On September 16, 1998, my brother Josef (Joe) Hein returned from a twelve-day trip to Bosnia, where he had served as a supervisor for the State Department election observation team. In fact, his interest in mediation and peace conflict resolution led him to Bosnia three times between 1997 and 1998 during the elections which were called for by the Dayton Peace Agreement.
At the time, he also served as an aide on Capitol Hill to Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), whom he worked for between 1996 and 2000. Joe believed in the platform of the Democratic party, and was a strong advocate for President Bill Clinton. One of my earliest memories with Joe is going to a rally for President Clinton, where I helped pass out stickers.
Yet it was on this trip in September 1998 that the unfolding story of President Clinton’s abuses of power escalated. The Starr Report, prepared by Independent Counsel Ken Starr for the House Judiciary Committee, was relased. While Clinton had previously denied many of the accusations from both Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, the Starr Report argued that there were eleven possible grounds for impeachment of Clinton.
For whatever reason (I wish I could ask him now), these new events led my brother to write a letter to President Clinton just two days after he returned from Bosnia. I did not know this letter existed until August of 2021, just a few months after my father passed. As it turned out, my father had kept a number of my brother’s possessions and records which I did not know existed until then – including this letter.