- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Accounts of the misadventures of the Clinton presidency are already thick on the ground, and promise to grow even more numerous as the Clintons and their accomplices survive the statutes of limitations that have so far enforced silence upon them. The only safe prediction one can make about any of the books of this genre is that none will be as good as David Limbaughs "Absolute Power: The Legacy of Corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department."
Mr. Limbaugh takes a unique, highly organized, lawyers-eye view of the Clinton scandals and misdeeds from the one venue that enabled the president, his wife and their cohorts to survive them all: Janet Renos Department of Justice. He assembles a damning Everest of evidence that demonstrates how Miss Reno and her cohorts were little more than legal barbarians at the Justice Department gates who thwarted every investigation into wrongdoings at the White House, in the Clinton-Gore campaigns and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The author effectively details every major episode of corruption by Miss Reno and her department, from the political and legal attacks on tobacco companies, the abuse of the presidential appointment process in the Bill Lann Lee nomination, the departments disgraceful conduct in the Elian Gonzalez case to its enthusiastic support for the numerous frivolous claims of privilege advanced by President Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
His treatment of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas, is one of the best on the issue and an excellent example of the substance and depth Mr. Limbaugh brings to his subject. He weaves a compelling and meticulously detailed narrative about how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) launched a Hollywood-style raid ("showtime" was the ATF agents actual code word for the operation) against the cult and its leader, David Koresh, principally to burnish the ATFs image.
The ATF with the approval of the top management at Justice unearthed a years-old, meritless drug charge against Koresh to justify staging the initial raid on the Davidian complex even after losing the element of surprise. When the public began to tire of the standoff and attention moved to the Justice Departments conduct of the affair, more baseless charges were raised to warrant an armed attack on the cult. It is clear from Mr. Limbaughs account that the deaths of four federal agents and 80-plus Davidians were at least indirectly caused by inept handling of the crisis by the Justice Department, the FBI and the ATF.
The heart of "Absolute Power," however, is Mr. Limbaughs unequalled account of the central roles played by Miss Reno and her departmental under-bosses in the efforts to impede every investigation into illegal campaign finance activities by the Clinton-Gore campaigns and the DNC. Juxtaposing the key players own statements with the public record of their actions, Mr. Limbaugh methodically strips away the excuses and lies the administration erected to protect itself and to assassinate the characters of everyone who challenged them.
Mr. Limbaugh shows how Miss Reno, in the face of the requirements of the Independent Counsel Act and overwhelming, impeccable evidence, repeatedly interfered with the efforts of career investigators, including FBI Director, Louis Freeh, and Charles LaBella, the head of Miss Renos own campaign-finance task force. The author also conclusively documents how Miss Reno repeatedly refused to name outside prosecutors to oversee investigations into Mr. Clinton, Vice President Gore, John Huang and the rest of the Gang That Couldnt Give Straight Answers, and the massive influx of illegal foreign contributions to their campaigns and the DNC.
David Limbaugh has done an invaluable service to the historical record of the Clinton administration. He has provided a comprehensive road map for future historians to follow to gain a true picture of the systemic improprieties of Miss Renos tenure as attorney general. The impression of ethical purity and the impartial administration of justice she tried to create for herself was an illusion. Mr. Limbaugh concludes that she and her underlings did serious harm to the department they ran and the rule of law they purported to serve. He also warns that vigilance by Congress and the public are the only weapons America has to prevent its recurrence in a future administration. "Absolute Power" is an open and shut indictment of an attorney general who will go down in history as one of the weakest and least ethical to occupy that office.

Eric Christensen is vice president for development and communications at the Landmark Legal Foundation.

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