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Did Lindsey Try To Mislead On Riady Contacts?

By Bob Franken/CNN

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WASHINGTON (Nov. 19) -- Investigators are poring over Commerce Department telephone logs that list outgoing calls from John Huang, the principal figure in the Democratic overseas fund-raising flap. But there is also new attention focused on another man, Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey, who has once again placed himself in the middle of a White House trouble spot.

Lindsey, President Bill Clinton's longtime aide and confidante, is traveling with the president on his journey to Australia and the Far East. But he left behind many questions about his role in the possibly misleading handling of an important development in the Democratic National Committee money controversy before the election.

It was Lindsey, White House insiders confirm, who insisted on depicting meetings between Clinton and Indonesian billionaire James Riady as purely social calls. Huang once worked for Riady at the Lippo bank, and is under scrutiny for his ongoing connections to Lippo while employed at the Commerce Department.

Mark Fabiani, who had long been the point man on various ethics matters in the White House, argued against Lindsey's characterization of the Riady meetings. Fabiani recently left his job at the White House, a departure long planned. He had no comment.



fund raising triangle


It was only after the election that press secretary Mike McCurry and others acknowledged the meetings were much more substantive than mere social calls, and included discussions of administration policy toward Asia.

Lindsey himself has made no comment. But his handling of the Riady meetings story is just one part of White House efforts to stem the DNC money controversy.

For instance, on Oct. 25, eleven days before the election, the Commerce Department collected information on outgoing telephone calls placed by Huang while he was employed there. Investigators will use the phone logs to determine whether Huang broke the law by raising party funds while working for the government.

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But the logs were not released until last week, after President Clinton was safely re-elected.

The logs list numerous calls Huang made to Stephens Inc., a huge Little Rock investment firm which had extensive business dealings the Lippo Group, and several to the Little Rock law firm of Wright, Lindsey and Jennings, Lindsey's former law firm.

The Commerce Department press secretary told CNN the delay in producing the logs happened because the document request was so massive. Republicans responded by saying the delays are merely standard operating procedure for the Clinton Administration.

This story originally appeared on CNN's "Inside Politics."


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