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Burton Aide Who Quit Has Not Left Yet

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_ Burton Apologizes to GOP; Fires Bossie (Washington Post, April )

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By George Lardner Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 24, 1998; Page A22

David Bossie may be going, but he is going slowly.

The outspoken chief investigator for the House examination of Clinton-Gore campaign financing practices, Bossie submitted his resignation May 6 amid an uproar over the selective editing of transcripts of former associate attorney general Webster L. Hubbell's prison telephone conversations.

But Bossie was still at the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee's offices Friday, and he told a reporter he probably will be back there this week as well.

Asked when he was going off the payroll, he said, "soon enough." He declined to give a date, saying he did not want to give his detractors the satisfaction.

"This is a big, broad, very complicated investigation," Bossie said. "I need some time to wrap things up, and that's what I'm doing."

In his May 6 resignation letter, Bossie said that "no one on the staff ever intentionally left anything out" of the excerpted transcripts made public by the committee, but he said he was leaving because the White House and House Democrats were using the issue to attack his boss, committee Chairman Dan Burton (R-Ind.).

Burton, long Bossie's chief defender, accepted the resignation reluctantly, under pressure from House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and other Republicans embarrassed by the episode.

"If a miscalculation occurred that allowed our opponents to seize upon it, hoping to discredit me and the work of the Committee, your decision to deny them a target by stepping aside, I consider a mark of your high personal character and your deep commitment to the cause," Burton wrote back May 6, adding in a postscript: "I'll miss you Dave -- you're a true friend!!"

Since then Bossie has been popping up regularly at the committee's offices, defending the panel's work on television and urging sharper scrutiny of questionable transactions that might be tied to the Clinton White House.

"For all intents and purposes, he has left," the committee's chief of staff, Kevin Binger, said Friday. "He's got to get together stuff about ongoing projects and turn it over to others. I suspect he will have his last couple of boxes moved out over the weekend. He has not been involved in any of the committee's business."

But others say they see Bossie huddling with Burton, with Binger and with chief investigative counsel Barbara Comstock.

"I'm pretty much done," said Bossie, a volunteer firefighter who lives at Firehouse 15 in Burtonsville, Md.

His next project, he said, will probably be a book, picking up on Howard Kurtz's "Spin Cycle," about how the White House, Congress and the media operate. But for the moment, he said, "I've got a few more things to wrap up."

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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