Reno's Decision on Appointing Counsel

* The Republicans ask Atty. Gen. Janet Reno to decide whether an independent counsel should be appointed to investigate White House fund-raising. When Reno decides that an outside investigation is not appropriate at this point (April 14-15), Republicans claim that she does not have the right to decide because of conflict of interest.

Apparently, there was only one right answer, and since Reno did not make it, she is now threatened with an investigation into whether she was involved in fund-raising (doesn't matter that there is no evidence of this). Looks like the Republicans are into investigating anyone who fails to give them the answers they want to hear.

VICTORIA J. THOMAS

Newport Beach

* So Reno has, for the third time, rejected a request for an independent counsel to investigate the Democratic fund-raising scandal. Apparently she finds no fault in admitted money-raising phone calls by our vice president from the White House, anyone can stay in the Lincoln Bedroom, have tea and coffee in the White House, enjoy flights on Air Force One and Two and visit Camp David if they can pay the price.

Are the Democrats setting a precedent for future fund-raising practices that both parties may use? I hope not.

MARY J. MONK

San Clemente

* Re "Millstone of Partisanship," editorial, April 11: Everyone talks about balancing the budget. Why therefore is it necessary to have two campaign finance probes at the same time and waste needed money? Don't they talk to each other? Or is the lure of personal publicity overwhelming?

IRVING WODIN

Los Angeles

* Re Mark Barabak's "The Washington Connection," April 15:

Right-leaning Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein and President Clinton drink from the same deeply corrupt trough of PAC-money politics, as do their alleged adversaries in the Republican Party. The major accomplishment of the Republicrats is to disenchant the populace so completely that only about a quarter of the adult population even shows up at the polls to vote--freeing the pols to concentrate on serving their wealthy and corporate benefactors.

Out in the real world, the policies of Clinton, Newt Gingrich and the Beltway consultant crowd are going over like a lead balloon. Republican governors are falling all over themselves to delay, defer or duck the draconian cuts mandated by last year's welfare repeal. Once apprised of specifics, Americans are not in much of a mood to endure the pain entailed by a balanced budget amendment. And NAFTA is wildly unpopular to the average person, who watches good jobs go south and remaining employment pay ever lower wages.

Meanwhile, traditional left policies--aggressively dismissed as "outside the mainstream" by the Beltway gang--actually are gaining in popularity. Los Angeles recently joined a host of American cities by passing a living-wage law. And unions are successfully recruiting workers who are tired of seeing the purchasing power of their wages dwindle. But you won't hear any of this from Barabak and his ilk.

CHRIS FORD

Los Angeles

* Nothing is more difficult for a viable organization than a decision to bring about its own demise. My awareness of this reality was reinforced as I read "Hollywood PAC Quits to Protest Money in Politics" (April 13). And this expression of support for that courageous decision comes from someone who has long shared the Hollywood Women's Political Committee's goals.

Why would I applaud this rare act of organizational self-sacrifice? Because it may awaken other Americans to the danger of continuing "a system that promotes the buying and selling of candidates" in whose hands we place our country's fateful decisions.

HAROLD WILLENS

Los Angeles

* Along with Kenneth Starr, it's time for The Times to put up or shut up (editorial, April 15). You have all the data released by the Clinton campaign. Did they do anything illegal or not? Instead of sleaze from the Democrats, I see sleaze from The Times in the form of day after day of innuendo with no evidence of illegality. Instead of politics from Reno I see a call from The Times to inject politics into the Justice Department.

JIM CARROLL

Burbank

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