Full Text Of Bill Clinton's Whitewater Testimony
By The Associated Press
Court: For the record, would you state your name?
Clinton: Bill Clinton.
Court: And again, for the record, would you state your current occupation?
Clinton: President of the United States.
Court: Now, Mr. President, do you know the defendant, Herby Branscum, Jr.?
Clinton: I do.
Court: And can you tell the members of the jury when you first met Herby Branscum?
Clinton: I believe it was -- must have been in the early 1970s. I've known him well since 1974, but I believe I met him a little before then.
Q: Did he ever do any work on your election campaigns?
A: Yes, he did.
Q: Could you briefly describe for the members of the jury your elective career?
A: I ran for Congress in 1974 when I was living in Fayetteville and teaching at the University of Arkansas Law School. I was defeated in that race. In 1976 I ran for Attorney General. I was elected. I was elected Governor in 1978. I was defeated for Governor in 1980. And then I was reelected in 1982, 1984, 1986, and 1990. And I served as Governor until I became President.
Q: And during any of these campaigns that you had, that you just described for the members of the jury, did Herby do any work for you in any of those campaigns?
A: He did.
Q: Can you tell us when was the first one that he worked on?
A: He worked on my campaign in 1974 when I ran for Congress. He was -- basically took charge of my efforts in Perry County where he lived. He tried to get votes for me, he tried to raise some funds for me, and he also, because he was well connected with Democrats in other counties and, indeed, throughout the state, tried to broaden my base of support. He did a good job, even though I lost the race. If, after all these years if my memory is right, I believe I got the highest percentage of the vote in Perry County, of any county in the district, and we won by better than two to one in that county.
Mr. Guthrie: May I approach the witness, Your Honor?
The Court: You may.
By Mr. Guthrie:
Q: Mr. President, let me show you what has been marked for identification Defendant's Exhibit B-600. Let me ask to you to look at that, sir, and tell the jury whether or not you can identify this.
A: I can. It's hard to identify. But 22 years ago, this was me. Maybe I should show the picture here. It's a picture of me that was taken sometime in 1974 in that campaign for Congress.
Q:And is the writing on that picture that you, yourself, placed on the picture, sir?
Mr. Guthrie: Your Honor, we offer that Exhibit B-600 into evidence, please.
Mr. Ewing: No objection.
The Court: It's received.
By Mr. Guthrie: Now, Mr. President, if you would, if you would read for the members of the jury the inscription that you placed on this picture back in 1974?
A: It says, "To Herby: With deep gratitude for your fine help, which will yet find a better reward," signed "Bill Clinton, December, 1974." So this was after I had lost the race for Congress.
Q: And so this is after you've been defeated in 1974, this is after the election is over that you gave this picture to Mr. Branscum; is that correct?
A: That's correct.
Q: All right, sir. Now, did Mr. Branscum work for you on any of your subsequent campaigns; that is, after you were defeated in 1974, did he do any other work for you on other campaigns?
A: He did.
Q: Can you tell us what he did?
A: Well, he worked for me in 1976 and 1978 and 1980 and 1982 and 1984 and 1986, and 1990. He worked in all of them.
Q: So every single election that you had after you were defeated in 1974, Mr. Branscum worked for you on those campaigns?
A: That's correct.
Q: Now, I believe you mentioned that you had been defeated, besides for 1974, you had had another defeat in your elective career; is that correct?
A: That's correct. I lost the election in 1980.
Q: Did Mr. Branscum work for you in that campaign?
A: He did.
Q: Again, all the ones after that?
A: That's correct.
Q: All right, sir. Now, in the mid '70s, were you aware of Herby being appointed to any statewide boards or offices?
A: I was. I believe our senior senator, Dale Bumpers, when he was governor, appointed Herby to the Claims Commission. So that's the first appointment that I was aware that he had.
Q: And can you tell the members of the jury what the Claims Commission does?
A: Yes. The Arkansas Claims Commission is a group of people appointed by the governor under a law passed by the legislature to hear claims against the state. The state in most cases cannot be sued by citizens, so if a citizen feels injured by a state employee in the line of duty, or if a state employee has a complaint, and a number of other things come up like this, they have to file a claim with the State Claims Commission where there's a full-time staff, they process the claims, and then the commission itself will ultimately rule on them and decide whether the petitioner is entitled to any relief and how much. It's quite an important job.
Q: All right. And did you have any occasion to reappoint Herby to the Claims Commission after this initial appointment by Gov. Bumpers?
A: I did. His term expired -- as I remember, his term expired in my first year as governor in 1979 and I reappointed him.
Q: And can you tell the members of the jury why you reappointed Herby Branscum to the Claims Commission?
A: Well, I reappointed him, first of all, because he'd done a good job. By all reports, he'd done a good job, and it was an important commission and because he was my friend and I knew him and I trusted him and he had been a good supporter of mine.
Q: In addition to the appointment and the reappointment by you to the Claims Commission, are you aware of any other statewide boards or offices that Herby was appointed to during the mid '70s?
A: Yes. I believe that Sen. Pryor when he was governor -- I know that he did this. I'm trying to remember what year it was. I believe Senator Pryor when he was governor appointed Herby to be the Chairman of the Democratic Party in 1976.
Now, strictly speaking, the governor doesn't appoint the chairman of the Democratic Party. The governor recommends the chair to the state Democratic committee and then the committee votes. But since the governor is the titular head of the party, typically when the nominee for governor will make a recommendation at the Democratic convention, and Sen. Pryor, when he was running for a second term, recommended Herby, and he was elected chairman of the state Democratic party.
Q: So that if we understand this correctly, what you're saying is that normally the nominee for governor gets to select the party chairman?
A: That's correct.
Q: Even though he's technically elected?
A: That's correct.
Q: All right. Can you tell the members of the jury what the chairman of the Democratic Party in Arkansas does? What are his duties, what's the function?
A: Well, it's quite an important job. First of all, he has to be the spokesperson for the party in the state, he has to try to keep strong grassroots organizations out there in the county committees and he has to try to keep them connected to the state party, something which is not always easy to do. He has to support our efforts to get good people to run for the local races, the state legislature, he has to support our Democrats in the congressional delegation and, of course, our state officials, the governor, the lieutenant governor, the other state officials who may be Democrats. So it's an important job, and it's -- the recommendation is one the governor always takes seriously because you want someone in there that's going to build a strong grassroots organization.
Q: Did you personally have an occasion to reappoint Herby to the chairmanship of the Democratic Party in Arkansas?
A: Yes, I did, on two occasions. I recommended Herby to the committee in 1978 when I was the nominee for governor, and I recommended him in 1980 when I was the nominee for governor, as governor, and when I was nominated again in 1982, after having been defeated, I asked him to stay again, but he declined.
Q: All right. Can you tell the members of the jury why is it that you recommended Herby to be the chairman of the Democratic Party in Arkansas on really three different occasions?
A: Because he'd done a good job, because the people -- the Democrats, the rank and file Democrats in the state liked him, they respected him, they trusted his work, and they felt good about him being there. He had a high level of confidence, and he could relate well to rural people and, you know, city people, all different kinds of people. He did well with that.
Q: And I believe you said that you had asked him to serve a fourth time in 1982 and he declined that. Is that correct?
A: He thought he'd done enough, and I couldn't disagree with him. He had served six years, he had gotten the party through its tough times after we were really hurt in the Reagan landslide of 1980, and we were in pretty good shape by the time of the convention in '82 when I was running for re-election, looked like I had a good chance to win, and he had other things to do; you know, he had a family to raise, a business to deal with. So he declined to serve again, and I understood it.
Q: Now, in the early '80s, did you personally ask Herby to take any other statewide appointments?
A: I believe we had a conversation about whether Herby would be willing to go in the Public Service Commission. When I got re-elected governor, Herby was no longer the party chair. I believe I talked to him about the Public Service Commission.
Q:. OK. So this would be in 1980 --
A: '83. That would be '83.
Q: 1983. So the jury will understand again, Mr. President, could you tell us what the Public Service Commission does?*
A: Yes, sir. The Public Service Commission is a commission of three members appointed by the governor, I believe to six-year terms. I haven't checked it in a long time, but I believe it's six-year terms.
