Democratic Party Does Turnabout, Lists Donations Report Notes $10 Million in Gifts; Dodd Promises Full Accounting
Compiled From News Services, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Under intense pressure to give an accounting of its pre-election fund raising, the Democratic National Committee released a list of expenses and contributions Tuesday - but not the full report normally filed by political parties.
The stack of papers given to reporters showed $10 million worth of fund raising and what appeared to be mostly routine transactions from Oct. 1-15. Spending was listed in a more haphazard fashion.
The documents showed nearly $6 million in contributions subject to federal limits and $4 million in "soft money" - gifts not covered under post-Watergate contribution limits. The committee's general chairman, Christopher Dodd, said his staff would "work continuously" to file a complete report with the Federal Election Commission "as soon as possible." A party spokeswoman said that would be by the end of this week. The Democrats' initial decision not to file a pre-election report, saying it was exempt from the requirement, was criticized by Republicans and independent advocates of campaign finance reform. It came after weeks of criticism of the Democrats' fund-raising practices, including allegations that foreign money might have been illegally channeled to the party. "They give the word stonewall a bad name," Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole said while campaigning in Denver. He questioned whether the records released Tuesday were complete. "You never get them all the first time with this administration," he said. "You've got to go back and back and back and back and back." Dodd maintained the Democrats were not legally required to file the report immediately since the party didn't spend any money on President Bill Clinton or other campaigns during the 15 days covered by the report. Instead, it had planned to report that information Dec. 5, a month after the election. The Democrats were scrambling to release the information now, Dodd said in a statement, because the party "is committed to full disclosure." "We made a mistake, and we corrected it today," Dodd said on CNN. Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour said his party would seek a court injunction to prevent the Democratic National Committee from spending money until the report is filed as required by law. The GOP expected to file the suit in U.S. District Court today. In the report Tuesday, Democrats listed contributors' names and addresses, transfers of money, and spending. Party officials said the information also was turned over to the FEC. Half of the soft money came from special-interest groups and corporations. Big contributors included a trial lawyers' group, which gave $50,000, an insurance industry gift of $25,000 and Personal Health Care Inc. of Illinois, which gave $125,000. A smattering of actors, producers and other Hollywood names were among the givers: director Rob Reiner, playwright Neil Simon and actor Michael Douglas. Financier George Soros gave $100,000. The papers did not include some details required in FEC reports, such as a summary of expenses and the purpose of each disbursement. …