Judiciary Committee Hopes Money Talks

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If cherchez la femme hasn't worked, maybe following the money trail will. Maybe. The House Judiciary Committee decision to look into alleged fundraising irregularities in President Clinton's 1996 campaign is beginning to look like an impeachment inquiry in search of a crime."It appears there's no strategy or plan," says TIME Washington Correspondent Viveca Novak. "Everyone is looking for leadership from either incoming Speaker Bob Livingston or retiring Speaker Newt Gingrich, but so far they haven't stepped up to the plate."

Special Report For the moment, it is U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson who has stepped up, sort of. The judge agreed to give two House investigators limited permission to read secret Justice Department memos drafted by FBI Director Louis Freeh and prosecutor Charles LaBella. Though the memos are filled with grand jury evidence about Clinton campaign finances, Attorney General Janet Reno has previously concluded the information does not add up to criminal wrongdoing. "Based on what we know," says Novak, "there doesn't seem to be anything there. Two other committees have already investigated the subject and come up with very little." Some House Judiciary committee members obviously feel it is their duty -- either constitutionally or politically -- to leave no stone unturned. But, says Novak, "Many Republicans not on the Judiciary Committee are probably rolling their eyes and trying to figure out why the committee is going down this road."