Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs/Getty Images

Why Is My Dad Mad?

The Depressing Vince Foster Conspiracy Theory Edition

Welcome to "Why Is My Dad Mad?" MTV's occasional inquiry into issues that may come up on your Facebook feed or over dinner.

OK, why is Dad mad now?

Something about Vince Foster and… murder or something.

Who is Vince Foster? He sounds like he won Sixth Man of the Year in 1998 or something.

He was an Arkansan lawyer who served as Deputy White House Counsel for Bill Clinton (whom he lived across the street from as a child) in 1993. On July 20, 1993, struggling with depression, he committed suicide at a park in Virginia.

But… that’s not what my Dad said.

:: sighs ::

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that your Dad is a fairly far-right guy.


So among a certain segment of the far right, there is a belief that Vince Foster did not, in fact, commit suicide and instead was murdered. By the Clintons.

Wait, what?

Let’s take this back to 1993. Though Bill Clinton had won the presidency, like, ten minutes earlier, the Clinton White House was not having the best time for the following reasons:

1. In January 1993, Bill Clinton nominated Zoë Baird for the role of United States Attorney General, apparently without (a) meeting her or (b) realizing that the fact that Baird had hired undocumented immigrants for her household staff without paying the requisite taxes — a violation of federal law — would look really, really bad.

2. In February 1993, Bill Clinton was about to nominate Kimba Wood until an investigation found evidence that she’d, well, done the same thing. Technically, she hadn’t broken the law regarding the hiring of undocumented immigrants (which took effect after she’d hired a Trinidadian nanny), but she was still asked to withdraw.

3. And THEN, Bill Clinton nominated Lani Guinier to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, which would have been totally fine had she not written a bunch of stuff tailor-made to make conservative Republicans mad.

4. "Travelgate" happened and Clinton’s stimulus package fell apart and everything was bad.

As Deputy White House Counsel, Vince Foster was involved in all of this and bore a lot of the criticism. Separated from his family, who were back in Arkansas, and bearing the brunt of public pressure, Foster lost weight and was prescribed medication for depression, and had begun talking to his wife about his desire to resign from the White House. Four days before he committed suicide, he told his sister that he wasn’t sure what to do and was incredibly depressed, and he reached out to several psychiatrists. He spent the day before he committed suicide paying his family’s bills and settling his late father’s estate.

Sounds like he was having a hard time.


So why did… how did the Clintons get blamed for this?

Because despite five separate investigations — including one performed by Ken Starr (the guy who investigated the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which… look it up) — conspiracy theorists believe that:

(a) Hillary Clinton "bullied" Foster into suicide (for many reasons, like the idea that they were having an affair). OR

(b) According to Roger Stone (Trump’s bestie) and others, Hillary Clinton (or someone working for her) killed Foster and staged it as a suicide. There was even an entire organization set up to pursue this line of thinking: the Arkansas Project.

And why is this news now?

Because Donald Trump wants to make Hillary Clinton look sketchy, and the best way to do that is to point to an instance from the Clintons’ past that was, well, sketchy.

Vince Foster’s family says that bringing this up again is "beyond contempt." Again, it’s pretty clear what happened — but that’ll never be enough for the conspiracy-theory internet. For Trump, that’s just fine.