And that's a very important commission, because they, in effect, have to approve utility rate increases. They have to approve the building of new power plants, they have to approve major policy changes by electric and gas and telephone companies. And particularly in the early '80s, it was very, very important, because Arkansas had been in the throes of utility controversies for, oh, nearly 10 years, and there was a major, major issue about whether our ratepayers in Arkansas would have to pay for part of the nuclear power plant being built in Mississippi by Middle South Utilities, which owned the power companies in Arkansas and Mississippi and Louisiana, whether we'd have to pay for it even though we didn't need any of the power. And this was a very complex issue.
These utility issues are quite complex, and I wanted to appoint someone because the utility issue was a big issue in the election of 1982, so I wanted to appoint someone who was intelligent enough to grasp the complex issues, but also compassionate enough and experienced enough to know how these things would actually affect the lives of ordinary people in my state.
Q: And why did you ask Mr. Branscum to serve?
A: Because I thought he fit the bill. I thought he had -- everybody that knows him knows he's got a good common touch. I mean, he has an instinct of how these things affect ordinary folks because of his own upbringing and the life he's lived, but he's also smart, I mean, he could figure it out, and we had to have somebody smart enough to do it. It's a hard job.
Q: Mr. President, did this issue concerning the power plant in Mississippi, the controversy surrounding that, did that in any way become an issue in any of your campaigns?
A: Oh, yes, it had been an issue -- it had been an issue in the 1980 campaign, and it had been an issue in the 1982 campaign. And it was a big issue in the public arena in our state in the '83 and '84 time period, because our people didn't want to pay for it, but -- so it was a big issue.
Q: So you did ask Mr. Branscum to serve on the Public Service Commission; is that correct?
A: He did -- yes, and he declined.
Q: And that would be in 1983. Is that correct, sir?
A: I think that's right, yes.
Q: Now, were there any other positions that Mr. Branscum held during the 1980s in Arkansas that you can recall?
A: I appointed Mr. Branscum to the University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees, I believe, in 1987.
A: That was his alma mater, one of our fastest-growing colleges, near where he lives in Perryville, and I thought he would do a good job and I appointed him.
Q: Let me ask you if you have any knowledge of whether or not Mr. Branscum served on the Claims Commission during the 1980s, also?
A: Yes, he did. But that's because -- keep in mind I appointed him in '79 to the Claims Commission, and he served there on the Claims Commission until either '83 or '85. I can't remember. Sometime in there. And then he went off the Claims Commission for a couple of years, and then I appointed him to the University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees.
Q: Now, how would you characterize your relationship with Herby during the 1980s, Mr. President?
A: Very close.
Q: And would he give you advice on policy, for example?
Q: And how about on personnel that you were considering for either appointments or to come on staff there in the Governor's office?
A: Yes, he would. Particularly if he knew them and he had an opinion, he would.
Q: How about, would he give you any advice on politics in general?
Q: And can you tell the jury --
A: Keep in mind, he was my party chairman my first term, he was supposed to give me advice on politics, that was part of his job, and he always did. And we went back a long way, so we talked about just about everything relevant to my job. He knew there was nothing off limits. If he wanted to give me advice, I would be glad to have it, and I often sought it.
Q: Did Herby raise funds for you during your campaigns?
A: He did.
Q: And how about any sort of special initiatives, did he raise funds for you during any special initiatives?
A: He did. I believe anytime I had a project going, Herby helped me. He helped me when we raised funds to promote our education reforms in the early '80s, and we had a government ethics initiative on the ballot in the late '80s, which we passed, I believe he helped me raise funds for that, and, of course, when I started running for president, he helped me again. So in every campaign I was ever in and in all my special endeavors, and including my inaugural accounts and everything, I would be surprised if there was a single thing I ever did that he didn't contribute to.
Q: Can you tell the members of the jury what the Arkansas Highway Commission is?
Q: What does it do?
A: The Arkansas Highway Commission is a commission established by the voters, by constitutional amendment, to run the Highway Department, which is obviously very important in any state, but particularly important in a rural state like ours. The Highway Commission has five members who serve ten-year terms, and while they are on the commission, they are responsible for the operation of the Highway Department. That is, the director of the Highway Department reports to the commission and is hired and serves at the pleasure of the commission, not the governor.
Q: So they are independent?
A: That's correct, they are independent. And they make the plans, the long-term transportation plans for the state, they establish priorities, they work on specific road projects, they deal with road emergencies that come up, they relate to all the people throughout the state who have an interest in highway matters. It's a very important commission.
Q: And do you know what the pay for this commission is?
A: I don't think there's any pay. They get their expenses and they might get a per diem, I'm not sure. They might get a per diem plus expenses, but there is no salary associated with it.
Q: And how long is the term, if you know?
A: Ten years.
Q: Now, I believe you already said that it consists of how many members, Mr. President?
Q: Five members. So the five members of the commission would basically set the policies in terms of the highway development for the entire State of Arkansas?
A: That's correct.
Q: Again, so we understand this, this is totally independent from the governor; that is, the governor does not control the commission; correct?
A: The governor does not control the commission, and, most importantly, the governor cannot hire or fire the director, so if the governor -- now, obviously, a governor is concerned about the transportation system of the state, and people call the governor and say, "We've got a road all broken up because of a rainstorm here. Can you help?" You relate to the Highway Commission.
We talk to them and have a cordial relationship, but it's constitutionally independent. Just like the Game & Fish Commission, the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, the Board of Corrections which runs our penitentiary system, the other boards of higher education, they are all constitutionally independent. The boards pick the people who run them, and run the institutions and they set the policy.
Q: How are the five members appointed?
A: The governor appoints one every two years. They rotate every two years off the commission.
Q: So then you have a constant rotation over the ten-year appointment, every two years you have a new member coming on?
A: That's correct.
Q: All right, sir. Are there any geographical restrictions on where these members come from?
A: There are, and without going into the whole details, the Highway Commission was established in the '50s, the early '50s, when we had six congressional districts, and we've had to have our Supreme Court interpret the meaning of the language of the Highway Commission as we'd gone from six congressional districts down to four.
But the bottom line is when I was governor and we had four congressional districts, there had to be a highway commissioner from each congressional district, and there could not be more than two, therefore, from any one congressional district. So because we had five highway commissioners, there would always be one from each congressional district and then one, in effect, would be at large. One congressional district would have two commissioners.
Q: Do you remember who was on the Arkansas Highway Commission in 1990?
A: I think I do, yes. I believe I can do that.
Q: All right.
A: The commissioner from the First Congressional District in Eastern Arkansas, that's eastern Arkansas, was Rodney Slater from Jonesboro, who was an officer at Arkansas State University, and was the first African-American to serve on the commission. He's now the Federal Highway Administrator. I appointed him to the Federal Highway Administration after I became president.
From the Third Congressional District, that's western and northwest Arkansas, the commissioner was Bobby Hopper of Springdale, and there were two commissioners from the Fourth Congressional District, that goes all across south Arkansas, they were Ron Harrod of Prescott and Bill Clark from Hot Springs. The commissioner from the Second Congressional District, which is basically Little Rock and Pulaski County, Lonoke County, White County, Faulkner County, Conway, Morrilton, Conway County, Saline County, Benton, Perry County and Yell County, from that congressional district the commissioner was Raymond Pritchett of Maumelle.
Q: And in late 1990, were any of these commissioners that you just described for the members of the jury, were any of those terms about to expire?
A: Yes, Mr. Pritchett's term was about to expire. He had been appointed in 1981 by then Governor White and his term was coming up.
Q: What persons did you consider appointing for this, Mr. President?
A: Oh, well, I think in the end there were probably eight or nine people who asked to be considered for it.
Mr. Guthrie: Your Honor, may I approach the witness?
The Court: You may.
Q: Mr. President, let me show you what has been marked for identification purposes as Defendant's Exhibit B-601 and B-601-A.
Q: Let me ask you to look at that, sir, and see if you can identify that for the members of the jury.
A: I can.
Q: Can you tell us what that is?
A: This is a memorandum to me from Craig Smith, who was in charge of appointments, about the Highway Commission, and appears to be a status memorandum, just alerting me that this appointment was going to come up, and that at the time that he wrote this memo there were six people whose names had been put in consideration.
Q: Would you look at the following exhibit. Does it appear to be an additional copy of that?
A: It appears to be just a duplicate of it.
Mr. Guthrie: Your Honor, we offer these exhibits into evidence, 601 and 601-A.
The Court: Counsel?
Mr. Ewing: No objection.
The Court: They're received.
