(CNSNews.com) - Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Jim Nicholson Friday called on five members of the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct to recuse themselves from deciding whether President Clinton should lose his license to practice law in Arkansas.
Nicholson said in Washington, "Once again, Clinton's friends are putting their thumbs on the scales of justice. Justice will not be served if this decision is made by a group stacked with Clinton supporters."
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock reported that five of the 14 persons who could decide whether Clinton loses his Arkansas law license have contributed to Democratic Party campaigns or to Clinton. The paper looked at federal campaign contribution databases showing that three members of the Supreme Court committee, Richard Reid of Blytheville, Bart Virden of Morrilton and Dr. Patricia Youngdahl of Little Rock have contributed to the Democratic Party of Arkansas or to Democratic candidates.
The newspaper also found two members of the Alternate Committee on Professional Conduct, Chairman David Solomon of Helena and Dick Hatfield of Little Rock, donated to Clinton's 1992 or 1996 presidential campaigns and to other Democratic candidates.
The 30 contributions by committee and the alternate committee members total more than $16,000, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Nicholson said, "The conflict of interest and appearance of impropriety are obvious. Clinton's backers need to do the honorable thing: Recuse themselves. Clinton should ask them to. So should Vice President Al Gore, if he is at all troubled by Clinton's lying under oath and ethical violations."
The Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct served Clinton with two ethics complaints on Thursday. One was filed by the Southeastern Legal Foundation in connection with Clinton's testimony in the Paula Jones case. The other stems from the contempt citation issued by US District Judge Susan Webber Wright, the presiding judge in the Paula Jones case.
The penalties against Clinton could include disbarment. The president has 30 days to respond to the ethics complaints.
Clinton's attorney David Kendall was not available for comment when contacted Friday by CNSNews.com.