Clinton-Gore campaign officials will examine thousands of dollars of expense account payments to former political adviser Dick Morris to ensure the campaign - and taxpayers - didn’t pay any expenses related to his alleged affair with a prostitute at a Washington hotel, the campaign’s general counsel said Friday.
Morris resigned Thursday after a tabloid newsmagazine reported that he carried on a lengthy affair in a Jefferson Hotel suite with a woman who said he paid her more than $12,000 and bought her fine wine and champagne and fancy room service meals.
Campaign general counsel Lyn Utrecht said she doesn’t think the review will find anything amiss because the campaign has strict rules on what it will reimburse.
She said, for example, that the campaign pays only for hotel rooms, not extra charges for suites or for room service.
“But anytime anything comes to our attention that even remotely questions if public money was spent correctly we will go back and make sure we didn’t miss something.”
Campaign records show the Clinton-Gore ‘96 Primary Committee Inc. paid Morris a total of $231,048 in consulting fees and expenses from April 1995 through this July. “Once we get back we can go through all of this and take a closer look,” Joe Lockhart, spokesman for the Clinton/Gore campaign, said while traveling with President Clinton in Missouri. “But we have a very stringent policy in place.”
The campaign’s spending will be subject to a Federal Election Commission audit after the November election because the president has accepted nearly $13 million in federal matching campaign funds. Under the matching funds program, the first $250 of an individual’s donations is matched from a fund financed by a voluntary checkoff on federal income tax returns.
The Washington Post reported in February that Morris’ expense accounts had been challenged by White House deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, an internal political foe of Morris’.
The issue then was expenditures on certain personal expenses that the campaign disallowed, such as laundry, mini-bar charges or hotel video rentals.
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