White House Denies Jones
The Washington Post
Was Targeted for Audit
Tuesday, September 16, 1997; Page A04
(AP) The White House denied yesterday that it had Paula Corbin Jones singled out for an IRS audit, calling the idea "certifiably crazy."
"It's inconceivable to me," White House press secretary Michael McCurry said in response to a question on whether the White House pushed for the IRS investigation after Jones rejected a settlement of her sexual harassment suit against President Clinton.
"We do dumb things from time to time, but we are not certifiably crazy," McCurry said. "So don't imagine for a minute we did. We don't even call the IRS to find out how they do those sorts of things, literally."
Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, filed a lawsuit claiming that Clinton, then governor, asked her for sex in a Little Rock hotel room in May 1991. Clinton has denied the accusation.
Jones and her husband, Stephen, received notice last week that they would be audited for their 1995 tax return, according to Susan Carpenter-McMillan, Paula Jones's adviser. Carpenter-McMillan called the audit "very peculiar" because it came days after Jones a housewife with virtually no income rejected a settlement plan and parted with her lawyers.
Carpenter-McMillan said yesterday that while she does not believe "Bill Clinton personally picked up the Oval Office phone and directed the IRS" to conduct an audit, she does not underestimate the White House's potential for officially harassing the president's critics.
She cited the case of Billy R. Dale, who was acquitted on charges that he stole $68,000 from the White House travel office while serving as its director. The charges against Dale came after the Clinton White House asked the FBI to launch a criminal probe.
"If they would do that with a simple thing like the travel office, what would they do with a major player like Paula Jones, who is suing the president?" Carpenter-McMillan said. "The impression the American public has is that the Clinton administration can be very Nixonite toward their detractors."
She was referring to Watergate, the political scandal that led to President Richard M. Nixon's 1974 resignation. One aspect of Watergate involved the attempted use of government agencies to harm Nixon's political opponents.
McCurry said the precedence of Watergate is precisely why "no one in any position of authority" in the White House would have had a hand in getting Jones audited. "If they did, they would be looking for work pretty quickly," he said.
© Copyright 1997 The Associated Press
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