N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716-3450
Phone: (800) 635-1196
Hotline: (800) 419-4777
of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto
Contact: Kathryn Serkes (202)333-3855 or
Jane M. Orient, M.D. (800)635-1196
WHITE HOUSE AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE GUILTY OF MISCONDUCT
AND COVER-UP, SAYS JUDGE
Sanctions Imposed in AAPS v. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Taxpayers to Foot the Bill for Administration's Dishonesty
Pointing a legal finger directly at the White House, the Department of Justice, and the ``highest levels of government,'' a federal judge imposed sanctions for misconduct on December 18, ordering the government to pay more than $285,000 to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).
``We're elated that justice has finally been reached, but distressed that this shows a continuing course of misconduct by this Administration and the Department of Justice,'' said AAPS attorney Thomas Spencer.
The order issued by Judge Royce Lamberth of the District Court for the District of Columbia finally brings to a close litigation initiated in February 1993 (AAPS v. Hillary Rodham Clinton), contending that the President's Task Force on Health Care Reform operated illegally, relying on private advisors and meeting in secret.
For more than three years, the Administration and Department of Justice claimed that task force working groups consisted entirely of full-time government employees. Subsequent release of task force documents proved that claim to be false. Judge Lamberth found that the Executive Branch and its attorneys knew that claim to be false, but did nothing to correct the record, thereby prolonging litigation.
``It seems that some government officials never learn that the cover-up can be worse than the underlying conduct,'' writes Judge Lamberth. ``Most shocking to this court, and deeply disappointing, is that the Department of Justice would participate in such conduct...this type of conduct is reprehensible, and the government must be held accountable for it.''
Judge Lamberth squarely places the blame on the White House and its lawyers, including Vincent Foster: ``...It is clear that the decisions here were made at the highest levels of government, and the government itself is-and should be-accountable when its officials run amok. These were no rogue lawyers here misleading the court. The court agrees with plaintiffs that these were not reckless and inept errors taken by bewildered counsel. The Executive branch of the government, working in tandem, was dishonest with this court, and the government must now face the consequences of its misconduct.''
``This is a sad victory,'' said AAPS spokeswoman Kathryn Serkes. ``We're relieved and pleased to have our claims of an illegal cover-up corroborated. But it's a shame that the victory comes at a cost to the American people. If the White House and Department of Justice had told the truth from the beginning, this prolonged and expensive litigation could have been avoided.
``It's too bad that those guilty of this misconduct don't have to pay the bill-instead of the taxpayers. Perhaps now that they've finally been accountable for at least one of their scandals, they'll learn their lesson-a cover-up is a cover-up whether it is in the basement files of the White House or in a federal courtroom.''