White House reporters were told yesterday that to the best of the Clintons' knowledge, they believed the Great Southern payment was for Whitewater, although there is no direct documentation to support that.
The White House briefer said the Clintons knew Great Southern to be "a McDougal real estate entity" that Mr. McDougal had said made Whitewater payments and thus needed to be reimbursed by the Clintons.
"We don't know how the company paid its interest. [Mr. McDougal] would say he needed money to make interest payments."
The Great Southern payment also amounted to about half of the first year's interest. "The degree of informality here was great," said the source, who briefed reporters on condition that he not be identified. He conceded the correlation between Great Southern and Whitewater required a leap of faith.
"This was never a company that had an office or employee. It was administering 44 lots in northern Arkansas," he said. " . . . I'm not trying to say you should not be skeptical. I'm trying to give you the best available information we have."
Subsequent payments of interest and real estate taxes as outlined yesterday bring the Clintons' total losses deducted on their tax returns from 1978 to 1990 to $46,635.
But the White House briefer said that the figure represented a "pre-tax loss," admitting the Clintons "got some tax benefit" from
claiming the losses on their taxes.