By Mr. Guthrie:
Q: Now, Mr. President, did you make any notations on Defendant's Exhibit B-601?
A: I did.
Q: And do you know, or do you recall when you actually made your notations on there?
A: No, I don't know. This was a status memo, so it had to be somewhere between the 14th of December and the third week of January when we ultimately made the appointment. I know we made the appointment sometime in the third week of January, but I do not know -- I didn't date when I made this note and I honestly don't remember it, and it would be impossible for me to recall now, because this was a very busy time, and in the last two weeks of December are filled with, you know, scores of Christmas parties and other activities. I just wouldn't know.
Q: Let me ask you, if I could, Mr. President, to look at the second exhibit there, 601-A, and if I could get you to take this marker and highlight for the members of the jury the writing on 601-A that is actually your writing?
A: Okay. This is not. I don't know what that is, and I can't tell whether this is mine or not. This is mine, this check, yes.
A: This -- these checks -- I think these checks are mine.
Q: Down under 2, 3 and 4?
A: 2, 3 and 4. And this circle may be mine, but I don't know. I just don't know. But I made checks like that, so I believe these are mine. I can't be sure the circle is mine, and I'm sure this is not mine, that's not my handwriting there.
Q: All right, sir. Could you read to the members of the jury what you wrote on this status memo --
A: Yes, sir.
Q: -- that is in actually your handwriting?
A: It says, "Go with 1 but must do ground work with Rocky and Hinkle. Must be told this is Second Congressional District appointment." That's what it says.
Q: Again, that's something that you wrote on this memo?
A: I did write that, yes.
Q: Now, let me ask you if there was anything that was significant about the people who were urging you to appoint Herby Branscum to the Highway Commission here in December of 1990?
A: Well, according to this memo, which lists Herby Branscum's name as the first name on the list, he's the number one -- he's the first name here. As of the time this memo was written there were a large number of people who had written in his behalf, or called in his behalf, and they came from a lot of -- several of the counties within the Second Congressional District.
They also came from a couple of counties that were outside the Second Congressional District, but would have been, I believe, in the area that Herby would have been responsible for. And I guess, if I might, sir, just for the edification of the jury on this, the highway -- Arkansas is divided not only by four congressional districts, but by ten highway districts. So each highway commissioner will have two highway districts. And those districts do not perfectly overlap our congressional district boundaries.
So there would be people -- I'm just saying this -- so there would be people outside the Second Congressional District that would have a keen interest in this appointment. And, in fact, that was the major controversy surrounding this appointment, which we can discuss, if you like, but I'm just trying to explain that there were -- for example, there are state legislators here who came from outside the congressional district, but I believe were in the area that would be served by the highway commissioner from that area.
Now, it's an interesting list, from my point of view, because this list has a lot of people on it who were my strong supporters, but it also has some people on it who weren't particularly strong supporters of mine who were recommending Mr. Branscum.
Q: Who would be included in that latter category?
A: I don't want to embarrass them. Let me say -- well, I'll just -- in the legislature, Bill Sanson and Frank Willems, for example, I had a good personal -- and Bud Rice, those are three legislators, I had good personal relations with them, but they often didn't support my programs.
They often disagreed with me philosophically on issues and didn't support them. There was no personal animosity between us. It's just that they weren't always with me. But there were others. There was Allen Gordon, Senator Gordon, who was my campaign chairman in this county and almost always voted with me, Mike Wilson from Jacksonville nearly always voted with me.
So the interesting thing to me is that these names come from right across the geographic spectrum of the Second District and beyond, and they also come from across the political spectrum, so we had a broad base of recommendations.
Q: With regard to some of the other candidates, sir, can you tell us which district the other candidates were from?
A: Yes, sir. Well, there's six names on this list. And as I said, this was -- I know for a fact that there were a couple of more people, maybe three more who got into this mix before the whole thing was over, but the four of them are from the Second Congressional District; Mr. Branscum, two from Little Rock, and Marlin Jackson from Conway.
And then two of them are from the First Congressional District, from the hills of north central Arkansas; one from Mountain View and one from Batesville.
Q: So the last two individuals listed on this status memorandum that's dated the 14th of December, 1990, from Craig Smith to you, were actually from outside the congressional district?
A: That's right. That's what my note refers to. It says, "Must do ground work with Rocky and Hinkle. Must be told this is Second District appointment."
And Mr. Hinkle was from Mountain View and Mr. Wilmuth was from Batesville, and their contention, and the contention of their supporters was that their region in north central Arkansas was represented by Mr. Pritchett from Pulaski County, which is the most urbanized county in the state, and, as you might imagine, there's some tension there between the city and the rural areas, and that their region had been without any highway representation for a very long time, they believed that they had not done as well as they should have, and they thought they were entitled to it, and they made a compelling case.
I mean, they had -- it had been a long time since anybody from up there had been on the Highway Commission. They were arguing that I could legally appoint someone from up there, because they argued that Mr. Clark from Hot Springs, whom I'd appointed, had an apartment in Little Rock where he spent most of his time. That was their argument.
So they said we could say he was the Second Congressional District appointee. But in the end I just didn't think they were right. He did have an apartment in Little Rock, he did spend a lot of time there, but he spent a lot of time there because the headquarters of the Highway Department was there and he was a highway commissioner.
So to say a man came to Little Rock and did his job, who was retired, and had the time and ability to do that didn't change his residence, and I just didn't think it was the right thing to do. So in the end I heard them out, and sometime in late December or early January I heard them out, I evaluated it, I had thought they made a very compelling case for their area, but they would become eligible as soon as one of those two appointments from south Arkansas expired anyway, so I just didn't think it was the right thing to do.
Q: Now, I notice that on the list of individuals that were recommending Herby to you for this appointment to the Highway Commission are Kent Dollar and Rob Hill. Do you see that, Mr. President?
Q: Mr. President, do you recall a meeting in your office on December 14 involving these two men?
A: I don't have a specific recollection of it, sir, but I do know that they were both close to Herby and strongly supportive of his nomination to the Highway Commission, and that they had worked for me, supported me, raised funds for me. So I don't doubt that the meeting occurred, and I'm aware that it's been commented on, because I read an account of it, so I don't doubt that it occurred. I do know that they supported Herby being on the Highway Commission, and I do know that they were active in my campaigns.
Q: And so these would be two of the individuals that are listed among these many other individuals who also supported Herby Branscum for the Highway Commission?
A: That's correct.
Q: All right. Mr. President, who did you finally select for Raymond Pritchett's spot on the Highway Commission?
A: Herby Branscum.
Q: And did you appoint Herby Branscum because of any financial contributions made in 1990 by Rob Hill or Kent Dollar or obtained by them?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Can you tell the jury why you appointed Herby Branscum to the Highway Commission in January of 1991?
A: I appointed him because I thought he was the best person under consideration because -- and I thought it was an important appointment and I needed someone who would do a very good job with the job, which I thought he would do, because he worked on the Claims Commission, as chairman of the Democratic Party, University of Central Arkansas board.
He had important jobs before and done them well, and someone that I thought understood not just the mechanics of being on the Highway Department, but could relate well to people out in these counties, and would take their phone calls, and, if necessary, go see them and deal with their issues, and because I wanted someone who was supportive of me enough to at least give me a listening ear.
This is a very important appointment. And the Highway Commission, for example, they make decisions about when they are going to ask for a gas tax increase, when they are going to put a road program before the people, what are the priorities in the road program. They go to Washington and represent the state highway interests before the Federal Highway Administration or testify before Congress or -- this is a big job.
And you need someone that's pretty well in sync with your vision, your values, your idea of where the state ought to be going, because if the governor and the Highway Commission are at total loggerheads, you could have, for example, the legislature or the voters, as the case may be, depending on whether the matter is before the legislature or on the ballot, trying to make decisions between education and roads when really we ought to be trying to work together and achieve both.
So it's very important to have someone that you know, that you can talk to on the Highway Commission, but also, and far more important, that the person do a good job.
Q: And is that why you appointed Herby Branscum?
A: It is. I was convinced that of all the people I had considered, that he would do the best job.
Q: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Mr: Guthrie: We pass the witness, Your Honor.
The Court: All right. Mr. Lassiter.
Mr. Lassiter: Thank you, Your Honor.
By Mr. Lassiter:
Q: Good afternoon, Mr. President.
A: Good afternoon, Mr. Lassiter.
