Alexis Herman Under Investigation

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WASHINGTON: Poor Alexis Herman. Thanks to jittery attorneys in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity office, the labor secretary becomes the fifth Clinton cabinet member to go under an independent counsel’s microscope. The publicity-wary DOJ lawyers advised Janet Reno to appoint an investigator, and the attorney general agreed -- despite admitting there was “no evidence clearly demonstrating Secretary Herman’s involvement” in a cash-for-influence scam. Now it’s up to a three-judge court of appeals panel to name the lucky prosecutor.

The evidence may be lacking, but the allegations certainly aren’t. At issue: Whether Herman received an envelope stuffed with cash from African businessman Laurent Yene, plus a $250,000 illegal campaign contribution from Yene’s friend Vanessa Weaver, in return for Herman’s help in acquiring a federal license for a satellite phone system. Herman says Yene is simply out for revenge over a soured business deal. And she’s certainly got the support of her boss: The President, explained a wry Mike McCurry, “knows what it’s like to be nibbled by an independent counsel.”