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“They just appeared there,” Mrs. Huber said, noting that she visited the room regularly in the course of her White House duties every two or three days. “I thought they had been left there for me to take down to put in the file.”

She said she left them where she found them until their rediscovery five months later.

The committee had sought the records after hearing testimony in December 1995 from Clinton confidante Susan Thomases, a New York lawyer, who said Mrs. Clinton — contrary to her public statements of “little or no” involvement in the Madison case — had numerous conferences with Madison officials, reviewed documents, made calls to discuss a preferred stock plan aimed at keeping the failing thrift afloat, and “did all the billing.”

Mrs. Huber said she did not realize until she looked at the records again on Jan. 4, 1996, that they were the same documents that had originally been sought by the RTC in February 1994 and by the Whitewater committee under subpoena since October 1995. She said she was sure the records were not in the room “two or three days” earlier.

“I don’t think I could have missed them,” she said, adding that she had “no idea” who might have left them sitting on books on the corner of a table in the center of the room.

The Rose firm’s original billings for Madison have never been found, but the new documents show the Whitewater investigators thought that White House Deputy Counsel Vincent W. Foster Jr. had collected copies of them during the 1992 presidential campaign. Notes in red ink and in Mr. Foster’s handwriting are on the copies and appeared to be addressed to Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Foster, whose July 1993 death at Fort Marcy Park in Virginia has been ruled a suicide, also served at the time as the Clintons’ personal attorney. He had expressed concern over the Clintons’ involvement in Whitewater Development Corp., an Arkansas real estate venture that also involved Madison’s owners, James and Susan McDougal, and he is thought to have been involved in removing records from the Rose firm in 1992 that later turned up at the Clinton campaign headquarters.

The Clinton administration never explained how Rose billing records got to the White House nor why they were not produced in response to separate subpoenas by the RTC, Mr. Starr’s office and the Whitewater committee.

Ronald M. Clark, managing partner at the Rose firm, told the Select Senate Whitewater Committee that the billing records showed Mrs. Clinton was involved with Madison and a project known as Castle Grande that federal regulators later described as a “sham.” He said the records showed that she charged more than her usual $125-an-hour rate for the work.

Mr. Clark also said he had not found the original billing records despite an extensive search, that he did not know how they got to the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign, and that Mrs. Clinton never told her law partners about her business dealings with Mr. McDougal or the Whitewater venture.

Mr. Hubbell pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 1994, to defrauding his Rose firm partners and clients of $482,410 in overbillings and of failing to pay $143,747 in federal income taxes. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison under a plea bargain and released after serving 16 months. In the agreement, he promised to cooperate in the Whitewater investigation, although federal authorities have described that cooperation as less than expected.

Court records said some of the overbilled funds were used by Mr. Hubbell for questionable personal expenses, including purchases at a lingerie shop.