Hillary Eyed Database for DNC: Aide Suggested `Cloning' Clinton Donor File; Hatch Act Bans It

Article excerpt

Hillary Rodham Clinton endorsed a top White House aide's effort to "clone" a computer database of President Clinton's re-election donors and supporters for the Democratic National Committee despite in-house and Hatch Act rules banning such political activity.

The first lady wrote "this sounds promising, please advise, HRC" in a June 28, 1994, memo in which campaign database creator Marsha Scott described helping the DNC copy the administration's database.

Miss Scott, in her memo, also discussed her larger project of setting up a $1.7 million White House database of 355,000 Clinton donors and supporters, prompting House investigators to suggest that the aide wanted to improperly let the DNC share in the official database funded by taxpayers.

The White House previously denied that its larger official database was illegally used by the Democratic Party for fund raising, but Miss Scott's memo and Mrs. Clinton's handwritten endorsement call those denials into question, House investigators said.

The memo, among many provided by the White House to the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee last week, also deepened suspicions that Mrs. Clinton did not truthfully describe her role in setting up the database.

"It troubles me deeply that Mrs. Clinton, who is a very bright lawyer, saw no problem with using taxpayer funds to aid the political operations of the DNC," Rep. David M. McIntosh, Indiana Republican, whose House government reform subcommittee is investigating the White House database, said yesterday.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Barry Toiv yesterday described Mrs. Clinton's remarks as "innocuous" but declined to say more about the first lady's response to the Scott memo.

Mrs. Clinton's comments on the memo came six months after the White House counsel's office warned that sharing information in the White House database with political parties or groups would violate federal laws.

It also came at a time when White House lawyers were concerned about the political activities of Clinton aides.

Then-White House Counsel Abner J. Mikva wrote a 1995 memo - released yesterday - warning aides against participating in campaign work on White House grounds, as Miss Scott apparently did.

"The simplest rule to follow is the common-sense practice that anything obviously political that involves the use of resources should be done by the campaign, even if doing it here can be legally justified," Mr. Mikva said.

Mr. Toiv said the "outside" system wasn't built, although the campaign did have a computer database of supporters. He called Miss Scott's memo vague.

Miss Scott, a longtime Clinton aide, has refused to discuss the system with reporters. But Mr. McIntosh said he will require her to testify on Capitol Hill. …