On Thursday the House Government Reform Committee released a 470-page report entitled “Justice Undone: Clemency Decisions in the Clinton White House,” and, surprise of surprises, the ex-president doesn’t come off well. But then neither does half-brother Roger Clinton. In fact, the report says, Big Brother Bill encouraged little brother to “capitalize on their relationship” and use his “connections to the administration to gain financial advantage.”
As a result, the report says, Roger Clinton took on as many as 15 clients hoping to win clemency from the Clinton administration. What’s surprising isn’t that Roger sought to take advantage of the situation. But that Bill actually bothered to speak to Roger about it. “They aren’t that close, or as close as perhaps they once were,” says a former Clinton aide who stays in touch him and claims the brothers never spoke much to begin with. “I don’t believe that President Clinton said anything of the sort to his brother.”
In any event, that’s all water under the bridge. But what about now? Do the brothers ever talk? Does President Clinton, say, when he’s hanging with his chums at The Ivy restaurant in Santa Monica, ring up Roger — who lives off and on in the L.A. area — to ask him over for a bite? “No, they travel in very different social circles,” says a current Clinton assistant.
White House Budget Director Mitch Daniels took the brunt of the steam coming out of congressional ears over the White House’s increasingly rancorous relationship with members of the House and Senate. Sitting before the House Appropriations Committee yesterday, Daniels took fire from Wisconsin Democratic Rep. David Obey. “You and several others in the administration, in my view, have a severe attitude problem. I sense you and other Cabinet members feel you could get about the people’s business better if it wasn’t for the small-minded and inconsequential rabble on Capitol Hill that you have to deal with,” Obey said.
Obey, one of the most liberal and pork-friendly members of the House, was particularly angry because Daniels and others in the administration ridiculed his recent appropriations request for an $80,000 rescue sled for use on frozen lakes.
Daniels also took heat from Oklahoma Republican Rep. Ernest Istook for Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge‘s refusal to appear before congressional committees.
Afterward, according to several congressional and White House staffers, Daniels hit the roof. “He thought we’d sandbagged him,” says one Republican Appropriations staffer. “And I guess we did, in that we didn’t tell him that so many of our members were lined up to attack him. We knew it was going to go down this way.”
Daniels also was angry at the White House’s Congressional Liaison office, which has done little to salve hurt feelings on the Hill over the White House’s perceived failure to fully brief Congress on the war on terror and budget issues related to the war. “Daniels was rightfully mad, but he should be angry at his Republican friends on the Appropriations Committee who took a chunk out of his hide today,” says a White House staffer. “We warned him this could happen. But he didn’t seem to believe us.”
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