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Clinton Raises Some More Cash

Lieberman says White House was at the center of the campaign finance mess in 1996

campaign funds

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Aug. 13) -- Like a human vacuum cleaner, President Bill Clinton sucked up another $550,000 for his party on Tuesday at two fund-raisers, telling Democrats they have to keep pace with the Republicans.

"It's OK if they have more, but you have to have enough," Clinton said.

The president raised $250,000 at a Democratic Business Council fund-raiser in St. Louis, then zipped back to Washington in time to give the after-dinner speech at a $300,000 event organized by Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer.

Before Clinton arrived at the Washington event, Cabinet and White House officials gave brief policy briefings to 21 mayors and their supporters, who paid at least $1,000 to attend.

"You have to have enough to get your message out," Clinton said. "You have to have enough to be able to answer if attacked in a way you consider to be unfair or inaccurate."

Clinton has maintained an aggressive fund-raising schedule this spring and summer, trying to help the Democratic National Committee (DNC) erase $16 million in debts. Just last week, Clinton raised $650,000 in one night at two D.C. fund-raisers in the same hotel.

He has been accused of hypocrisy because he has continued to call for campaign finance reform even as he raises large, unregulated contributions of so-called "soft money."

Lieberman says campaign finance system 'collapsed'

Meanwhile, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Democratic member of Senate panel investigating campaign fund-raising abuses, says the Clinton Administration was "at the center" of a collapse of the campaign finance system last year.


In an interview with Reuters this week, Lieberman said he reached the conclusion after four weeks of hearings by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. The hearings are due to resume Sept. 2.

"In 1996, the system of limits to campaign contributions and full disclosure collapsed. That was true of both parties," the Connecticut Democrat said. "In that sense, the Democratic administration was part of that breakdown, was at the center of that breakdown."

From the testimony he has heard so far, Lieberman said he cannot conclude yet that there was any organized plan to inject overseas money into the U.S. elections.

"We don't have enough evidence that there was a systematic plot to bring foreign money into the system but I have some suspicions based on the evidence," he told Reuters.

Like Republican members on the panel, Lieberman expressed concern about the failure of the White House and the DNC to produce documents the committee needs in a timely fashion.

Last week, the DNC produced 4,000 pages of documents from the files of former party finance director Richard Sullivan, weeks after he had testified.

"These things raise our suspicions. I hear the denials. If it is an oversight, it's a troubling oversight. But I'm not encouraged by the cooperation we've been getting from the White House and the DNC," Lieberman told Reuters.

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