Dan Gecker and the Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton

Dan Gecker's efforts to impeach President Clinton as detailed in Peter Baker's book "The Breach" (2000)
Dan Gecker’s efforts to impeach President Clinton as detailed in Peter Baker’s book “The Breach” (2000)

Last week we asked if Virginia Democrats had a Dan Gecker problem. The gist: Dan Gecker is the Democrat establishment pick for the nomination to run in November for John Watkin’s seat in Virginia’s 10th Senate District. Gecker, the perceived favorite, faces opposition from two other Democrats.

Gecker’s claim to fame nearly twenty years ago was representing Kathleen Willey, one of the many women who very publicly accused then President Bill Clinton of sexual assault in the 90s.

Now the Richmond Free Press is showing how this may be a problem for Gecker and his backers:

Political analysts regard Mr. Gecker as the front-runner because he entered the race with the backing of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Henrico Sen. A. Donald McEachin and the Democratic Senate Caucus that Sen. McEachin chairs.

That support is raising eyebrows among some Democrats given Mr. Gecker’s involvement in the mid-1990s attempt to impeach then-President Clinton and promote a book that sought to discredit his wife, Hillary Clinton. The Clintons are close pals of the governor, a former head of the Democratic National Committee. The Clintons attended Gov. McAuliffe’s inauguration in January 2014.

In a statement to the Free Press, Mr. Gecker emphatically denied that he pushed the impeachment or supported efforts to undermine Mrs. Clinton.

“I did not advocate for the impeachment of President Clinton,” Mr. Gecker wrote, though he acknowledged serving as an attorney for Katherine Willey, a Richmond area resident and former White House volunteer who accused President Clinton of sexual assault during the impeachment uproar and later wrote a book about her life that blasted the Clintons.

Dan Gecker has routinely insisted that he was not involved in the impeachment of President Clinton. This claim runs contrary to published accounts.

In 2000, New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker wrote “The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton,” an exhaustive look at the behind the scenes machinations that led to Clinton’s impeachment and the Senate’s subsequent acquittal.

Of note is a dinner detailed on page 399 between Republican Senator Susan Collins, NBC reporter Lisa Myers, and Willey’s attorney Dan Gecker:

After the day’s proceedings ended, Susan Collins headed to a downtown Washington restaurant for another dinner with key players in the case – this time, Dan Gecker, Kathleen Willey’s attorney, and Lisa Myers, the NBC reporter who had interviewed Juanita Broaddrick. When Willey first called and asked to meet, she had offered either to come herself or to have her lawyer talk with the senator. Collins ended up scheduling both. Gecker was especially harsh about the president, describing himself as a disillusioned Democrat who had voted for Clinton twice. He went through the same incidents Willey had related the night before and, while not suggesting Clinton was directly involved, argued they could not simply be coincidence. Where his client had remained circumspect on the grail, Gecker urged Collins to vote for conviction.

Sen. Collins would vote Not Guilty to both charges against President Clinton, with the charge of perjury failing by a vote of 45-55 and the obstruction of justice charge failing 50-50.

A conviction on either charge required a two-thirds majority of 67 votes and would have removed the President from office.

Terry McAuliffe, who is still close with the Clintons, wants to win the Senate at any cost. He has openly stated he wants “my Senate back,” and the 10th is one of his biggest targets this November. Was Gecker totally honest with McAuliffe about his personal involvement in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton? Or did he give the Governor the same lie he’s feeding the press?

And now Democrats are asking themselves how exactly they’re supposed to get fired up about a guy who actively worked to impeach President Bill Clinton – especially on the eve of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run for the same office.

With the majority of the Senate in the balance, Gecker’s past could throw a wrench into McAuliffe’s efforts to win “his” Senate back.

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