Harriger offers the most complete assessment available of the use of special prosecutors in the post-Watergate era. She analyzes the independent counsel's role within the framework of the separation of powers, explaining how each has interacted with other key players in the political and legal system and showing how those relationships have affected the prosecutor's ability to conduct investigations.
Harriger's previous edition focused on the legacy of Watergate but was published before Walsh's Iran-Contra investigations were concluded. Her new study adds substantially more information on Iran-Contra, provides a clearheaded appraisal of Starr's sensationalized Whitewater-Lewinsky investigations, examines a number of senior-level cabinet probes, and critiques and clarifies the role of Attorney General Janet Reno in these latter matters. A completely new chapter compares Iran-Contra and Whitewater-Lewinsky to explore the limits of the law in the special prosecutor's efforts.
In this new edition, Harriger includes 20 new interviews with Washington insiders-including one with Kenneth Starr-and covers the debates that led to both the reauthorization of the independent counsel statute in 1994 and its demise in 1999. She then examines the pros and cons of the office and offers constructive suggestions for improvement should it be revived.
For students, scholars, and concerned citizens, her book takes us well beyond frenzied media hype and partisan politics to provide a timely reminder about the crucial role of separation of powers in our system of governance.
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