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The Democratic Fund-Raising Flap

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Clinton's Re-election Road Paved With Money -- Feb. 24, 1997


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Clinton Raises Funds Even As Controversy Whirls

Clinton WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 24) -- President Bill Clinton is poised to attend yet another Democratic Party fund-raiser tonight, despite the continuing uproar over his fund-raising activities, including mounting calls that an independent counsel pursue the investigation.

Clinton will address the Democratic Party's Business Council at a dinner that is supposed to raise about $500,000.

Despite the president's continuing call for campaign finance reform and the elimination of so-called "soft money" contributions, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) event will raise soft money. DNC officials say about 70 percent of the money raised tonight will be soft money -- unlimited, unrestricted party funds.


About 75 people are expected to attend the dinner tonight. Individuals must make a minimum $10,000 per-person contribution; business groups and PACs must make a minimum $15,000 contribution.

DNC and White House officials justify the continuing fund-raising as essential in making sure their party is competitive. They say they are not going to "unilaterally disarm" in the face of continuing Republican fund-raising.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold and former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley joined the list of Democrats calling for an independent counsel in the fund-raising controversy.


"Regrettably," Feingold said on NBC's "Meet the Press," "I think we've come to the point where, under the discretionary powers of the attorney general, we probably do have to go to a special counsel."

"I think it's going to come to that before it's over," Bradley said on NBC. "I think that's the only way to clear the air, and I think that ultimately the administration will see that."

Feingold and Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York are the two current Democratic senators who have called for the counsel.


Ohio Sen. John Glenn is not among the Democrats calling for an independent counsel. "You know," he told CNN's "Inside Politics Weekend," "the independent counsel law is very precise, and what you can appoint an independent counsel to do. It has to involve the president, the vice president or a member of the Cabinet, as I understand it. And you have to have some very specific material there against one of those particular people. Whether we have that or not, I don't know. I don't know of any such material myself."

White House press secretary Mike McCurry refused to comment on the mounting calls for an independent counsel.

Other administration officials say it's a decision for Attorney General Janet Reno, who so far has maintained that the minimal standards for the appointment of an independent counsel have not been met. As a result, the Justice Department and the FBI are looking into allegations of illegal campaign fund-raising activities.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer contributed to this report.

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