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Investigators Say Hubbell Got $700,000 for Little or No Work

By Susan Schmidt
The washington Post

Webster L. Hubbell received more than $700,000, most of it from friends of President Clinton and Democratic Party supporters, at a time when he was under pressure from independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr to provide information about Clinton in the Whitewater investigation, congressional investigators have determined.

That amount is at least $200,000 greater than what has previously been known about Hubbell's income after leaving his post as associate attorney general amid accusations that he had defrauded his former clients and partners at the Little Rock, Ark., law firm where he worked with Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hubbell served an 18-month federal sentence after pleading guilty in late 1994 to tax evasion and mail fraud.

In addition to turning up more payments to Hubbell, the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee found new details about them, including evidence that Hubbell received money for his daughter's college tuition from the head of the Indonesian conglomerate the Lippo Group and offered to secure a government appointment for another client even after his conviction.

Even as the House panel has investigated him, Hubbell faces the possibility that Starr will bring new tax and fraud charges against him relating to the funds. Grand juries in Little Rock and Washington have for months heard testimony from a steady parade of witnesses about his consulting fees, including the question of whether the funds were intended to buy Hubbell's silence with prosecutors investigating the Clintons.

Hubbell, a former law partner of Hillary Clinton and the late Vincent W. Foster at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, might have information relevant to several areas of Starr's wide-ranging Whitewater inquiry. For example, Hubbell and Hillary Clinton were both involved in legal work connected to the Castle Grande project, a large-scale land fraud scheme put together in the 1980s by the late James B. McDougal, the Clintons' former Whitewater business partner.

The new information about Hubbell's consulting payments was subpoenaed from his clients by investigators for the House committee. The records show he did little or no work for most of the $593,442 he received from 18 companies and individuals, including $61,667 from HarperCollins for a book that was never completed.

Hubbell's lawyer, John Nields, declined to comment Thursday on Hubbell's income or the prospect of new charges being brought against his client. In a memoir published last year, "Friends in High Places," Hubbell discussed his consulting income and said "it wasn't hush money."