Q: You know Mr. Hill who's seated over here to my right?
A: I do know him.
Q: Do you recall when you first met Mr. Hill?
A: I do not recall the exact time, but I believe it must have been sometime in the 1980s when I was up in Perry County, and I believe I met him through -- through Mr. Branscum, and certainly through some of my friends who were his friends and associates up there.
Q: And when you were in the governor's office did you regard him as a political supporter?
A: I did, yes, sir.
Q: And did he assist you in your campaigns for governor?
A: He did. He supported at least two that I know of. He supported the '86 and '90 campaigns. I'm not sure when he came back to Perry County. I know he worked for the IRS, I think, and I don't know when he did, but I know he was involved in two of those campaigns.
Q: And did you appoint him to the State Bank Board in 1987?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: And would you tell the jury, please, what the State Bank Board does?
A: The Bank Board is a board of people appointed by the governor who come from certain categories: Bankers, public members, I think there's one senior citizens' appointee on it. They work with the State Bank Department and they vote on things like whether a proposed state charter -- proposed state bank should get a new state charter; does this community need another bank; are these people properly funded; will they be able to do a good job.
They sometimes vote on whether a bank can get a branch in another place under the state laws on branching. And there may be other votes that they cast from time to time.
Now, the Bank Board is different from the Highway Commission. The Bank Board has the power to make these decisions I just mentioned upon recommendation of the director of the State Bank Department. But in our state the governor appoints the State Bank director, so he's answerable to the governor and not to the board, but the board works with the state bank director and votes on matters like this.
Q: And do you recall why you appointed Mr. Hill to that position?
A: Yes. I appointed him because, first of all, he was interested in serving and it was a board that we didn't -- oftentimes we didn't have a lot of interest in, even though it was important in the decisions it made.
He was interested in serving, he seemed to me to be plainly qualified, and he had good support. He was spoken well of, not only by Herby and the people who lived in his county, but by others who were beyond the county.
Q: And was he appointed to a five-year term? Is that correct?
A: I believe that's right.
Q: And when his term expired did you reappoint him?
A: I did reappoint him.
Q: And was that in 1991?
A: Yes, it was in '91.
Q: Now, were you aware at the time you made the reappointment that he had made campaign contributions to you in 1990?
A: I'm sure I was.
Q: And were you aware he had helped raise money through other contributors to retire your campaign debt?
A: I believe I was. At this time, looking back, it's hard for me to remember, but when people are back there, if they were aggressively working for me, I normally knew it.
Q: When you reappointed him to the Bank Board, was it because of any contributions he had made or had obtained or that Mr. Kent Dollar had made or obtained?
A: No. I mean, I was grateful for his support. I didn't think that people should be disqualified from appointment to important boards or commissions just because they'd supported the governor. That seemed to me to be just the reverse of how the democratic process ought to work. But I didn't appoint him because of that.
He was recommended to me by the State Treasurer, Jimmie Lou Fisher, who had to relate to all the bankers in the state. Marlin Jackson, our State Bank Commissioner, I've already said I had a very high regard for him. He held Rob in high esteem in terms of his fitness for this board.
So I didn't -- and he would -- not only that, he was willing to show up and go to the meetings and undertake the responsibility of this board. And as I said, I don't recall there being any pressure for anybody else for the appointment even. He enjoyed it and he was doing a good job and he was willing to serve again, so I reappointed him.
Mr. Lassiter: That's all I have, Your Honor.
Q: Good afternoon, sir. How are you?
A: Fine, Mr. Ewing. How are you?
Q: You've said during your direct testimony that you were grateful for Mr. Branscum's support over the years; is that right?
A: That's correct.
Q: And were you grateful for Mr. Hill's support over the years?
Q: Were they -- you mentioned Mr. Branscum and you went back a long time and that he helped raise funds for you in your 1974 campaign. Did he continue to help raise funds for you over all those years that you knew him?
A: He did, although I wouldn't say that was his primary role in my political life. There were those for whom that was their primary role, but he primarily helped me politically in his home county and with others around the state. But he did always raise some funds primarily in his home county and the surrounding areas because we tried to have a -- we tried to raise money in every county in the state so people would participate.
Q: Now, you were asked about a meeting -- did you recall a meeting with Mr. Kent Dollar and Mr. Rob Hill? Do you recall your saying you didn't have a specific recollection about that?
A: I do, but I -- but, as I said, I don't question that the meeting occurred. I just don't remember specifically when they -- that they came, what was discussed, but I -- I don't doubt that it did occur, based on what I've heard since then.
Q: I want to hand you what's previously been marked as Exhibits 279, 280, and 281 in this case. Now, directing your attention to Exhibit 280 and 279, does that appear to be a memorandum generated within the Governor's Office which is dated December 11, 1990?
A: Yes, sir, it does.
Q: And referring to Exhibit 280, does it appear that you actually saw that copy of the memo?
A: I believe I did, because it -- it appears, Mr. Ewing, that this is a memo to Nancy Hernreich, who was my scheduler, from Fonda Lyle, who worked with her. But the check on Nancy's initials appears to be my check, and there's a thing that says "O.K." down here, and I believe that that's my writing saying "O.K."
Q: Could you turn that exhibit toward the camera and just point out --
Q: -- where your -- is that your backwards --
A: This "O.K." and this backwards check, I'm left-handed, so it's not backwards to me, but it's the way I do checks. I believe it's mine.
Q: And the other exhibit, 279, does that appear to be another copy of that same memo, this one having red writing up in the top right-hand corner?
A: Yes. Yes, sir, it does. It does.
Q: Further, I've shown to you, sir, a copy of a page out of your appointment book, which is maintained by Ms. Hernreich, indicating an appointment at 3 p.m. on December 14 in the name of Mr. Lindsey. Do you see that?
A: I do. I do have that, yes. I see that. It has Mr. Lindsey, and then it's got a slash HO, which those are the initials of Henry Oliver, who at the time was my chief of staff.
Q: Now, concerning the memo, let's go back to the memo from Fonda Lyle to Nancy Hernreich. Sir, does it appear that you would have seen this memo at or about the time or shortly after it was written?
A: I would assume so, yes.
Q: And does it state that the topic of the memo is Bruce Lindsey with a phone number, "Requesting appointment for Rob Hill and Kent Dollar"?
A: Yes, it does.
Q: And does it reflect what the request was in the opening paragraph of this memo that you saw?
A: It says that Rob and Kent Dollar would like to meet with the governor about two matters. They have 5- or $6,000 to give the governor. That's presumably on my campaign debt. We had a campaign debt after the '90 campaign. And he wants to put in a word for Herby Branscum to be appointed to the Highway Commission.
Q: Does it reflect, "Please respond to Bruce rather than to Mr. Hill"?
A: Yes. It says, "Please respond to Bruce rather than Mr. Hill."
Q: And relative to this memo, does it reflect that there are two matters that Mr. Hill and Mr. Dollar want to see you about or have time with you about?
A: That's correct.
Q: One, to give you 5- to $6,000, and, two, to put in a word for Mr. Branscum to be appointed to the Highway Commission?
A: That's right. Not to give it to me. But they weren't giving me money; they were giving money on the campaign debt. It was not a personal gift of money.
Q: I understand that. In fact, at the end of your successful re-election in November of 1990, you had a campaign debt, did you not?
A: I did.
Q: And was the bulk of that campaign debt owed to the Perry County Bank where you had taken out a number of loans?
A: That's right. And I think we had -- I believe at that time we had two or three loans outstanding, but in the aggregate, in excess of $100,000 that we owed. I believe that's right. May not be -- maybe it was about a hundred thousand. I don't know.
Q: Had you put out the word, and I don't know how you would do this, but had you put out the word seeking people to contribute toward retiring your campaign debt?
A: You asked whether we put out the word. Let me say that my recollection is that we -- we made sure that a number of our people knew that there was a campaign debt, but I believe, you know, Mr. Branscum and Mr. Hill and Mr. Dollar probably would have known anyway because we had our accounts at the Perry County Bank, but we did ask for some help because we knew we had a few days there where we could raise some money on the debt and we paid it down as much as we could.
And then we knew under the new Arkansas Campaign Finance Law, we'd have to stop raising funds for a period of several months and then resume it, so we tried to get -- as I remember, we tried to make some effort, but it wasn't -- I don't believe we had a big event or any kind of a full-court press on it, but we tried to make some effort to raise some funds to pay down the debt.
