Gavel To Gavel

Gore's White House Fund-Raising Calls: View the documents that Vice President Al Gore's office turned over to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee including several call sheets.

Gore Calls Netted $695,000
Inside The Hsi Lai Temple
Senate Investigators Focus On Favors

Gavel To Gavel: Fund-Raising Hearings

Fund-Raising Hearings Resume Thursday

Second Phase To Focus On Gore

By Wendy King/AllPolitics

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sep. 1) -- After taking a breather during Congress' August recess, a Senate committee will resume on Thursday its investigation into alleged Democratic fund-raising abuses.

The Governmental Affairs Committee and its chairman, Tennessee Republican Fred Thompson, are expected to shift their focus from President Bill Clinton to Vice President Al Gore and the 46 fund-raising calls he made from his White House office.

Some analysts suggest that in targeting Gore, not only do Republicans hope to reveal systematic fund-raising abuses in the White House, but they also hope to tarnish the image of the man who is the Democrats' presidential front-runner in 2000.

Republicans are also anxious to question Peter Knight, the former Clinton-Gore campaign manager, who set up the phone calls made by Gore. Knight was also hired by the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma at the urging of Nathan Landow, a Democratic fund-raiser with close ties to Gore.

The tribe made $107,000 in contributions to the DNC and in return received two tickets to a Clinton lunch in June 1996. At the lunch, the tribe's chairman, Charles Surveyor, met Clinton for 20 minutes and explained the groups' struggle to reclaim land. Clinton reportedly told Surveyor, "We'll see what we can do to help you."

Landow reportedly offered to help the tribes reclaim their land in exchange for 10 percent of the oil and gas rights to the land for the next 20 years. The deal is estimated to be worth $500 million.

Investigators have subpoenaed Knight to discuss the Cheyenne-Arapaho matter as well as his role as a lobbyist for Molten Metal Technology Inc. The Massachusetts-based company allegedly received a lucrative federal contract as a result of $82,000 in donations to Gore and the Democratic Party.

Molten Metal, run by Bill Haney, has received $33 million in contracts since Gore took office, according to TIME magazine.

Investigators are also anxious to hear testimony from former deputy White House chief of staff Harold Ickes. Investigators say that Ickes oversaw fund-raising activities from his White House office. Committee members hope to reveal an extensive pattern of favors and access given by the White House to donors with deep pockets.

In the upcoming hearings, Democrats will focus on Triad Management Services Inc., which directed donors to Republican candidates and has overseen three subpoenaed tax-exempt groups. While many nonprofits work to promote causes, some have allegedly been used to help dollar-deficient campaigns avoid campaign laws.

The second phase of the Senate hearings will also address the "soft money" issue. Soft-money donations are largely unregulated gifts to party committees to help build up the party. The lack of regulation of soft-money contributions makes them an obvious item on the campaign finance reform agenda.

Republicans charge that delays by the White House, unions and interest groups in turning over documents has hindered the Governmental Affairs Committee's investigation.

The Senate panel has until Dec. 31, 1997, to conclude its investigation. The House's investigation, chaired by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), and his Government Reform and Oversight Committee, will begin later this month.

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