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Democratic Memo Lays Out A Fund-Raising Strategy

It suggests 'better coordination on appointments to boards and commissions'


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 28) -- A new memorandum that ex-White House staffer Harold Ickes has turned over to Congress suggests one way the White House could assist in Democratic fund-raising was through "better coordination on appointments to boards and commissions."

It's not clear who wrote the April 1994 memo or what, if any, action was taken in response to it. But the document, which ended up in Ickes' files, suggests a strategy for using White House access to help reach a $40 million Democratic fund-raising goal.

The memorandum says: "In order to reach our very aggressive goal of $40 million this year, it would be helpful if we could coordinate the following activities:

  • "Two seats on Air Force One.
  • "Six seats at all private dinners.
  • "Six to eight spots at all White House events...
  • "Official delegation trips abroad.
  • "Better coordination on appointments to boards and commissions.
  • "White House mess privileges.
  • "White House residence visits and overnight stays.
  • "Guaranteed Kennedy Center tickets, at least one month in advance.
  • "Six radio address spots.
  • "Photo opportunities with principals."

The question of tying fund-raising to presidential appointments to boards and commissions could be the most problematic point in the memo. It is illegal to sell public offices to contributors.

The memorandum was obtained by CNN. While the White House released a set of documents earlier this week after Ickes turned them over to Congress, it has not released the strategy memo or commented on it yet.

In other developments in the fund-raising controversy:

  • The Washington Post reported this morning that the FBI is investigating whether the Chinese government attempted to buy influence with members of Congress through illegal payments and contributions from Chinese-controlled businesses.

    The Post quoted unnamed government officials who said there is less evidence of illegal payments to members of Congress than there is regarding the Clinton re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

  • The Wall Street Journal reported that President Bill Clinton made several angry calls to Democratic senators this week, complaining about members in his own party who are calling for appointment of an independent prosecutor to look into campaign fund-raising.

    The White House declined comment, but Clinton may have been angered by last weekend's talk shows, in which former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley and Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) urged appointment of a prosecutor.

  • Former White House aide Mark Middleton is invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege not to cooperate with congressional investigations.

    In a statement, he said he will not comply with Congressional subpoenas for documents nor testify before the committee. Middleton did say that he will cooperate with the Justice Department's investigation.

    "I believe that cooperating with the Justice Department inquiry is the most constructive and direct way of sharing my limited knowledge about these issues," Middleton said in his statement.

CNN's Bob Franken and Brooks Jackson contributed to this report.

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