Heavy Debt At The DNC (TIME, 5/12/97)
DNC To Resist House Subpoenas
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 12) -- The Democratic National Committee will begin to resist automatic compliance on "wild goose chase" subpoenas issued by the House committee investigating campaign fund-raising, DNC general chairman Roy Romer told reporters on Thursday.
"If there is something legitimate that we feel has not been produced, we'll produce it," Romer said. "But if it's a wild goose chase, we'll resist it."
Romer, who is also Colorado's governor, accused Rep. Dan Burton's House Government Reform and Oversight Committee investigation of engaging in a "deliberate strategy to try to break" the Democratic party financially. So far, he said, the debt-ridden DNC has spent $11.3 million complying with document requests from the multiple fund-raising investigations.
"Obviously, we have got to comply with what the law requires us to, and we're going to do that," Romer said. "But I'm trying to tell you that there was a strategic political campaign on the part of the Republican leadership of Congress to drain our coffers and preoccupy us, and we've got to stiffen against that. And we're going to do it legally, but we're going to do it."
Remaining party resources will now be concentrated on the 1998 midterm congressional elections. "It would just be irresponsible for us to continue to let them use these hearings ... [to] keep us off the playing field in '98," Romer argued.
House committee spokesman Will Dwyer charged that Romer was setting "a bad example for America."
Dwyer complained that the DNC has yet to respond to many subpoenas already issued. "We believe we've covered what we'd like to. Now we'd like the documents produced. ... Some are months overdue," he said.
Romer said the new policy extended only to the House committee. All requests from the Justice Department would be honored quickly. "The Justice Department subpoenas are in a different category," he said. "We are scrupulous in the way we're going to respond to them because it's an appropriate inquiry."
Full cooperation would also be granted to Sen. Fred Thompson's committee, which is also investigating allegations of campaign-finance irregularities, said Romer.
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