Top 6 Bill Clinton Legacies

From Wen Ho Lee to 'bimbo eruptions' to Whitewater to financial regulation, some memories of the Clinton years
Bill Clinton / AP

Bill Clinton / AP


Former President Bill Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, almost 12 years after he left the White House. With so much time between then and now, many Americans may have forgotten about some of the 42nd president’s most precious moments.

1. “That woman”

Clinton became only the second president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, suffering the indignity due to charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Clinton famously told the country that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman,” referring to his intern Monica Lewinsky. That claim was later exposed as false. Clinton was later disbarred.

2. China-gate

Charlie Trie (AP)

In 1997, news broke that the Justice Department had uncovered evidence of Chinese agents seeking illegally to direct contributions to the Democratic National Committee. In total, 22 people were convicted of fraud or violation of U.S. laws against foreign political contributions. One of those was Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie, a Taiwanese immigrant who tried to funnel $450,000 to Clinton’s legal defense fund.

3. Spies Like Us

Wen Ho Lee (AP)

In 1999, a federal grand jury indicted Dr. Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwan-born nuclear scientist, of stealing nuclear secrets and delivering them to the People’s Republic of China. Federal investigators eventually dropped all but one of the charges, improper handling of restricted data. Clinton apologized to Lee for the government’s treatment of him during the trial.

4. Don’t hate the player

Paula Jones (AP)

In 1999, Clinton was found in contempt of court for intentionally false testimony in Clinton v. Jones, a case brought against him by a former Arkansas state employee who claimed Clinton had propositioned her. Clinton was fined $90,000, and a year later, the Arkansas Supreme Court suspended Clinton’s law license.

5. Whitewater

Lloyd Cutler holds copy of Whitewater Report (AP)

In 1994, Bill and Hillary Clinton were investigated for their role in illegal transactions related to the failed Whitewater real estate venture. David Hale claimed that Clinton pressured him into providing an illegal $300,000 loan to the Clintons’ partner in the Whitewater land deal. The Clintons were eventually cleared. Two years after the investigation began, key documents subpoenaed by the court that the Clintons had claimed went missing were discovered in their private White House residence.

6. Deregulation

Roosevelt signs Steagall Glass (AP)

While many pin the blame for the 2008 economic collapse on President George W. Bush, his predecessor was responsible for loosening the regulations that allowed the financial sector to consolidate. Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act and exempted credit-default swaps from regulation.