In Congress, The Other Spin War

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Special Report The White House vs. Ken Starr is no longer the only spin war in town. Congressional Democrats were gleefully kicking up a fuss on the Hill Thursday after Republicans admitted that the new head of a $1.3 million Judiciary Committee probe into Janet Reno's campaign-finance investigation would switch his focus to impeachment preparations if necessary. "It simply is inappropriate for them to be playing with this money," Rep. Barney Frank blasted, just before Republicans forced approval of the dual-purpose funds in a party-line vote that drew loud protests.

But concerns about a GOP witchhunt are unwarranted, since new probe boss Charles Schippers is, in fact, a Democrat. "The reason they're making so much noise is to poison the well against any future impeachment effort," says TIME Congressional correspondent John Dickerson. "It's an election year, and the two most unpopular things in America right now are Ken Starr and the media. Democrats would love to make Republicans the third."