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She Passes Up Chance To Say The Clintons Are Innocent

March 15, 1994

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ A former Whitewater partner of President and Mrs. Clinton passed up an opportunity Monday to say she thinks the Clintons have done nothing wrong in the Whitewater affair.

At a news conference, Susan McDougal read a brief statement which declared simply that she and her ex-husband - failed S&L owner James McDougal - are innocent of any wrongdoing.

Ms. McDougal said the investigation of Whitewater special counsel Robert Fiske is politically motivated, and then declined to answer questions.

In an appearance Sunday on ABC’s ″This Week with David Brinkley,″ James McDougal, who co-owned the Whitewater Development Corp. with the Clintons, said President Clinton is ″guilty of committing no crime.″

And he said Hillary Rodham Clinton is guilty of nothing, other than ″poor bookkeeping.″

But Susan McDougal’s lawyer, Bobby McDaniel, repeatedly refused to characterize the Clintons’ role in Whitewater. He noted that his client delivered all her Whitewater records to the Arkansas governor’s mansion in 1991 at Bill Clinton’s request, and hasn’t gotten them back.

Isn’t Susan McDougal letting the Clintons go ″twisting in the wind″ by not saying she thinks they’ve done nothing wrong? a reporter asked.

″Susan just does not want to address the Clinton″ question, McDaniel responded.

In her statement, Ms. McDougal noted that her ex-husband and her brothers were prosecuted for activities in connection with Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, and acquitted.

″Republicans ... who persecuted us were wrong and a jury told them so,″ Ms. McDougal said.

″It stayed over until Bill Clinton was elected president. Now, because of that, it has started again, and that is wrong,″ she concluded.

Ms. McDougal, 38, was the highly visible promoter for James McDougal’s land development ventures, appearing in local TV commercials wearing hot pants and riding a horse.

Now, says her lawyer, she’s unemployed because reporters kept contacting her about Whitewater.

″She wants to be left alone,″ McDaniel said of his client.

The McDougals and Clintons were 50-50 partners in Whitewater, the Ozarks real estate project that is part of Fiske’s criminal investigation. Fiske is investigating whether depositors’ money from McDougal-owned Madison Guaranty benefited the Clintons.

The federal government closed the S&L in 1989 at a cost to taxpayers of $47 million.

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