Thompson Reacts to Attorney General’s Decision on Independent Counsel

Washington, DC — Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) today issued the following statement on Attorney General Janet Reno’s decision not to appoint an independent counsel to investigate 1996 campaign finance abuses.

“Everyone knew this was coming, and it’s another banner day for the lawyers. Lawyers advised the President that what he was doing was okay. Lawyers at the Justice Department advised Reno that the independent counsel law didn’t apply. She apparently relied upon every lawyer around except the ones with the responsibility for the investigation — FBI Director Louis Freeh and the head of the Justice Department’s Campaign Finance Task Force, Charles La Bella.

“The Attorney General has a conflict of interest, obvious to everyone but herself and her small, anonymous cadre of Justice Department advisors. And she has proven once again that under her administration, the independent counsel law is designed only for the little guys.

“By refusing to apply the independent counsel law in a classic case for which the law was designed, she has demonstrated that an attorney general can effectively render the law a nullity. Therefore, this is probably the final nail in the coffin of the independent counsel law.”