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Memos Surface About Clintons’ Fund-Raising Tactics

Mon., March 24, 1997

An “urgent” memo in the files of a top White House official laid out a detailed plan in late 1995 for both President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton to make fund-raising calls, according to a knowledgeable source. It has been well known that Hillary Clinton played a role as a Democratic Party fund-raiser, but not that she had been expected to make fund-raising calls.

Another memo, from the files of former White House deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, spells out how Democratic Party officials expected money to be raised from guests at White House “coffees” hosted by Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. One memo, described Sunday by a source who has seen the document, showed that specific target amounts were set for each of the coffees.

The Globe reported in February that those who attended the coffees were solicited for campaign funds, often after attending a White House event. Initially, the White House portrayed the coffees as informational meetings with supporters.

The new documents, some of which were described Sunday in The New York Times, provide evidence that administration officials attached monetary value to the coffees. The documents, which have been turned over to Congress for use in congressional fund-raising investigations, also show that the White House was involved in setting up many of the Democrats’ high-level fund-raising activities.

“These documents add a lot of details to what clearly was an important purpose … which was to raise money,” White House special counsel Lanny Davis said Sunday. But he said the events were legal because guests were not asked for contributions at the coffees.

It is illegal to raise campaign money on federal property. But it is legal for the president and other government officials to meet with donors as long as the donors are not asked directly for money.

The memo that suggests that the Clintons make fund-raising calls is intriguing because both of them have said they do not recall making such calls. An uproar followed the acknowledgement by Gore that he used a White House phone to request campaign contributions.


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