William Clinger Jr., 92, Dies; Led House Inquiries on Clinton


A nine-term Pennsylvania Republican, he oversaw investigations into the so-called Travelgate and Filegate cases. Clinton was acquitted of both.

William F. Klinger Jr., a nine-time Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who vigorously pursued two investigations of wrongdoing by the Clinton administration and said two decades later that Donald J. Trump, his party’s nominee, ineligible to be president, died on May. 28 in Naples, Fla. He was 92 years old.

His death in a hospital is confirmed by his daughter, Eleanor (Bijou) Miller. Mr. Klinger had lived in Florida for several years after his arrival from Virginia.

Mr. Klinger, the only millionaire member of the House of Representatives when he was first elected in 1978, was a relatively moderate Republican, serving as chief counsel for the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration with President Gerald R. Ford was a former appointee and a proponent. public work.

His signature law, however, was an issue out of contract with the US, the conservative legislative agenda successfully advanced by Speaker Newt Gingrich and his fellow Republicans during the 1994 midterm elections, in which he seized control of the House for the first time in 40 years. Had taken. .

The following year, as chairman of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Mr. Klinger was instrumental in enacting legislation that prohibited Congress from enforcing mandates on states and territories to spend money on programs whose federal government was was required, but failed to finance.

Mr. Klinger also legislated to streamline the purchase of goods and services by the government.

He launched two investigations into White House overreach. One, dubbed “Travelgate” in the media, investigated allegations that the White House under President Bill Clinton had fired personnel in its travel office and replaced them with Clinton’s peers. The committee accused the administration of obstructing the investigation, and an independent prosecutor found evidence that First Lady Hillary Clinton had played a role in the firing, but there was insufficient evidence that she had misled investigators.

The independent prosecutor also acquitted Mr. and Mrs. Clinton following an investigation into whether they improperly accessed FBI files on Republican opponents (referred to essentially as “filegate”).

Mr Klinger was so popular that he ran for re-election several times without a Democratic opponent. He did not seek a 10th term in 1996.

In October 2016, a few weeks before the general election, he was one of about 30 former Republican legislators who declared a public letter That Mr Trump was “clearly unfit to be president.”

William Floyd Klinger Jr. was born on April 4, 1929, in Warren, Pa., in the northwestern part of the state. William Sr. was a banker and owner of oil wells. His mother, Laila May (Hunter) Klinger, was a homemaker.

After graduating from The Hill School in Pottstown, PA, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University in 1951, serving four years in the Navy and was discharged as a lieutenant. He worked as an advertising executive for a mail-order clothing business process company in Warren before enrolling at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he earned a degree in 1965.

After retiring from Congress, Mr. Klinger taught at Johns Hopkins University, its president. Chautauqua Institution’was the co-chairman of the board of trustees and Institute for Representative Government, a non-profit, bipartisan Washington organization that promotes democracy internationally.

He married Julia Whitla, who died in 2016. In addition to his daughter Eleanor, he has another daughter, Julia Bolton Klinger; Two sons, James and William F. Klinger III; and seven grandchildren.

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