Did Starr Get What We Paid For?

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WASHINGTON: House Democrats are sure they've got Ken Starr now: They've got his expense reports. The numbers, as reported in Thursday's Los Angeles Times, show a pattern of questionable spending --not surprising given the $40 million total cost of the investigation. Among other expenses: $400 for an "ethics consultant," $370 a month for Starr's personal parking space, $30,517 for a "psychological analysis" of the evidence in the Vince Foster case and $19,000 for luxury apartments for eight staff members.

Special Report Of course all those zeroes, in the hands of gleeful Democrats, are sure to horrify Mr. and Mrs. Middle America. But TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson -- who's seen more than a little government bloat in his time -- says that's the price of doing business inside the Beltway. "Once you've made the decision to hire an independent counsel, you've got to let him do the job." At $400 an hour, Sam Dash's imprimatur as an ethical consultant is a bargain in terms of Washington lawyers. And Starr's parking space? Not much for D.C. either. "Remember, it's rarefied air in Washington," points out Thompson. "Forty million dollars is floor mats for the B-2 bomber."