December 11, 1995
MR. BEARDEN: Utah Congresswoman Enid Greene Waldholtz was considered a rising star in the Republican revolution that began in the fall elections of 1994. She was chosen by House Speaker Newt Gingrich for a seat on the House Rules Committee, the first time in seventy years that a freshman had been picked for that highly influential committee. She came to even greater national prominence when a scandal broke regarding the financing of her $1.8 million 1994 campaign, the most expensive House race in the country that year. One month ago, shortly after a federal investigation began, her husband and campaign treasurer, Joe Waldholtz, disappeared. He returned a week later and now may face questions before a federal grand jury later this week. Today, in Salt Lake City, Waldholtz staged a marathon news conference to tell her side of the story for the first time.
REP. ENID GREENE WALDHOLTZ, (R) Utah: I loved Joe Waldholtz and trusted him with all my heart. I now know from the events of the last four weeks that the person that I loved and trusted never existed. (crying) Excuse me. Joe and I started as friends. We talked by telephone and started talking more. He was willing to be my full partner, not just in politics, but in life. I believed that marriage was a partnership of equals and that each partner in that marriage should do what they were best at. Joe, on the basis of what he had told me about his personal life and what I had seen in connection with his professional life, I believed had the experience far more than I had to deal with large sums of money, so Joe started to take over our family finances. From the time we were married, I put Joe with signature on authority--signature authority on my checking account, and I had signature authority on his. But I kept my checkbook. I made the final decision to run in the fall of 1993. Again, I believed I had the personal resources to put into the campaign because of what Joe had told me, and I made the decision that that's what I would do. But beginning in 1994, Joe convinced me and my father that he had run into personal difficulties because of problems related to his mother. Joe's parents had divorced when he was a little boy. I had seen some mail come to the house from various financial institutions that had the names of both Joe and his mother in the address of what came to us. I didn't open his mail; I never did. I wish I had. But Joe told us that his mother had gained access to these accounts they had in common and had run up huge overdrafts and raided Joe's accounts, and that his various obligations had remained in Pittsburgh. Joe told me that funds were not available from the family trust to deal with these problems of his mother because of the divorce, and that the trust instrument prevented any expenditure of funds from the trust for any problem related to anyone outside of the family, but most particularly former family members by divorce. That began the string of events that I so deeply regret, that dragged my father into this nightmare. Joe told my father and I he needed this money to resolve these problems of his mother. I was campaigning day and night. I was working as hard as I could on that campaign. Joe handled all of our personal and our campaign finances at this point. Again, I believed that he was the one person that I could truly trust. We now know there was no Waldholtz trust money, and that the money that went into my campaign I believed through the ready assets fund and through a legally permissible assignment of assets to my father was, in fact, the money that Joe had borrowed from my father.
MR. BEARDEN: Later, Waldholtz's lawyer and accountant distributed documents to support her story, including checks on which she said her husband had forged her signature. She accused him of stealing thousands of dollars from her campaign, covering the theft with forged documents. Throughout, she maintained her innocence, and said she would not resign.
REPORTER: You seem to indicate that even though you had acted in good faith, the election was tainted; the money affected the outcome of the election and it did so contrary to the rules. Do you believe the election was tainted, and, if so, is there anything you can do now to make up for that false win, if that's what it was?
REP. ENID GREENE WALDHOLTZ: There is no question now that we did not follow the rules I believed we did. I also believe, as I said at the time of the election, that I don't think money was the only issue in this campaign. (applause) Each of my opponents spent substantial sums, as did I, and I really don't think there was any question left in the voter's mind where we stood on various issues. I believed then and I believe now that issues are the most important reason that people get elected. There isn't anything I can do now to fix that, other than to file my amended reports, to acknowledge what has happened, and to move forward.
MR. LEHRER: Although Congresswoman Waldholtz will not resign, she said she has not decided yet whether to run for reelection.