GOP Steered Donations To Independent Groups
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct 23) -- The Republican National Committee steered over $1 million from major GOP donors to independent groups just before the 1996 elections, The Washington Post reported today.
The finding came as Senate investigators reviewed documents turned over by the campaign of former Sen. Bob Dole, which showed large checks were collected at the RNC and then distributed to GOP-friendly groups including the National Right to Life Committee, Americans for Tax Reform and the American Defense Institute.
Checks of up to $150,000 from some of the GOP's biggest donors were made out to these groups, but collected and distributed by top RNC officials, including former RNC chairman Haley Barbour.
It's new fodder for Democrats' "everybody does it" arguments, as Republicans have been highly critical of former Clinton aide Harold Ickes, who, according to sworn testimony, discussed steering a large donation to non-profit groups friendly to Democrats.
By law, the national parties can both donate and solicit funds for outside groups if they don't coordinate their political activities. In contrast to the parties, such groups don't have to disclose how they spend the money, and if the group is a non-profit, the donation is tax-exempt.
RNC spokesman Clifford May told the Post, "These are independent organizations, and we had no input into how this money was spent."
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