The $80,000 Presidential Hit

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Eighty thousand dollars. Not much to send a presidency into crisis. But that's all Chicago investment banker Peter Smith paid two Arkansas state troopers and American Spectator scribe David Brock to break the story of "a woman known only as Paula" that brought us Ms. Jones, Ms. Lewinsky and the resulting grand jury and bimbo parade that have become the porn version of Watergate.

Special Report Brock has since apologized to Clinton, saying he should have seen through the troopers' rather flimsy stories but didn't know they had been paid off by Smith. For his part, Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times he wasn't part of any right-wing conspiracy -- he just wanted to get George Bush re-elected. A conservative fund-raiser and heavy contributor to Newt Gingrich's think tank, GOPAC, Smith maintains the 1992 payouts were "an independent effort to have the untold story told by the mainstream press." He certainly got his money's worth.