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Democratic fundraiser does double duty on Gore and Clinton campaigns

By Beth Fouhy/CNN

September 6, 1999
Web posted at: 1:37 p.m. EDT (1737 GMT)

WASHINGTON -- Democratic fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe is back in the spotlight, raising $150,000 last Thursday in his home town of Syracuse for Hillary Rodham Clinton's likely New York Senate campaign. He's also raising funds for Vice President Al Gore's presidential run. And he just put up $1.3 million of his own money so President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton can buy their new home in Chappaqua, New York.

McAuliffe and the Clintons
Terry McAuliffe raised $150,000 last Thursday for the first lady's likely Senate bid  

Gore has called McAuliffe "the greatest fund-raiser in the history of the universe," and his resume matches the hype. McAuliffe got into politics 20 years ago, during the 1980 presidential campaign, just as both parties were learning how to exploit the soft money loophole in the post-Watergate campaign finance reforms.

In 1986, McAuliffe was chief fund-raiser for then-Rep. Tony Coehlo's Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Two years later, he ran the fund-raising operation for House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt's failed presidential bid. Then in the 1990s, he raised vast amounts of money for the party and for both Clinton-Gore campaigns -- $50 million in 1996 alone.

Clinton's house
Financial aid from McAuliffe is helping the Clintons buy this New York home  

His techniques are legendary. McAuliffe once wrestled a 280-pound alligator to collect $15,000 from Florida's Seminole Indian tribe.

But he also played a role in the biggest money-raising controversies of the decade. Rewarding 1996 campaign donors with a night in the Lincoln Bedroom was his idea, as were the White House coffee klatches with the president. McAuliffe's been investigated and cleared for an alleged money swap with the AFL-CIO and for a deal involving a failed casino.

Stung by the hostile investigations, McAuliffe went underground, making news just once by raising money for Clinton's legal defense fund to settle the Paula Jones lawsuit.

McAuliffe
McAuliffe was in charge of fundraising for Rep. Dick Gephardt's failed 1988 presidential bid  

Now he's back, working with his old friend and former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Harold Ickes on the first lady's likely Senate bid, and his old mentor Tony Coehlo on Al Gore's presidential run.

A lot of Democrats owe McAuliffe, but none more than the president. Besides the two campaigns, the Paula Jones settlement and the Clintons' new home, McAuliffe is also trying to raise $100 million for the Clinton library and $15 million for the White House's millennium bash on New Year's Eve.


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Monday, September 6, 1999






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