Birth of the VRWC

Politico draws attention to the release yesterday in the latest tranche of papers from the Clinton library of what it refers to as the conspiracy commerce memo.”

The memo appears to be undated; Politico assigns it to 1995, contemporaneous with the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill Clinton but predating the Lewinsky affair. It was at the outset of the disclosure of the Lewinksy affair that Hillary attributed the story to “a vast right-wing conspiracy.” The memo had come into its own, proving the the uses of meticulous research.

Authorship of the memo is not apparent on its face. Who came up with this stuff on the White House payroll? The Politico article links to a 1997 Washington Post story by John Harris and Peter Baker that credits authorship to a “young White House aide toiling in an obscure corner of the Old Executive Office Building.” Toward the bottom of the story they identify the aide as Chris Lehane.

Chris Lehane: where is he now?

Clinton’s White House press flacks circulated Lehane’s 1995 memo to the administration’s friends in the mainstream media, who were to use it to expand their understanding of wild stories about “Whitewater, the suicide of White House aide Vincent Foster, and other matters that seemed to be spinning out of their control.”

Ah, the good old days.

Politico’s mention of Richard Mellon Scaife really brings back the feeling of a walk down memory lane: “A great deal of the memo is devoted to Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire newspaper publisher and heir to the Mellon fortune. The memo accuses Scaife of fueling speculation surrounding Foster’s death and funding Newt Gingrich, who would conveniently question the circumstances of Foster’s death.”

For those of us with short memories, Politico adds this helpful parenthetical: “Scaife would change his tune on the Clintons years later, supporting Hillary’s 2008 run for president and donating to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.”


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