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Thompson Lays Out Scope Of Campaign Finance Probe - Jan. 28, 1997

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Sen. Thompson Wants Big Staff, Budget

By Brooks Jackson/CNN

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WASHINGTON (Jan. 29) -- Sen. Fred Thompson, who will oversee the Senate's probe into Democratic fund-raising excesses, today revealed plans for an investigation that would rival the 1974 Senate Watergate probe in size and expense.

Thompson (R-Tenn.) wants to hire a staff of 80 persons for the campaign money investigation. The old Watergate committee had a staff of 90.

Thompson seeks a budget of $6.5 million for his investigation. He said the Watergate probe would have cost about $7 million in today's dollars. Democrats said what Thompson proposes is at least triple what was spent on the Senate Whitewater investigation.

Republicans have the votes, but Democrats are demanding that they get a fair share of the money and staff. Thompson says they'll get one-third, which is standard. And he promises that the investigation will cover Republican as well as Democratic fund-raising.

Democrats also want him to limit the length of the investigation but Thompson isn't giving on that one. He's saying he can wrap it up in a year, if the White House cooperates.


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