Q: Do you recall under this new law that there was some provision that you could not raise or obtain contributions within 30 days of a special legislative session or a legislative session which was due to start on January 15?
A: Yes, I do.
A: I do recall that. There had been a concern in our state that -- and during the state legislative process that maybe lobbyists had too much influence over the legislature and that, therefore, that all state officials, including the governor, should not raise funds from a period of 30 days before the legislative session, through the session, until 30 days after. It was a new law. It was the first time I think it was ever applied, in this '91 legislative session.
Q: And so, sir, if December 14, I believe it was on a Friday, as reflected on the exhibit I just showed you, if December 14 was the last working day of the week and then December 17 was the following Monday and assuming, again, that the legislative session was due to start on January 15, was December 14 really the last day, the last working day that you all could receive funds before you had to take this hiatus?
A: Well, I think it was -- whatever the 30 days is, 31 days in December, so it would have been either the 14th or the 15th or the 16th would have been the last day that we could receive funds. But we were coming up to the deadline, and if we hadn't gotten the funds by then, then there would have had -- there would have been, I think, a four-month delay, at the least.
The legislative session has to last 60 days under the law. Normally it will last a few days longer, but at a minimum, it would have meant that they could not have given those contributions to our campaign for four months.
Q: Now, you've said you had no specific recollection of the meeting. Do you ever recall a meeting with Robert Hill at the State Capitol?
A: Let me tell you what I do remember, and maybe I can be helpful in this. You know, when you spoke with me before, when the Independent Counsel did, you asked me this and I said I didn't have any specific recollection of the meeting, and I don't.
On the other hand, I know perfectly well that Rob Hill and Kent Dollar were strongly supporting Herby Branscum and that they raised funds for me and that I was very aware of that at the time. So I went back and pulled my schedule for that day, and there was a meeting scheduled for them and with Henry Oliver's initials after it.
So I don't doubt what has been recounted in the -- that I've read in the press about this meeting occurred. I believe it occurred. I just don't remember -- I didn't have any independent recollection of it and I don't remember specifically what happened there, but I don't question the fact that it occurred. I do know that they did raise funds for me in this time period and I do know they did strongly support Herby Branscum.
Q: And were you grateful for all of those persons that were raising funds to help you retire your campaign debt?
A: I was grateful to all of them. I had to raise -- we spent about $2.5 million in that campaign. There were a lot of people involved, thousands of people involved in contributing to that effort. I was grateful to all of them and I was grateful to those who worked and didn't contribute. There were a lot of people who couldn't afford to contribute much but who got me a lot of votes. I was grateful to them as well.
Q: Let me ask you, sir, if you recall at any time receiving envelopes with checks from Mr. Hill and Mr. Dollar and your taking the checks out of the envelopes and going through them one by one as if you were trying to memorize the names?
A: No, but it wouldn't surprise me that I would do that. Frequently, if someone would hand me a list of checks, and let's say there were 10 checks in it or 15 from their home county, someone went out and raised the money, I tried to have a system, Mr. Ewing, where I actually signed thank-you letters to everybody. I personally signed, not on a signature machine, thank-you letters to people who gave me money over a relatively modest amount, and I wanted people to -- you know, I wanted to know who was doing this and I wanted to, you know, express my appreciation to them.
So it wouldn't surprise me if Mr. Hill or Mr. Dollar or anyone else, for that matter, gave me 10 or 15 checks, that I would look at it and see if I knew these people, and if I didn't know them, maybe ask who they were or whatever, but at least I would want to know. Usually I did know who was giving, and particularly if it was somebody out in the state from another county, I just wanted to know if somebody was supporting me.
Q: The memo referred to an amount in the amount of 5- to $6,000. Would your practice normally be that before you had a meeting with someone and if there was some backup to it, in other words, a memo requesting a meeting or a letter, would you normally have in addition reviewed it, looked back over it, or had somebody brief you on, "Mr. Governor," at the time, "these two people are coming in and this is what this is about"?
Q: In other words, was that your practice?
A: That was my practice. In this case I don't know whether it occurred or not, but the memo you gave me was dated on the 11th of December, and if the meeting occurred the 14th, I probably could have remembered it for three days.
So I don't know that anybody briefed me about it, but it was my normal practice that someone would actually sit in the meeting with me and they would tell me before we went into the meeting, they would remind me just what the meeting was about. That was the normal practice, about any kind of subject.
Q: Do you recall when during this time, in the December 11, 12, 13, 14 time frame, how much was contributed towards your retirement of your campaign debt?
A: I don't -- no, sir, I don't have any idea.
Q: When you would receive the checks, would you -- I take it you didn't handle the banking --
Q: -- deposits yourself?
A: No, no. I just turned -- I gave them over to the staff and they were handled in the ordinary course of business, the way we handle all contributions.
Q: Do you have any present recollection of whether or not it was 5- or $6,000 they gave you or whether it was more like 13- to $15,000?
A: No, I don't remember how much was given at that time.
Q: Let me hand you what's previously been marked as Exhibit 284, and you can take that out of the plastic envelope, Mr. President, if you would look through there just a moment.
A: Pretty good. Mr. Ewing, do you want me to look at all of this?
A: Okay. I've gone through all the ones with the blue tabs on it. Are those the ones you want me to look at?
Q: Let me just ask you, does this appear to be a record kept by the Clinton for Governor Campaign, a deposit slip along with an adding machine tape and copies of certain checks making up a deposit on December -- at least the deposit ticket is December 14, 1990?
A: Yes. This indicates that on December 14, 1990, deposits totalling $43,680 were made in the Perry County Bank in my campaign account.
Q: And did you all open an account there earlier that year for the 1990 campaign?
A: We did. We did.
Q: Let me direct -- would this be a record that your campaign kept?
A: Well, I -- yes, I assume this is my campaign record. These checks are made out to the Clinton for Governor Campaign. We were -- we were required under state law to report contributions in excess of $250 by individuals and corporations by election.
Any individual or company could give $1,500 per election, and we were required to keep records of contributions in amounts smaller than that. So you can see, for example, I think there's one $30 check here, and we had -- over the course of the campaign, we would get a large number of checks for $5, $10, $25, and every check we got, and usually when we got cash, they would make a -- I believe they would make a xerox copy.
They knew that, you know, I was not involved in any of this record keeping, but I expected the law to be strictly complied with, and this appears to be a record of deposits and xeroxes taken in compliance with the Arkansas Campaign Finance Law.
Q: And are you aware, sir, that previously, through your counsel, certain records of the campaign have been produced, such as this?
A: I am aware of that, yes.
Q: Let me direct you to Exhibit 284, and I want to direct you, if you'll turn to the first blue tab there.
Q: If we're on the same page here, is there a contribution there from Organi-Gro, Inc.?
A: There is.
Q: And what is the amount of that check?
Q: And were you familiar with Organi-Gro, Inc., of Russellville, Arkansas, Don Thone?
A: Yes, Don Thone, this was a business that he got into. Don Thone and his brother, Rick Thone, and his father, Les Thone, and their families had supported me since 1974. I knew the Thones very well. They were longtime supporters.
Q: Do you know that Mr. Kent Dollar is also from Russellville?
A: I do know that.
Q: And do you know or do you recall that Mr. Dollar actually brought -- this is one of the checks he brought to you on December 14?
A: I've already said I don't have a specific recollection of that meeting, but -- but I'm aware that Kent Dollar -- and I'll say again, I'm aware of Kent Dollar and Rob Hill supporting Herby Branscum. I'm aware that they supported me in the campaign. I'm aware that they raised funds. I do not know whether this check was one of the checks brought to me on the 14th. I don't know that because I don't remember.
Q: All right. On that same page, is there a $750 check from Tracy Hill?
A: There is.
Q: Do you know her to be Mr. Hill's daughter?
A: Yes, I'm aware that he has a daughter named Tracy. Yes.
Q: Then if you would go to the next page that's been marked with a tab, do you see a check there dated December 12 to the Clinton for Governor Campaign on the account of David L. or Jo Ellen Dunlap?
A: I do.
Q: And did you know Mr. Dunlap or Mrs. Dunlap?
A: I'm not sure I did. I don't remember them now.
Q: And, again, I take it you don't recall any specific checks you got that day?
Q: Do you remember Mr. Hill giving you that check?
