Clinton's Defense Fund Sees Donations Plunge: Liability Insurance Covering Attorneys' Fees
Bedard, Paul, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Contributions to President Clinton's legal defense fund have dropped 83 percent since its first half-year to less than $18,000 a month, but his personal liability insurance is paying his attorneys, according to documents released yesterday.
"Prospective contributors have to find us and, without publicity, it's not on their radar screen," said fund administrator Michael H. Cardozo lamenting the fund's lack of coverage. It is not allowed to advertise or promote itself.
"If people are aware of how to contribute, they do," added Mr. Cardozo, who challenged The Washington Times to publish the address of the Presidential Legal Expense Trust - 1225 19th St. NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20036.
As proof, Mr. Cardozo said a recent Money magazine article claiming that the president's $2 million in legal fees had virtually bankrupt the first family resulted in a flood of new contributions in January and February.
Those figures, however, were not included in the report released by the fund that covered July to December 1995.
"It was a good month," Mr. Cardozo said of January contributions.
The fund was established in June 1994 after the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton were forced to hire private legal teams to defend themselves against Whitewater-related charges and a sexual harassment suit filed against Mr. Clinton by former Arkansas state employee Paula Corbin Jones.
During the last six months of 1995, 381 contributors wrote checks valued at $105,537. During the first six months of the fund, which was started in 1994, 5,865 persons donated $608,422.
The total raised as of Dec. 31, 1995, was $971,941. Legal bills have topped $2 million.
The White House recently revealed that Mr. …