The Return of Larry Klayman

Back during the Clinton administration, Larry Klayman was, in the words of the Washington Post, “in the middle of most every Democratic scandal ricocheting through Washington”:

A once-obscure trade lawyer who founded his conservative “watchdog” group Judicial Watch in 1994, Klayman is suing the Clinton administration in 18 separate matters, alleging an array of government cover-ups related to such things as Commerce Department trade missions and the suicide of White House deputy counsel Vincent W. Foster.

Klayman was the source of countless harassing lawsuits against both the administration and the Clinton’s personally stemming from his own incessant hatred of both Bill and Hillary Clinton and the fact that he is, as Jacob Weisberg says, completely “off his rocker”:

This became abundantly evident when I went to interview him at his Washington office this week. After attempting to ascertain whether I was a Clinton spy or worked for Salon magazine (“in our view, a front for the Clinton administration”), Klayman told me that “private investigator types” working for Clinton have been spotted “casing” his office. With darting eyes and barely repressed rage, he alleged that administration secret police keep files on him. He went on to tell me that Ron Brown was probably murdered because of what he knew about various administration scandals. Alleging the existence of forensic evidence of murder, he explained, “Everybody in that lab believed there was a round hole the size of a .45 caliber bullet.” (In one TV interview, Klayman suggested the killer was “perhaps the president himself.”) The Brown cover-up is the subject of one of the 18 lawsuits Klayman has filed against the administration. Another concerns the investigation into the death of Vince Foster, who Klayman thinks may also have been murdered.

In other words, Klayman is one of the fringe characters who has sprouted in the moist ground of the Clinton scandals as mushrooms do after a spring rain. But Klayman is not treated like a fringe figure. He has, by and large, achieved the mainstream credibility he craves. He is a frequent guest on such TV programs as Crossfire, Rivera Live, MSNBC’s Internight, and The Charles Grodin Show (with whose twitchy host he seems to have a special affinity). Klayman is financially supported, praised, and frequently cited by the wider conservative movement. But he isn’t just a nutter who gets right-wing foundation money and gets on television. He’s a nutter with a law degree who takes advantage of the courts to harass his political opponents.

In late 2003, Klayman stepped down from his position at Judicial Watch in order to make a run for the Senate for Florida, only to come in dead last in the Republican primary. He eventually became embroiled in a nasty and prolonged legal battle with those left behind at Judicial Watch and started a new organization called Freedom Watch, which he appears poised to use as a springboard to reclaim his standing as the Right’s most relentless source of frivolous lawsuits:

An organization that serves as a watchdog on the U.S. government for American taxpayers has launched a campaign to uncover exactly how much tax money is being spent on parties at the Obama White House … Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch, told WND today he’s seeking information about the partying in the White House since the Obamas moved in.

Klayman said the reports of the partying at the White House, “with the likes of Steve Wonder and other high priced entertainment stars,” will be the focus of document requests being submitted to the General Services Administration. The requests will seek to determine how much taxpayer money is being used.

“Barack and Michelle Obama have been throwing taxpayer funded parties nearly every night with their ‘friends’ and supporters, with Michelle Obama even exhorting them not to ‘break’ White House property,” Klayman’s announcement said.

“This party atmosphere sends the wrong message to the American people. As the Obama-Clinton crowd party on, the American people are suffering greatly,” Klayman said.

“It was right to criticize corporate execs for using taxpayer bailout money on bonuses and corporate junkets. In the face of this criticism, it is an outrage for Barack and Michelle Obama to party on, as Rome burns. It’s like throwing a party at a funeral,” he said.