A: No, I don't. He might well have done it. I just don't remember.
Q: Then the next page, do you have a check on there from the Perryville Abstract Company in --
Q: In Perryville?
Q: Did you know that Mr. -- whether or not Mr. Branscum was a part owner of that company?
A: I don't know whether I knew that or not. A lot of little towns in Arkansas, the abstract company, the lawyer in town would own a part of it, but I'm not sure that I knew that Herby owned part of that.
Q: Then the other check on that page dated December 12 in the amount of $500 to your campaign was signed Billie Jo Branscum?
Q: Do you know Mrs. Branscum?
A: I know her very well and she's been a frequent contributor of mine over the years.
Q: Then on the next page, do you see a $500 check from James S. Branscum and a $500 check from Colette Branscum?
Q: And do you know if they were related to Mr. Branscum, Herby Branscum?
A: I believe they are.
Q: Then the next page, a $500 check to your campaign from John C. Branscum and a $500 check signed by Herby Branscum, Jr.
Q: Do you know that John C. Branscum is one of Mr. Branscum's sons?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: Then the next page, a check from Elizabeth Branscum in the amount of $500. Do you know Elizabeth Branscum?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: Now, the next check on that page, do you know Linda Linn or Danny Linn of Conway?
A: I'm not sure I do.
Q: Do you know if that's a check Mr. Hill would have brought? A: I do not know since I don't know which ones he brought. I don't know.
Q: The next page, there's a $200 check from Becky Ainley and an $800 check from Neal Ainley. Do you know either Mr. or Mrs. Ainley?
A: Well, I know now that Neal Ainley was the head of Herby and -- the head of the bank in Perryville, but -- and I may have met him a time or two, but I don't believe I -- I'm not sure I ever even met Mrs. Ainley, and I don't remember meeting him, but I may have.
Q: Did you ever know him to be a supporter of yours before, financial or otherwise?
A: I don't know that he -- I'm not sure he ever contributed before the 1986 campaign. I don't know that. I mean before the 1990 campaign. I don't know one way or the other. I just don't know. I don't have enough information here on which to answer that question.
Q: Did you know he was -- or did you know then or do you know now that he was the president of the bank owned by Mr. Branscum and Mr. Hill?
A: I know now that he was, and I guess I assume I knew then. I'm not sure I did, but I'm not -- I don't know whether I knew that then. I just don't know, sir.
Q: Then the next page, do you see a $1,000 check from Perry County Oil--
A: I do.
Q: -- Incorporated signed by Harold Hill? Do you know who Harold Hill is?
A: I do.
Q: Who is that?
A: He's a relative of Rob's and a longtime supporter of mine.
Q: And then Mrs. Woodrow Hill on that same page for $1,000?
A: That's Rob's mother. I'm familiar with and I know her.
Q: The next page, do you see a $250 check from Harold Hill individually?
Q: And a $1,000 check from Shirley Hill?
Q: Do you know Ms. Shirley Hill?
A: Is that -- is that Harold's -- who is that?
Q: That's -- do you know her to be Mr. Rob Hill's wife?
A: Yes. Okay. I see. I'm sorry. I got confused about Harold Hill, about the other check. Yes, I do. I know that Shirley is Rob's wife.
Q: Then on the next --
A: And I know Harold and Mary Kay. I know who they are.
Q: Then on the next page, do you see a $1,000 check to Gov. Bill Clinton from U. S. Express dated --
Q: -- December 11, 1990, and a $500 check dated that same day from Jeff Glenn?
Q: Did you know Jeff Glenn?
Q: How did you know him?
A: I met the Glenns, met Jeff through Mr. Branscum and through my trips to Perry County.
Q: Did you know, does it appear that he also, Jeff Glenn, signed this U.S. Express check?
A: It does.
Q: And I note, sir, you have -- there's a little note there that says "acknowledgment to Jeff Glenn" on that U.S. Express check. Would that be something that somebody in the campaign, if it was a corporate-type check, would you have somebody you might want to send a note to?
A: I don't recognize this handwriting, but in our state, checks from corporations are legal, but you don't want to send a thank-you letter to a corporate name. You want to send a thank-you letter to a person, so we had to have a name. Whenever we got a business check, we wanted a name to write a thank-you letter to.
Q: Then on the next page, the second check there from Dow Dollar, and it's written on a check where Kent Dollar & Co. P.A., is crossed out. Do you know Dow Dollar?
A: I'm not sure I do. Is that a brother or a son or a relative of Kent?
Q: I can't testify, but --
A: I don't know.
Q: You know Kent Dollar --
A: I do.
Q: -- whose check that's on, or his company?
A: I do.
Q: And then Dr. Rook from Conway, did you know him, the $500 check above that?
A: I know that he's a doctor in Conway. I don't know him well.
Q: And do you know whether or not he knows Mr. Hill or Mr. Branscum?
A: I do not.
Q: Or whether that contribution came from them?
A: I do not know that.
Q: Then the next page, I believe this is the last check, a $1,000 check at the top of the page from Thone Brothers Trucking, and, again, is that the Mr. Thone you testified before?
A: Yes, I do know the Thones, and, as I said, I've known them for years and they've always supported me.
Q: Now, the total amount of this deposit ticket, let me go back to the first page of this Exhibit 284, if I could, the deposit ticket for $43,680. If there were approximately 14- to $15,000 raised for the campaign by Mr. Hill and Mr. Dollar combined, would that be roughly a little over a third of this amount that you all deposited on December 14?
A: If it were 15-, it would be a little over a third. If it were 14-, it would be a little under a third.
Q: You appointed Mr. Branscum -- do you remember the date you appointed Mr. Branscum to the Highway Commission?
A: No, sir. I just know it was sometime roughly the third week of January.
Q: Let me hand you what's been marked Exhibits 286 and 104a.
Q: On Exhibit 286, I refer you down on the Wednesday, January 23, to the time 1:15 p.m.
A: What was that -- excuse me?
Q: This is a copy of your appointment book for January 23. It's in that right-hand column there.
Q: Do you see the entry of 1:15 p.m., "Herby Branscum swearing in"?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: And the date January 23, does that appear to be the same date as his
Q: -- official paperwork appointing him to the Highway Commission?
A: It does.
Q: And did you recall attending that swearing in in the Governor's Conference Room on that date?
A: I believe I did, yes.
Q: Now, you've talked about your history with Mr. Branscum, which went back, at least in campaigns, until 1974 when you first ran for Congress; is that right?
A: That's correct.
Q: And you described, was he primarily -- in addition to the state party chairman, at times was he the Perry County chairman for your efforts?
A: Yes. He was my leader in Perry County, normally.
Q: And --
A: He worked in all my campaigns there, and, as I said, he also helped me with others around the state, other people.
Q: In determining who holds office, in addition, do you consider past works that they've had; in other words, whether it was on a prior commission or prior board or how much they've been loyal to you in campaigns? Do you take that into consideration?
A: I take all those factors into consideration. As I said, in appointing someone, you want someone who will do a good job and someone that you can relate to and work with.
Q: In addition to the fund-raising you've mentioned, you've mentioned today in passing, you all have had your bank account in 1990 at the Perry County Bank?
A: We did have it there.
Q: You have stated that Mr. Branscum, you felt like you could trust him; is that right?
A: I did.
Q: Do you feel like you could trust him not only in appointing him on the Highway Commission, but you had trusted him regarding your banking affairs, had you not, for the 1990 time period?
A: Well, my campaign opened the account at the bank there and I certainly was comfortable with the decision, but you'd have to ask Ms. Cabe or Mr. Lindsey how they made that decision, but I certainly agreed with it.
Q: Let's go -- we've talked about the meeting on December 14, 1990, and you were shown, and I don't know if you still have the exhibits up there, this memo from Craig Smith to you.
A: Yes, sir. I remember it well.
Q: And at that point, the date of that memo from Mr. Smith was December 14, and I believe your testimony was, you didn't date the date when you actually wrote on here, but it would have to be sometime between December 14 and January 23?
A: That's correct.
Q: When he was sworn in. And as you've described, there were other people that wanted this job.
A: That's right. There were.
Q: Some lived in the Second Congressional District, some lived without the district.
A: That's correct.
Q: But those -- some of the ones without the district or outside the district still wanted you to consider them because their argument was they had not been represented enough, such as Mr. Wilmuth or Mr. Hinkle.
A: That's correct.
