The White House spokesman said Tuesday that he should have disclosed last week that he had advised Truman Arnold, the former finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, on how to handle press inquiries about whether Arnold had misused a White House computer database to track prospective donors to the party.
The spokesman, Mike McCurry, made his comments after Republican congressional investigators released a letter from the White House counsel, Jack Quinn, detailing White House contacts with Arnold.
Quinn wrote that McCurry had spoken with Arnold last Wednesday, a day before McCurry and another White House spokesman had suggested that Arnold’s contacts had been limited to White House lawyers.
“In retrospect, yes,” McCurry said Tuesday of whether he should have disclosed his conversation with Arnold, a Texas oil executive whom he advised on communications techniques in his days as a private consultant.
The letter from Quinn was sent to Rep. David McIntosh, R-Ind., who leads a House Government Reform and Oversight subcommittee investigating the use of the database.
Last week, Time magazine and The Los Angeles Times quoted Arnold as saying he had routinely relied on the White House database for information about potential donors. White House lawyers had ruled that the database could be used only to help Clinton in the performance of official duties.
At a White House briefing Thursday, McCurry’s deputy, Barry Toiv, was asked whether the White House had spoken with Arnold about his comments. When Toiv replied that he did not know, McCurry broke in to say that White House lawyers had.
But McCurry did not disclose he had spoken to Arnold the night before, advising him to issue a written statement on the matter.