Another Independent Counsel?

Vice President Gore may soon have his own independent counsel worries in connection with the campaign finance scandal, reports CBS News Correspondent Phil Jones.

Reno reported to the court last year that she had found "no reasonable grounds" to determine the vice president broke the law by making fundraising telephone calls from his office in the White House. However, she reportedly has new evidence and is expected to ask the court next week for 90 days to determine if an independent counsel is needed.

At the Justice Department, a high ranking official said today that it is "painful to watch the daily hand-ringing" of Janet Reno as she agonizes over the possibility. The investigation would likely focus on Vice President Gore and Harold Ickes, the president's former deputy chief of staff and campaign confidant.

Last year, when the legality of his fund raising calls from government property first broke, Mr. Gore invoked a technical defense, saying "there is no controlling legal authority."

Harold Ickes is not technically covered under the independent counsel law. However, since he was virtually running the campaign from inside the White House, he was involved in raising and controlling campaign contributions. Any investigation would have to include Ickes.

Sources caution that Attorney General Reno is still vacillating. However, their latest reading is that next week she will start the process that could lead to the appointment of an independent counsel for the money scandal, something she has resisted for the past eight months.

Reported by Phil Jones
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