New Documents Show White House's Desire For Campaign Money
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 2) -- No smoking gun is buried amidst the hundreds of pages of documents related to Democratic fund-raising activities released today by the White House, but the papers do paint a picture of a Clinton Administration overwhelmingly focused on money.
The 800 pages of documents came from the files of former presidential aide Harold Ickes and were turned over earlier this year to a congressional committee. An earlier round of Ickes' papers were made public last month.
Included in the memos was a schedule of fund-raising goals that shows that President Bill Clinton was expected to bring in $50.2 million in 1996 through his attendance at events both inside and outside the White House.
Vice President Al Gore was expected to raise $10.8 million with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton raising $5 million.
"The fund-raising needs for the DNC will require a very substantial commitment of time from the President, the Vice President, the First Lady and Mrs. Gore," Ickes wrote in one memo sent to Clinton and Gore.
Also found in the documents are numerous references to the constant concern of White House staffers over the projected cash-flow problem of the Democratic National Committee.
One memo reads, "The DNC will have no cash on hand, a $7 million bank debt, and approximately $1.5 to $2.0 million in obligations. Not a particularly satisfying situation." The author of this document is unknown.
The series of documents also indicate a high level of presidential involvement in all of these fund-raising efforts. President Clinton's handwriting appears on a number of documents with notes urging follow-up on ideas he supported.
In response to one letter from Ickes expressing concern over DNC funds, Clinton suggested a direct mail campaign with a different message. "I think we can do better w/mail if we have the right message ... including the federal $ prob," Clinton wrote.
"Ugh," was the president written reaction to an October 1996 memo detailing the DNC's debts.
Different ethnic groups were also targeted in the Democratic strategy. Mentioned specifically for solicitation were Americans of Asian, Jewish, Greek and American-Indian descent.
A surprisingly high number of people were copied on many of the internal memos. Not only was the president included in the correspondence but all top White House staff such as then-White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and Vice President Al Gore's chief of staff.
White House Special Counsel Lanny Davis says the White House has more documents that Ickes did not take with him, since they were considered White House property. "There are certainly other documents that Mr. Ickes generated while he was at the White House that haven't been requested yet, or weren't requested of Harold, which we are preparing to submit to the congressional committees on their request," Davis said.
The documents released so far were ones Ickes took with him, that Ickes considered his personal property and that a House committee had asked for. Not released were documents that Ickes' lawyer claims were not covered in the House committee's request. Also missing were documents the DNC felt should be considered confidential. They covered internal party dealings.
CNN's Claire Shipman and Kevin Bohn contributed report.
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