Hillary Clinton: I Pushed For Database -- Jan. 30, 1997
Clinton Takes Sharp Questioning On Fund-Raising -- Jan. 28, 1997
Another White House Coffee Raises Eyebrows
By Claire Shipman/CNN
WASHINGTON (Jan. 31) -- White House officials are scrambling to explain the latest revelation about a political donor with reported ties to Libya being invited to a White House coffee with President Bill Clinton.
The Democratic National Committee admits it had not checked the donor's background before arranging the April 1, 1996, coffee. The attendee was Roger Tamraz, an American citizen of Lebanese descent.
White House and DNC officials say they were unaware at the time that Tamraz had been accused of treason by Lebanese authorities for his ties to the Israelis. He reportedly was convicted by Lebanon in absentia in June.
DNC spokeswoman Amy Weiss Tobe said the DNC did not learn of the treason accusation until last November. At the same time, the DNC says it became aware of reports that Tamraz was a fugitive, facing an international arrest warrant, based on the collapse of a bank in Lebanon. The DNC says that after conferring with Tamraz they believed the charges to be trumped up.
White House officials say that while they heard of the treason charges in November, they were unaware of any fraud accusations until Thursday. They say White House officials are checking to see who, if anyone, was aware of the reports.
Meanwhile, a CNN search turned up numerous reports that Tamraz was involved in a fund-raising controversy in 1995 over his reported business ties to Libya.
Reports in November 1995 say Tamraz gave $100,000 to the Virginia Democratic party, and was quoted as saying he did so at the direction of the DNC after he expressed interest in helping Clinton make a comeback.
Republicans complained about the donation because Tamraz had recently sold his oil company "Tamoil" to Libya.
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