Army: No Misuse Of Arlington Plots
Says no 'exceptions' for Democratic donors on who gets top military cemetery spots
By Chris Plante/CNN
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Nov. 20) -- The U.S. Army Wednesday flatly denied allegations that the Clinton White House has been granting "exceptions" to political donors, allowing them burial plots at Arlington National Cemetery.
The allegations surfaced in the conservative magazine Insight, due out December 8th. Insight is published by the Washington Times. The article, entitled "Is Nothing Sacred?" contends, "Burial plots in national cemeteries, including Arlington, allegedly have been bought by fat-cat donors to Clinton's reelection committee and the DNC [Democratic National Committee] who aren't even veterans."
Presidential counsel Lanny Davis responded in a statement, "The report making these allegations is scurrilous and untrue. It is based on anonymous sources and innuendo, not the facts."
Davis said that the president has granted four exceptions for individuals who have been buried at Arlington National Cemetery since January 1993. He called each of them "fully justified."
Of these four instances, one was for a Supreme Court justice; a second was for the wife of another Supreme Court justice; a third was for an active-duty Drug Enforcement Agency agent who had served in the Army and who was killed while on a mission in Peru; and the fourth was for an active-duty Washington, D.C., police officer killed in the line of duty who had previously served in the Marines, according to the statement.
At an informal briefing with reporters, Davis said, "The nature of journalism in the [Insight] article is beneath contempt," and added that the article "should not be taken seriously by any serious journalist."
The Army controls Arlington National Cemetery, with other national war cemeteries controlled by the Department of Veterans' Affairs. The Army could not address plots in other national cemeteries.
The Army says that while 61 exceptions have been made at Arlington since Clinton took office, the president signed off on only three. The rest were approved by the Office of the Secretary of the Army.
The Army statement says, "The majority of exceptions granted were to allow for family members to be buried in the same gravesite with their eligible family member. Granting these exceptions did not preclude any eligible servicemember's internment."
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Thursday Nov. 20, 1997
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