Q: And do you recall the memo actually that's been introduced, it had Mr. Branscum listed and then it had about 14 names beside his name?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And would those be people who had either articulated orally or had written letters to you recommending Mr. Branscum?
A: That's correct.
Q: As to Mr. Gray, Mr. Pritchett, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Hinkle and Mr. Wilmuth on the introduced exhibit, 601, B-601, it doesn't have any names other than recommended by one person or recommended by themselves. Is that correct?
A: That's correct.
Q: But do you know, sir, that --
A: If I might, to be fair to them, there were -- they either were trying to float a balloon, and then if they had any chance of getting it, they could have gotten a lot of letters, or there were some, there were other people whose names got thrown in the pot and there were, at least on one of those candidates, I know they got some more letters or some more calls to me.
So that was just sort of a status as of that date, December 14, but I'm -- I don't want to make it seem like, you know, these folks had no friends. They also would have been able to get some support.
Q: Let me try to go from memory here for a minute. Do you remember getting about eight to 10 more letters recommending Rocky Wilmuth?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: Had you known Mr. Wilmuth a long time?
A: Long time.
Q: Was he a longtime supporter?
A: He was a longtime supporter. I had not known him as long as I've known Herby, but he -- he had helped me and his late father helped me during my -- many of my governor's races. I think they started supporting me in 1982. I believe that's right.
Q: And when you put at the top you needed to do some groundwork with Rocky, you didn't want to make him mad, did you?
A: Well, I knew he was going to be mad when I didn't appoint him, but I knew that we had to handle -- we had to handle this in a way that, first of all, the people from the region knew that we'd heard from them and taken their considerations into account, and, secondly, when I had to disappoint someone who had been a good supporter of mine, I like to do it personally instead of doing it through a surrogate.
Q: And, in fact, whenever you would get letters for recommending people such as this, it would be your practice, would it not, somebody would prepare a letter back to that person along the lines, "I've received your letter recommending" --
A: That's correct.
Q: -- "Mr. Branscum" -- or Mr. Wilmuth or whoever?
Q: -- "for appointment to the State Highway Commission. I will give your recommendation full consideration when filling vacancies on the board"?
A: That is the form letter we sent out whenever anyone sent us in a recommendation, because we would get, over the course of the years, you might imagine, we get thousands of such letters because of all the appointments that I had to fill. There were hundreds of appointments. So we just -- that's the letter that we just routinely sent out through the mail.
Q: Do you also -- we've mentioned there were six names on this initial memo, and I believe you said you recall there were about three other names that popped up.
A: I just remember that there were -- it seems to me that I remember that there were some other people whose names who were either asked to be considered, whose names got thrown in the hopper, and I don't remember how many there were. Two, three, four. Just seems like there were some more names out there.
Q: Do you remember that Mary Ann Salmon, her name got recommended to you by four or five people?
A: Yes, and I know her very well, of course, and she worked for me in the Governor's Office and still does some work for me in my office in Arkansas.
Q: Where was she from?
A: North Little Rock.
Q: So she was from the Second Congressional District?
A: That's right. She was qualified to serve.
Q: And do you remember, in other words, you've said the highway commissioner is a -- would you call that a plum appointment?
A: It's a plum appointment, but it's also a very large responsibility.
Q: And it's a 10-year appointment?
A: It is.
Q: Do you know, as you sit here today, how much Ms. Salmon or Mr. Wilmuth or Mr. Hinkle, any of them, would have raised in the '90 campaign or in retiring your debt?
A: No, but I know that the Wilmuths had -- and Mary Ann Salmon and her family had raised and given quite a lot of money over a long period of time, and they were successful people, they'd done well, and they were supportive of me and they were quite generous.
I know that Jim Hinkle had supported me and had given funds but that most of the work he did for me -- he'd even flown me around some, as I remember. I think he's a pilot and I believe he flew me around a little bit, but he supported me in a political way. He was more like Herby in that sense. He worked for me and tried to help me get votes, primarily.
Q: Now, you've said you get hundreds of letters recommending people for boards; is that right?
A: Over the course of a year, sure. And there are lots of different boards and commissions. That's why we send out those form letters.
Q: Let me -- do you know Richard Tiago, the mayor, who was the mayor of Perryville in 1990?
A: I knew Richard when he was mayor. I did, yes.
Q: And I don't know if we've mentioned it. There's a $250 check that he gave in December of '90.
Q: Did you know that Mr. Hill told him, "We're taking money down to Governor Clinton because we want to make Herby look good for the highway commissioner's job?"
A: Did I know that the mayor said that Rob said that to him? Is that --
Q: Correct. Correct.
A: No, I didn't know that.
Q: Have you -- in making appointments, have you ever authorized anyone to go out and say to anybody, if you raise such and such amount of money, I'll appoint that person?
A: Absolutely not. But that's not the question you asked me. The previous question didn't imply that anyone said that.
Q: When you receive campaign contributions, do you check to find out what the source of the funds were?
A: Well, first of all, I don't check anything as a candidate. I didn't as governor as a candidate, but I had -- we had an operation which basically processed the checks and the cash, and we, unless -- we assumed that they were accurate and we sent thank-you letters out after them unless there was some reason to believe they weren't.
Now, whether in any of our campaigns they had some reason to believe they shouldn't have taken contributions and some were sent back or whatever, you'd have to ask the people who worked in the campaign. Of course, Mr. Lindsey, you can ask him.
Q: Another -- let me put it in another way. When you as a candidate receive a check from a contributor, besides merely taking the check, do you go beyond that to see where they got the funds to back up the check that they're writing you?
A: First of all, the proper person to ask on the '90 campaign would be Mr. Lindsey, who is the treasurer, but the general answer would be, if we have a check and it clears the bank and we send a thank-you letter and nobody calls and says, "Hey, we didn't give that money," we assume that the people who gave the contribution intended to write the check and, in effect, gave the money.
We had -- there would be no basis for concluding otherwise. We get thousands and thousands of contributions in the course of a campaign when you raise $2.5 million. So the answer to that is, unless there's some reason to believe otherwise, no.
Q: In other words, you assume that they're giving it to you and the funds are legitimate?
Q: Have you ever told Mr. Hill or Mr. Branscum or Mr. Dollar, for that matter, that if they gave a contribution, you would consider them in a more favorable light for an appointment?
A: Absolutely not. Never.
Q: Let me go to Mr. Hill for a moment. You talked about appointing Mr. Hill to the Bank Board. Let me hand you what's been marked previously as Exhibit 103a.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Exhibit 103a, which has previously been introduced, at the top there are two actual appointments on this piece of paper. Let me direct your attention to the top one dated February 20, 1987, and did you appoint Mr. Hill to the State Bank Board to replace Dr. Ralph Ratton in early 1987?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: And how long was his term supposed to run, according to this appointment certificate?
A: Let me see. Does it say? It says the term expires on December 31, 1991.
Q: And then again, on the bottom part of that sheet, was Mr. Hill reappointed in December 1991 to the State Banking Board for the term that expired December 31 of '96?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: I believe you testified on direct that Mr. Hill enjoyed good support and was spoken well of by Mr. Branscum and others.
A: That's correct.
Q: Did Mr. Branscum recommend Mr. Hill to be appointed to the State Bank Board in 1987?
A: You know, I don't have a specific recollection of it, but I'm sure he did. I mean, it would be surprising to me if he hadn't. I'm sure he must have recommended him. But besides that, let me say what our system was like. When someone was nominated from a given county, in this case, Rob Hill also lived in Perry County, we would call out in the state, on our own initiative, my leadership in the county and ask them whether they would support the nomination of a certain person to a certain board.
So they didn't control our decisions, but I always checked with my county organizations to see how they felt. So I'm sure that we checked with Herby, and if he didn't initiate contact with me, we would have checked with him anyway before we made the appointment.
Q: Let me direct your attention to October of 1986, which was a few months before Mr. Hill's initial appointment to the Bank Board. Do you recall Mr. Branscum arranging for you to pick up Mr. Hill and receive contributions from Mr. Hill and his friends at a time when Mr. Hill wanted to be appointed to the Bank Board?
A: I don't recall. It wouldn't surprise me if Herby arranged for me to meet with Rob and it wouldn't surprise me if they were supporting me. Herby was a big supporter of mine. Rob supported me. It wouldn't surprise me if they did. It was in the middle of an election.
