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Republicans Escalate White House Fund-Raising Probe

Burton

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 11) -- With Congress stepping up its probe of President Clinton's fund-raising, the White House confronts increasing pressure to hand over documents.

"If we don't get those documents we will move a contempt citation probably next week," Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) said on ABC's "This Week."

He's referring to White House counsel Charles Ruff, who has withheld documents relating to John Huang and other figures in the Clinton fund-raising scandal. Burton's committee is investigating alleged illegal campaign contributions from overseas.

ruff

The White House says it wants safeguards against leaks of sensitive material, and Democrats accuse Burton of playing politics.

"I think what's happening is that Chairman Burton is looking for a fight with the White House in order to get some attention, some grandstanding to try and give his investigation the legitimacy that it does not deserve," Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said.

Congressional demands for documents come amid increasing pressure from Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who launched a new attack on White House resistance Saturday.

gingrich

Right away, Republicans picked up on the message. "It undermines the process of law in America when the president fails to cooperate," House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"The Clinton Administration ought to quit playing games with the law," Gingrich added.

Democrats are striking back. They want a subpoena of documents from former GOP Chairman Haley Barbour about a loan guarantee his policy study group got from a Hong Kong company that resulted in overseas money going to Republicans.

"I'm really shocked by what I have seen," DNC Chairman Roy Romer said on CNN's "Late Edition."

Barbour says he's happy to cooperate. And his successor, RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson, pledged that on Monday he will have the files "delivered to the attorney general ... and the chairmen of the senate and house investigating committee." Not surprisingly, he accused Democrats of more serious transgressions.

Each party says the other is the bigger violator of campaign fund-raising laws. At this point, the dispute shows every sign of escalating and none of disappearing.


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