Clinton Ok'd Using Lincoln Bedroom For Contributors -- Feb. 25, 1997
Clinton's Re-election Road Paved With Money -- Feb. 24, 1997
Lincoln Bedroom Guests Gave $5.4 Million
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 26) -- President Bill Clinton's guests in the Lincoln Bedroom gave a total of at least $5.4 million to the Democratic National Committee during 1995 and 1996, according to a study for CNN by the Campaign Study Group.
Among the biggest donors were investor Dirk Ziff, who gave $411,000; movie producer Steven Spielberg, $336,000; retired businessman William Rollnick, $235,000; and Hollywood mogul Lew Wasserman, $225,000.
The CNN study found 24 overnight White House guests who gave $100,000 or more to the DNC. CNN's $5.4 million figure does not include money given to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, or any state party committees.
On Tuesday, the Clinton White House released the names of 800-plus people who stayed overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom, and the president defended the practice of inviting friends and supporters to stay overnight. The White House also released several hundred pages of documents, some with his handwritten notes from Clinton enthusiastically supporting the idea.
But Republicans accuse the president of using the White House to raise campaign funds and want an independent prosecutor named to investigate the fund-raising.
At a press conference today with Chilean president Eduardo Frei, Clinton was asked again about the fund-raising and again defended himself.
"We got strict advice about -- legal advice -- about what the rules were and everyone involved knew what the rules were," Clinton said.
"Did we hope that the people that came there would support me, particularly after we got into a political season? Of course we did.
"But there was no solicitation during the events and the guidelines, which I believe were made available to you also yesterday in the documents, made it clear that there was to be no price tags on these events," Clinton said.
Asked about the dollar figures that staff members attached to some of the White House coffees, Clinton said they were only projections.
"That's how much they hoped would come out of their endeavors after their coffees were over," Clinton said. "And I think if you will ask them, you'll find out that sometimes they did, and sometimes they didn't."
Republicans aren't buying the president's explanations.
Rep. David McIntosh (R-Ind.), a member of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, said the president's hand-written notes are significant.
"It changes it dramatically," McIntosh told CNN. "We now know why the White House has been stalling and keeping a lot of this secret. The president himself was personally involved in authorizing the use of the Lincoln Bedroom... for fund-raising purposes.
"Very clearly, it is wrong to use government property, government assets for political purposes," McIntosh said. "You can't use the taxpayers' funds to help you raise money for your political campaigns. Those are two different functions."
McIntosh, a former aide to Vice President Dan Quayle, said that "nothing of this magnitude ever happened in the Bush Administration. First of all, George Bush wouldn't have asked if it could happen, and then folks around him would have said, 'No, that's not appropriate.'"
In other developments:
CNN's Brooks Jackson contributed to this report.
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