Heading Logo

Phone records confirm Clinton called donors

By John SolomonAssociated Press Published: October 24, 1997 12:00 AM

In addition, presidential aides have found long-distance billing records for calls to six donors from the private living quarters in 1994 on the same day Clinton had been asked to solicit them for money.

The fresh evidence emerges as the Justice Department is reviewing whether to appoint an independent counsel to determine if any fund-raising calls made by Clinton or Vice President Al Gore violated a federal ban on political solicitations in government buildings.

An Oct. 30, 1995, memo obtained by The Associated Press shows Clinton had been asked to call a group of New York fund-raisers the next morning who were organizing a major fund-raiser for his re-election campaign.

[Article continues below]

"New York has the potential to raise more money than any other city in this country and the hard work of the co-chairs for the next six days is critical to achieving that," Clinton-Gore fund-raiser Terence McAuliffe wrote in a memo stamped "the president has seen."

The memo stated the purpose of the president's call was to "thank the New York co-chairs for their efforts and ask for their help in the final six days."

[Article continues below]

Presidential aides said they believed the call was made from the Oval Office but that it lasted only three minutes and Clinton only thanked the fund-raisers and did not ask for help.

"We are confident that all of the president's fund-raising activities, including any calls he may have made, were proper and legal," White House special counsel Lanny Davis said Thursday.

Federal law generally bars federal officials from soliciting donations on federal property, although the White House argues it does not believe that law applies to calls made from an office to a donor outside.

In addition, Justice lawyers do not believe the residence portion of the White House constitutes a federal office covered by the law.

Since the controversy erupted earlier this year when Gore admitted making fund-raising solicitations from his government office phone, Clinton has said he could not remember making any such solicitations, but that it was possible.

In July, the AP reported that a White House aide's notes indicated Clinton had made 15 to 20 calls and raised $500,000 in 1994.

White House officials also told AP then that Clinton may have made an Oval Office call to a donor in 1996 after being sent a memo saying a presidential call was needed to "clinch" his donation. The White House said it believed Clinton only thanked the donor for his support and did not solicit.

In recent weeks, new evidence has emerged that Clinton made the 1994 fund-raising calls.

In response to a request from Justice Department investigators, the White House located long-distance records indicating Clinton contacted six donors from his living quarters on Oct. 18, 1994 _ the same day he was asked by Democratic Party officials to ask the donors for money, officials said.

White House logs show he was in the residence at the time the calls were made, the officials said.

White House officials said the calls ranged in length from six minutes to 18 minutes and went to paper company executive Howard Gilman, insurance executive Bernard Rapoport, Indian tribal chief Richard Hayward, union leader Dennis Rivera, IVAX Corp. Chairman Philip Frost and investment banker Richard Jenrette.

Federal Election Commission records show that within a week of the calls Frost donated $5,000 to the Democrats, Jenrette and his companies gave $50,000, and Hayward's tribe gave $50,000.

Jenrette acknowledged in a weekend interview with Newsweek magazine that he got a call from Clinton asking for help and responded with the donations.

Rapoport said Thursday he too had a telephone conversation with the president on Oct. 18, 1994, but said he could not recall what the discussion was about other than he was certain it was not about money.

"He never had to call me. I've always given him money long before he needed it," said Rapoport, a longtime presidential supporter and friend.

Other donors Clinton contacted did not immediately return calls at their offices.

Justice provided the White House with a list of dozens of names that had appeared at various time on Democratic fund-raising calls sheets and asked them to check long-distance billing records and call logs to see if any calls were made by the president.

The White House said it identified scores of calls from the president or on White House phones to the individuals from October 1994 through the end of 1996. But none, other than the six residential calls in October 1994, came any time near the dates the individuals' names appeared on fund-raising calls sheets, officials said.

Most of the calls were to prominent Democratic donors who also are some

of Clinton's private advisers, such as Washington lawyer Vernon Jordan

and Arkansas businessman Truman Arnold.

Rate this article

Do you want to leave a comment?   Please Log In or Register to comment.