February 13, 1995 in Nation/World

Gramm Defends Gift To Anti-Abortion Group

Associated Press

Sen. Phil Gramm defended a National Republican Senatorial Committee donation of $175,000 to an anti-abortion group in the closing days of last fall’s political campaign, saying Sunday it was “perfectly legal.”

Gramm, who chaired the NRSC, said that he knew the money given to the National Right to Life Committee would help promote the views generally held by Republicans running for Senate seats.

“It is perfectly legal to promote free speech,” the Texas Republican said on ABC’s “This Week with David Brinkley.”

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the Senate committee made the donation in the week before the Nov. 8 election, at a time when it knew it was about to reach the maximum it was allowed to spend on behalf of Republican candidates.

The National Right to Life Committee, which is not registered as a political group, can use money in general voter education and voter turnout efforts, but not to promote individual candidates.

The Post quoted Right to Life Committee officials as saying there was no relationship between the donation and more than $100,000 spent by the group’s political action committee, or PAC, on behalf of Republican Senate candidates in the final days of the campaign.

Asked whether the donation might have been used to skirt campaign funding laws, Gramm said: “It’s a technicality but both parties engage in it.”

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