GOP candidates jump on Gore ties to Russia
By Bernard Shaw/CNN
August 30, 1999
Web posted at: 5:28 p.m. EDT (2128 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One of Vice President Al Gore's main selling points as he seeks the presidency in 2000, -- his experience with international affairs -- may become a liability.
U.S. investigators say up to $10 billion has effectively been stolen by Russia's elites and laundered through the Bank of New York. The money allegedly includes diverted international aid. Republican presidential candidates are attempting to lay some of the blame on Gore, pointing out that he supported International Monetary Fund loans to bail out Russia's ailing economy even as aid money was reportedly being stolen. GOP candidates also note his close ties to former Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin, with whom Gore has led a commission on bilateral relations.
The White House says Gore only heard about the money laundering investigation last week, long after he pushed for more aid.
Steve Forbes is attacking that explanation in a radio ad running Monday through Friday in upstate New York.
"Vice President Gore co-chairs the commission which oversees U.S.-Russia relations, but his aides say he was out of the loop. That's why Steve Forbes is fighting for change: immediately block all foreign aid to Russia until their workers are paid and root out the corruption of Russia's robber barons," the ad states.
In a statement last week, GOP presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole said: "Vice President Gore has failed in his only major foreign policy effort."
George W. Bush's aides say the vice president should have been more aware of the level of corruption in Moscow. Bush, currently the governor of Texas, is leading in the polls for the 2000 GOP presidential nomination.
Gore's advisors say that's unfair, noting that the vice president has long supported tying international aid to Russia to both economic reform and anti-corruption initiatives.