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Foster Considered Resigning, Investigation Report Says

October 14, 1995|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Shortly before his suicide, White House lawyer Vincent Foster told acquaintances that he believed he should have been reprimanded for the White House travel office fiasco and was considering resigning, according to a confidential Justice Department report.

The report was written by the Justice Department's Office for Professional Responsibility, which in 1993 investigated an allegation contained in a torn note found in Foster's briefcase after his July 20 suicide.

In the note, Foster wrote that the "FBI lied" about its role in the travel office matter.

The OPR report has never been released publicly, although it recently was turned over to a House committee investigating the travel office affair. That committee plans to hold its first hearing this month.

The Associated Press was read excerpts from the report by individuals familiar with it.

The affair began when the Clinton Administration removed seven longtime employees of the White House travel office, alleging there was financial impropriety.

The office was then put under the supervision of Catherine Cornelius, a 25-year-old distant cousin of the President.

The FBI was called in to investigate the alleged financial impropriety, and questions were raised as to whether the White House pressured FBI agents into doing an investigation to justify the firings.

When criticism mounted, the White House said it should not have fired five of the seven employees. It reinstated the five in different jobs. A sixth was allowed to retire.

The office's longtime director, Billy Dale, has been charged with stealing office funds and awaits trial in federal court.

A subsequent White House investigation criticized several aides for their conduct in the matter, and they were reprimanded.

The White House report specifically criticizes Foster's colleague, William Kennedy, for actions that created an appearance that the FBI was pressured into a probe.

The report also details a conversation Foster had with Kennedy shortly afterward.

"Foster was very upset and told Kennedy that he should have been reprimanded if there was any justification for reprimanding Kennedy," the report states.

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