President Reagan made telephone calls to fund-raising events from the White House and Camp David and promised donors on one occasion they’d be visiting the White House “quite often,” documents from his presidential library show.
Then-Reagan political director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. recommended the president make calls to congressional fund-raising events. “It’s a good idea and we’re eager to cooperate,” Daniels wrote in a 1986 memo.
Reagan’s fund-raising call sheets were prepared on official White House stationery by presidential aides who sometimes noted the exact amount of money to be raised at the event.
Reagan was assured by lawyers the calls were legal.
The documents do not indicate Reagan ever made a call directly to individual donors from the White House to solicit a specific amount of money - like Vice President Al Gore has admitted. President Clinton has said it is possible he, too, may have made direct telephone solicitations.
Those admissions have embroiled the current White House in questions of whether the president or vice president violated a federal law prohibiting solicitations on federal property. Senate hearings resume today with testimony concerning Gore’s attendance at a controversial Buddhist temple fund-raiser.
The Associated Press obtained the Reagan fund-raising documents from his presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif., after being alerted to the papers by Democratic sources.
Republicans have been relentless in their criticism of Clinton White House fund-raising practices, and the documents shed light on how the GOP used the presidency to good effect during Reagan’s two terms.
Former Reagan aides were quick to defend their boss.
“I don’t recall any time that Ronald Reagan ever made a direct solicitation,” said former aide Michael Deaver.