Fun_People Archive
20 Apr
Clinton Defense Fund & Congressional Rules

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 96 02:46:09 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: Clinton Defense Fund & Congressional Rules

[Two articles cribbed from the Wall St. Journal... -psl]

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: ( KEITH E SULLIVAN)

From: The Wall Street Journal, Friday, April 12, 1996.

  By Sarah McBride, Staff Reporter of the Wall Street Journal

Single pennies, fake currency and items both offensive and unmentionable --
all have been sent to the Presidential Legal Expense Trust.

Established in June 1994 to help President Clinton defend against the Paula
Jones and Whitewater allegations -- some $2 million in legal bills -- the
trust does receive real donations ($1 million so far), and bagfuls of
unsolicited counsel.  One donor's advice to Mr. Clinton:  "Be cool and keep
smooching your wife."

The fund also helps pay the first lady's legal bills, and John Draude of
Waterloo, Iowa, sent Mrs. Clinton a letter via the trust.  "I am behind you
and Bill 100%," he wrote, "and I think the new bluish glasses are very

Fund Administrator Sally Schwartz says her job running the fund is the most
entertaining employment she has ever had.  But it has its repetitious
moments.  "The first time I saw one of these, I thought it was funny," Ms.
Schwartz says, no longer laughing as she holds up yet another phony
three-dollar bill with a picture of Mr. Clinton emblazoned on it.  The
accompanying note reads:  "A phony dollar for a phony president."

The single pennies some people send in to show disdain will be given to
charity, she says, along with all other anonymous donations, so far totaling

Ms. Schwartz, who saves every piece of mail received by the fund, carefully
records all the donations to ensure that no one gives more than the $1,000
yearly limit and that no off-limits donors, such as federal employees,
contribute.  Mr. Clinton's fund is the first legal- defense fund for a
president -- though members of Congress, White House and State Department
workers and even CIA employees have had them.

Twice yearly, the names of donors are made public, and journalists pore over
the list looking for celebrities and donors with possible conflict of
interest.  Well-known names discovered among the contributors:  Jimmy
Carter, Sean Penn, Garrison Keilor, Barbra Streisand.

In February, two lobbyists' names showed up, forcing the fund to return a
couple of checks.

In 1994, conservative writer David Brock, author of numerous anti- Clinton
articles, sent in $25 because he wanted "to see what would happen."  Mr.
Brock framed the thank-you note he received and brings it out occasionally
as a party prop.

From: The Wall Street Journal, Monday, April 15, 1996.

  By Jackie Calmes, Staff Reporter of the Wall Street Journal

Nelson Mandela is the head of his country, and Panama's Manual Noriega is
in jail.  It used to be the other way around.  And as far as some U.S. laws
are concerned, it still is.

Among more than 400 redundant and obsolete reports that Congress requires
of federal agencies are annual updates on Mr. Mandela's imprisonment by
South Africa's former apartheid government and on the ousted Noriega regime,
the Clinton administration says in its report on "unnecessary and wasteful"

The White House wants Congress to repeal these requirements, but there's no
report yet on Congress's plans.  Capitol Hill staffers say that no one there
has yet read the administration's report, published recently as a chapter
of its multivolume fiscal 1997 budget.

Many of the controversial reports have never been filed -- nor missed,
apparently.  The Commerce Department hasn't submitted a "Long-Range Plan
for Public Broadcasting Facilities" since 1982, and an annual report
required from the Environmental Protection Agency since 1976 on employment
in solid-waste management was never done.

There's the report on prisoners' use of education grants.  "Since prisoners
are no longer eligible to receive Pell grants, this reporting requirement
is unnecessary," the White House says.  Meanwhile, the Cold War lives on,
thanks to various requirements for reports on the former Soviet Union and
some long-resolved armed conflicts in Central America and Africa.

Sometimes Congress passes laws demanding yet more reports, but doesn't offer
enough funding to get them compiled.  A 1980 act mandated an "Interim Report
on the National Advisory Commission on Resource Conservation and Recovery."
But the commission never met it because funds weren't provided.

So if no one's complaining when reports aren't written, what's the problem?
"We just want to bring the laws into compliance with common sense," says
Lawrence Haas, communications director for the Office of Management and

But repealing 400 mandates won't exactly relieve the executive branch of
excessive drafting duties.  According to yet another report, Vice President
Al Gore's "National Performance Review" for streamlining government,
Congress asked for 5,348 reports in fiscal 1993 alone.

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