Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fund-Raising Transcript Released Gore Questioned on Temple Event

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fund-Raising Transcript Released Gore Questioned on Temple Event

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- In sometimes sharp exchanges, Vice President Al Gore told investigators, "I . . . don't recall" being told that a 1996 Buddhist temple event was a Democratic fund-raising event, a transcript released yesterday by the White House shows.

Moving aggressively to respond to re-emergence of the fund-raising controversy in his presidential campaign, Gore said he made the transcript public so Americans can judge for themselves: "I've told the truth."

Gore acted after word leaked that Robert Conrad, the Justice Department prosecutor who questioned the vice president on April 18, is recommending that a special counsel be appointed to probe the veracity of the vice president's answers.

The vice president has repeatedly maintained that he didn't know he was attending a fund-raiser when he visited a Buddhist temple in California where $60,000 in illegal donations were funneled to the Democratic National Committee during the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign.

"You were aware in late February, were you not, that there was a goal of raising $108 million by the DNC?" Conrad asked Gore.

"Yes," the vice president replied.

"Then a couple of months later there is a DNC-sponsored event at the temple and it didn't raise any fund-raising issues in your mind?"

"I did not know this was a fund-raiser," Gore answered.

"I sure as hell don't recall having -- I sure as hell did not have any conversations with anyone saying this is a fund-raising event," Gore testified, adding, "As to whether or not I had any follow-up conversations that said, were we able to set up this event or not, I don't think I did. But I may have."

In another exchange, Conrad confronted Gore with an e-mail exchange with an aide in which Gore referred to a fund-raiser in Los Angeles on April 29, the same day as the temple event.

"It appears that, from this e-mail, that she has told me in this e-mail that we've confirmed the fund-raisers for Monday, April 29," Gore acknowledged. …

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