Here are some highlights from Wednesday's session of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee's campaign finance hearings:
'Diligence, good faith and hard work'
"None of the more sensational issues one hears mentioned from time to time ever materialized or came to my attention in the course of my work or the work of my staff in 1996. I was never -- and I emphasize never -- confronted at the time with any evidence or suggestion of willful misconduct, foreign government influence, sale of office, contributions in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act, or other legal problems of that kind. Nothing I witnessed reflected adversely in any fashion on the diligence, good faith, and hard work of anyone in a position of major responsibility assisting the president and the party with the 1996 presidential elections." (256K wav sound)
-- Former Democratic National Committee Finance Director Richard Sullivan
'The real scandal is that most campaign finance abuses are perfectly legal'
"The real scandal is that most campaign finance abuses are perfectly legal. It was perfectly legal for President Clinton to routinely offer the Lincoln Bedroom to big contributors as was done in previous administrations to some extent. It was perfectly legal for President Bush to offer rides on Air Force One to big contributors. It was perfectly legal for the Republican National Committee to offer big donors special access to the speaker of the House and the majority leader and it was perfectly legal for Republican House members to invite lobbyists for big contributors into their committee rooms to help write our nation's laws. Now all of these actions are legal but all of them are abusive."
-- Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio)
Sen. Glenn questions Sullivan
Sen. John Glenn: "Was there ever any communication or ever even a hint from the president or vice president that we should include foreign money?"
Sen. Thompson questions Sullivan
Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.): "Did it come to your attention that the president had inquired with regard to Mr. Huang or suggest that perhaps he be employed by the Democratic National Committee?"
'You are spewing words calculated to confuse the issue'
Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.): "For the first time since you have been here, I really believe you are spewing words calculated to confuse the issue. The truth of the matter is certainly there was a goal in mind. Every campaign has a big goal in mind. My little campaign has a big goal. And we do a lot of things to raise money. We don't have a White House and we can't do it out of a Senate office because it's illegal, but that doesn't mean that within that framework certain events don't raise a certain amount of money and my question is did these coffees yield campaign contributions or not? Sullivan: They yielded contributions over the course of 1996."
'If it looks like a duck'
"If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck, then it is a duck. Now frankly, there is no doubt in my mind that White House coffees were fund-raisers and you can explain to any way you want but they just look like a duck ... and that's exactly what they were." (352K wav sound)
-- Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.)
'Everything clearly was not OK'
"Everything clearly was not OK in John Huang's entrance to the DNC. You and Mr. Rosen and Mr. Fowler were clearly uncomfortable with Mr. Huang's coming over, to the point that you set in motion an uncommon and indeed unprecedented training session for Mr. Huang to discuss with him that which was appropriate or inappropriate, legal or illegal, right or wrong. Mr. Huang reported back to you that it was a great session and the man who presumably conducted the session has no memory of it ever taking place." (1M wav sound)
-- Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah)
'If there is a will on this committee'
"I think if there is a will on this committee, a real desire to get him [John Huang] in here, then I would think all of this super-bright legal talent we have on this committee would be able to figure out a way to do it and to get a proffer to consider it and if we can't, maybe we need some new legal talent here, I don't know. But I'm aware of all the reasons why we might not bring him in but I just want to see him brought in and let him defend himself."
-- Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio), on immunity question
'It's not a matter of legal talent'
"I want the information, too. I would hope we would be able to get it. It's not a matter of legal talent, it's not a matter of our good will, it's a matter of whether or not our committee is being used for the purposes of perhaps absolving someone who the Justice Department wants to prosecute for serious offenses and complicating that prosecution."
-- Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.)
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