October 18, 1999
The Honorable David B. Sentelle
The Honorable Peter T. Fay
The Honorable Richard D. Cudahy
Special Division for the Purpose of
Appointing Independent Counsels
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia Circuit
333 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Dear Judge Sentelle, Judge Fay, and Judge Cudahy:
It has been my privilege to serve as Independent Counsel for over five years. On my very first day in office, I learned in a briefing in Little Rock that the investigation already in progress was broad — ranging far beyond Whitewater Development Corporation and the failed Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan Association — and that evidence of serious crimes had already been uncovered. During the ensuing period, the Attorney General sought expansions of the mandate of this Office, occasioning further widening of the investigation’s already broad scope.
In all aspects of our jurisdiction, my colleagues and I sought to carry out our obligations in a thorough, comprehensive, and professional manner. I will forever remain deep in their debt for all that they, the prosecutors and support staff, accomplished under challenging circumstances.
Notwithstanding all the hard work, much remains to be done to complete this unique set of assignments. When the Independent Counsel provisions of the Ethics in Government Act expired earlier this year, my view was that the remaining matters within our jurisdiction could lawfully be returned to the Department of Justice for final disposition. Professional and cordial discussions with career prosecutors in the Justice Department made clear to all of us, however, that the Department did not share that view. Consequently, to discharge the Office’s broadened mandates, the Office must continue in existence and carry on its assigned work.
Inasmuch as the Office must continue, I have concluded that the Office would be better served with a new person at the helm. In particular, the intense politicization of the independent counsel process has resulted in a marked diminution in public confidence in the administration of justice. To reduce the unfortunate personalization of the process, in particular in the wake of the inherently divisive impeachment proceedings, the wiser course, I believe, is for another individual to head the investigation.
Accordingly, with gratitude for the confidence that the Special Division graciously placed in me over the years, I respectfully submit my resignation, effective at 2 p.m. on Monday, October 18, 1999.
Kenneth W. Starr