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E-mail From Washington

From: Bob Franken/CNN
In: Washington
Posted 8-11-97

Subject: Chung Contributed To Group Set Up To Counter Whitewater Charges

CNN confirms from White House sources that Johnnie Chung, a significant figure in the fund-raising investigation, contributed to the group set up to counter Whitewater charges against Bill and Hillary Clinton.

At the request of Lynn Cutler, who at the time was running the "Back to Business" committee, Chung contributed $25,000 and Cutler arranged a meeting for him with a second Commerce Department official.

Until now this donation had been kept secret, but a White House lawyer commented on the Commerce meeting by saying, "It was perfectly appropriate for Ms. Cutler to facilitate a meeting for Mr. Chung" with an appropriate official at the Department of Commerce.

The attorney also stated, "All departments regularily receive and grant requests from private citizens to meet with officials regarding programs, projects and policies, and other matters as part of routine ongoing activities. Ms. Cutler's efforts were completely consistent with this common agency practice."

The White House lawyer also pointed out that "The Back to Business Committee was a private organization established to educate the public on the president, first lady and administration accomplishments. During the course of the committee's work the White House and the committee were in frequent contact because we recognize the valuable role the committee was playing. "We thought and continue to think it was entirely appropriate to work with the committee."

Chung has surfaced in the moneytrail investigation as the man who handed $50,000 to Margaret Williams, the first lady's chief of staff, which was then handed over the the Democratic National Committee.

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