Nearly every time -- let me just say this: I didn't get to go to Perry County very often. It was one of the smallest counties in the state. The counties that were nearby I didn't get to visit all that often, and Morrilton, for example, in Conway County, and a month before the election, we would have been out there trying to raise funds in all the counties in the state trying to make sure we had the funds necessary for the closing days of the election.
So it wouldn't surprise me if every place I went, that anybody talked to me about anything. The people who were trying to help me in those counties were giving me contributions along toward the end of the campaign when you're spending most of your money. So that would be a logical thing to do, but I don't have any independent recollection of it.
Q: I want to hand you what's been marked Exhibit 623.
A: Oh, this -- may I comment on this?
Mr. Guthrie: Your Honor, may I have this witness on voir dire?
The Court: You may.
Voir Dire Examination By Mr. Guthrie:
Q: Mr. President, the exhibit that's been placed in front of you, Government's Exhibit 623, do you have any recollection of ever having seen this?
A: No, sir, I don't. Doesn't have my mark on it. It's got an MAS here, which stands for Mary Ann Salmon, and it appears to me to be in Betsey Wright's handwriting.
Q: Do you have any --
A: So this is a copy of the memo. I don't know whether I ever saw it or not, but there's -- this one in particular doesn't have any markings from me on it.
Continued Cross-examination By Mr. Ewing:
Q: I've handed you what's been marked as Exhibit 623. Does that appear to be a document directed to the Governor on October 6, 1986?
A: Yes, sir, it does. It appears to be a document directed to me from Betsey Wright, my chief of staff, about Rob Hill.
Q: And you were the governor on that date?
Q: And who was -- what was Mary Ann Salmon's function at that point?
A: Mary Ann Salmon was -- frankly, on this date, I don't remember. I don't remember whether -- but I believe that -- let me just say, all the people in our Governor's Office -- let me back up.
In the Governor's Office, there were people who had responsibility for covering all the counties in the state as well as for being liaisons to various boards and commissions. So I would assume from reading this that Mary Ann Salmon, part of her responsibilities was to relate to Perry County and anything that was happening there. That's what I would assume, but I'm not positive of that.
Q: From time to time in the regular course of business while you were the governor and Betsey Wright was your chief of staff, would she send you typewritten memos?
A: Yes, sir, she would.
Q: In this format?
A: She would.
Q: And does the document we've handed you, does that appear to be a copy, some sort of yellow or buff-colored -- a copy of an original?
A: Yes, it does.
Q: Have you through your counsel previously, to your knowledge, produced this document as a record kept in the ordinary course of business at the Governor's Office?
A: I don't know the answer to that, but I'm assuming we did. This says -- I'm just assuming we did do that.
Q: On this copy of this document, do you see the initials DEK, 511656?
A: Yes, sir, I do.
Q: And is your attorney David E. Kendall?
Q: And have you previously personally and your -- the Governor's Office received subpoenas to produce certain documents kept in the ordinary course of business?
A: Yes, sir, we have.
Q: In the ordinary course of business of the Governor's Office?
A: Yes, we have.
Q: Based on that, does this appear to be a copy of a memorandum kept in the ordinary course of business in your Governor's Office?
A: Yes, sir, it does.
Mr. Ewing: I would move the admission of Exhibit 623.
Mr. Guthrie: No objection, your Honor.
The Court: Mr. Lassiter?
Mr. Lassiter: No objection.
The Court: All right. It's received.
By Mr. Ewing:
Q: Now, I direct your attention to this document dated October 6, 1986, and could you read the first paragraph?
A: "Herbie and I have arranged for you to pick Rob Hill up at his office on the way to the Perry County rally. Rob and his friends have put together some contributions which they are going to give you then."
Q: And when it says "Herbie and I," would you assume that the "I" is Betsey Wright?
A: Yes, that's correct.
Q: Would you assume the "Herbie" is Herby Branscum?
Q: And the Perry County rally, that's the county Mr. Hill and Mr. Branscum are from?
A: That's right.
Q: And then the second paragraph?
A: "As a reminder, Rob wants to be considered for Ralph Ratton's position on the State Bank Board," which means, I guess, that prior to this time, he had put his name into the hopper for consideration for the Bank Board.
Q: And we know from the exhibit you just looked at, your initial appointment of Mr. Hill to the State Bank Board in early '87 actually says he was replacing Dr. Ralph Ratton; is that correct?
A: That's correct. That was three months after.
Q: Let me show you what we've marked as Exhibit 624. If we could -- let me hand you what's been marked as Exhibit 624, and I would direct your attention to the right-hand, down at the right-hand bottom column, Sunday, October 12, 1986. First of all, does this appear to be a page out of the appointment book similar to what we've shown you before?
A: It does. It appears to be a page out of Nancy Hernreich's appointment book. It's her handwriting.
Q: And the entry for October 12, does that say "Perry County, 1:30?"
A: It does.
Q: Do you recall, sir, after looking at the memo, Exhibit 623, and this, actually going out to Perry County and meeting with Mr. Hill and attending a rally out there?
A: Mr. Ewing, it was 10 years ago and I honestly don't, but I don't have any reason to doubt that I did. I mean, I nearly always -- I probably always went there at some point during every election campaign I ever ran, and I did meet with Rob Hill before I -- before the end of the election, and he was helping me in -- I think I did, in the sense that he was helping me in Perry County in 1986. So I have no reason to doubt that this happened.
Q: You reappointed Mr. Hill and I believe you testified -- to your knowledge, was Mr. Hill, did he continue to support you both politically, financially as far as contributions are concerned?
A: That's right.
Q: I take it you continued to remain grateful to anybody that supported you?
A: I did.
Mr. Ewing: Your Honor, we have no further questions of the President. Thank you, Mr. President.
The Witness: Thank you, Mr. Ewing.
The Court: Mr. Guthrie?
Redirect Examination By Mr. Guthrie:
Q: Mr. President, I believe you've already told the jury that you raised about two and a half million dollars in the 1990 campaign; is that correct?
A: Yes, sir, that was, you know, was a tough campaign. I had a tough primary, and an extremely well-financed opponent in the general election, so we spent a lot of money.
Q: Do you recall how much you had to raise in the 1986 campaign?
A: I don't. It's a matter of public record, but I'm sure it was well over a million dollars. Probably much more than a million dollars, because we had a primary, although it was not a difficult one, we had a primary, and then Governor White and I ran against each other in '86 and it was a tough general election.
Q: Was it unusual, Mr. President, for people to give you campaign contributions in person?
A: No, sir. A lot of people just mail their contributions in, or maybe they -- if we had a big fund-raiser, they would give them to the people who were running the fund-raiser. But when we try to raise money, county by county, and I thought it was important to try to raise some funds in every county in the state, it was usual that when the governor finally got around to coming to your county in the campaign, that you'd be given the funds that had been raised.
That happened very frequently, and a lot -- in fairness, a lot of these folks, particularly people who lived in small towns in rural areas, wanted to make sure they weren't overlooked and wanted to make sure that the governor knew they were helping them.
Q: Let me ask you, Mr. President, was it unusual for you to appoint people to boards who had made campaign contributions to you?
A: No, sir, it was -- it was usual, but I can also tell you there were lots of times when I appointed people who hadn't contributed, and there were many times when I appointed someone and therefore did not appoint someone else who had given far more money. That happened quite frequently.
You know, in our system these campaigns are expensive and not publicly financed. If you're not independently wealthy, you have to go raise the money. I think it's an act of good citizenship for people to get involved and to do that sort of thing. What is not permissible is to promise any official act or to attempt to get any official act in return for a contribution, and that didn't happen in this case, and people that helped me didn't do that.
Q: Thank you, Mr. President.
Mr. Guthrie: Nothing further, Your Honor.
The Court: Mr. Lassiter?
Further redirect examination by Mr. Lassiter:
Q: Mr. President, you have Government's Exhibit 623 next to you. That's the 1986 Betsey Wright memo.
A: Excuse me, Mr. Lassiter, I'll have to look and see. What's the number on it?
A: 623, yes, sir. I do.
Q: That memo is in two paragraphs; is that correct?
A: That's right.
Q: And does it appear that that second paragraph is Betsey Wright's reminder to you?
A: Yes, sir, it says --
Mr. Lassiter: That's all I have, Your Honor.
The Court: Mr. Ewing?
Mr. Ewing: We have no further questions, Your Honor.
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