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Gop Criticized For Letter Selling Political Access

Sat., Feb. 22, 1997, midnight

As the Democratic campaign fund-raising controversy intensifies, a Republican group is being pressed to defend a solicitation letter that offers a program of private dinners and sessions with top GOP lawmakers and committee chairpeople in exchange for different levels of political contributions.

Offering donors “an unprecedented level of dialogue with House Republicans and party leaders,” the mailing was produced last year to promote the Congressional Forum and House Council, fund-raising programs operated by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The mailing, distributed throughout last year and into the first part of this year, cited a private dinner with Speaker Newt Gingrich and monthly dinners with the chairpeople of key congressional committees as “benefits of membership” for supporters who gave at least $15,000 in individual contributions or a minimum of $25,000 in corporate contributions to “directly fund House races.”

Outraged Democrats, stung by investigations into allegations that they improperly offered their supporters access to President Clinton for campaign contributions - and that such access may have influenced administration policies - are pointing to the GOP flier to say that, essentially, Republicans do it too.

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