nations capital turning over rocks and igging through trash while listening to and enlisting anyone willing to say “Clinton did it” But it’s worth recalling that the Special Prosecutor wasn’t so doggedly committed to truth, justice, or his responsibility as the government’s lawyer five years ago, when he was hired by the Senate to review Bob Packwood’s diaries. Senator Packwood, a Republican from Oregon, resigned from office after it became apparent that during his term of office he had regularly groped, pinched, or fondled almost any woman who ever came within arm’s reach. The evidence was so clear and convincing that Packwood had to admit his sins and apologize to his Senate colleagues. So there he was, indicted and convicted by his’ own words, while Senate Republicans grew more and more nervous at his refusal to resign. After all, how would it look to the Christian Coalition if the Republican Senate turned a blind eye to sexual groping outside the bonds of matrimony? Pragmatic Republicans were worried, too. In his diaries, Packwood had recorded everything: every contribution, every back-alley deal, every conversation with lobbyists, every meeting with his colleagues, and what he knew of their dealings with lobbyists and GOP money men. Who were the Republicans going to call? Ken Starr had been chief counsel to Ronald Reagan’s first Attorney General, William French-Smith \(who had signed the agreement, with Reagan campaign manager and then-C.I.A. Director William Casey, that the C.I.A. would not report what it knew about drug-trafficking, particularly as it inheld a seat on the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals, resigned to become solicitor general \(to help George Bush clean up the Iran-Contra mess and to argue abortion the Supreme Court. Starr was also a major player in the Federalist Society clearly the place to be by the end of the Bush administration, when the Federalists openly bragged that their approval was required for every appointment to the federal judiciary. The young ideologues who founded the Federalists in 1988 had received much of their start-up funding from the Mellon-Scaife Foundation, run by Richard Mellon-Scaife, the right-wing multi-millionaire. Mellon-Scaife later tried to fund a position for Starr as dean of the Pepperdine Law School, sank millions into the liberal-bashing American Spectator, and put $1.5 million into his so-called “Arkansas Project”: the freewheeling, freelance investigation that provided Starr with Clinton-hater David Hale, thus far his prime witness against the President. Starr was eventually dropped from the Supreme Court short list, because as solicitor general he had been a bit too vigorous in his opposition to abortion \(at one point Starr even refused to answer the questions of Justices who did not appear to support Starr on the Court, he didn’t need Senate confirmation hearings focused on abortion which, before an election, might split the social and economic conservatives who make up the Republican party. So Starr’s judicial future was put on hold, and when Bush lost in 1992, the former Supreme Court clerk ex-chief counsel to the attorney general, one of the youngest federal judges in the history of the republic, and solicitor general of the United States was out of work. But the partners at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis read that rsum and offered Starr $1-million-plus a year, anticipating the $390 an hour he now commands from the firm’s corporate clients. But when Bob Packwood unraveled, Starr was called back into public service. His charge was to review the Senator’s diary to consider evidence of further wrongdoing, to determine if anything had been altered, and to vet any AUGUST 14, 1998 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5