Campaign Debts Appear In Whitewater Papers

President Clinton’s federal campaign finances were specifically mentioned in Whitewater court papers for the first time on Wednesday after prosecutors gave the defense a list of contributions made in 1991 to the Clinton Exploratory Committee.

A motion filed Wednesday for one of two bankers said attorneys from the office of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr handed an envelope containing the information to a defense attorney after a hearing Tuesday.

Herby Branscum Jr. and Robert M. Hill are accused of helping Clinton retire his earlier campaign debts when he was running for governor of Arkansas by reimbursing contributors with funds from their Perry County Bank.

Clinton has not been charged, but the 11-count indictment against the bankers mentions political contributions and unnamed federal and state campaigns as well as his 1990 campaign.

The new information was given to Jack T. Lassiter, who represents Hill, on Tuesday under court procedures requiring the government to disclose material it may use in the trial to show wrongdoing not alleged in the indictment.

The material listed eight contributions by seven individuals in September and October of 1991, said the motion filed by Jack T. Lassiter, attorney for Robert M. Hill of Perryville.

Lassiter’s motion did not give the names of the contributors or the amounts given. It also gave no indications the contributions to the exploratory committee were improper.

Reached at his home, Lassiter would not reveal further details.

After Hill took at least $7,000 in contributions to Clinton in December 1990 for his gubernatorial campaign, Clinton re-appointed Hill to the state Bank Board and put Branscum on the state Highway Commission, the indictment said. The defendants deny that the appointments resulted from the contributions.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright overruled the Justice Department and David Kendall, Clinton’s personal lawyer, on Tuesday, saying that the defense could question the president on videotape.

But after receiving the envelope from Starr’s lawyers on Tuesday, Lassiter said in his motion Wednesday that he wanted the judge to grant him specific clearance to question the president regarding Hill’s reappointment to the Bank Board.

Lassiter’s filing also requests access to a transcript of sworn statements made by Clinton a year ago to Starr’s investigators regarding his gubernatorial campaign finances. David Kendall, Clinton’s personal attorney, said at the Tuesday hearing that Clinton had submitted to the questioning.

White House spokesman Mark Fabiani had no comment on the filing other than to say, “the president will provide any information the court thinks is necessary in his testimony.”

In the Tuesday hearing, Kendall said the president has made prior statements that he knew of no illegal activity, if there was any, involving contributions to his campaign.

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