Putting the Lean on Reno

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WASHINGTON: The bullying of the attorney general continues. GOP hammer Dan Burton wants Janet Reno to appoint an independent counsel to tackle Clinton/Gore campaign finance allegations. Failing that, he's asked that the administration turn over two memos to Reno (one by FBI chief Louis Freeh and one by prosecutor Charles LaBella, both of whom agree with Burton). But Reno, says TIME Justice Department correspondent Elaine Shannon, isn't about to do either -- even if Burton's committee votes Thursday to hold her in contempt.

"Confidentiality is a religion to the Justice Department, and they'll go to the wall for it," she says. "Reno doesn't want a bunch of yahoos from Congress rifling through her files." Reno's reticence about appointing independent counsel has nothing to do with loyalty to Bill Clinton, as Burton alleges, but from the fiercest of antipathies for Ken Starr. "Justice is always biased against special prosecutors," says Shannon, "and Ken Starr is Exhibit A. To Reno, he's abused his power, and the last thing she wants to do is unleash another one of him."