October 8, 1997
A RealAudio version of this segment is available.
October 8, 1997:
Senators Torricelli and Specter discuss the campaign finance hearings.
October 7, 1997:
After a contentious beginning, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes began his testimony before the Senate.
September 19, 1997:
A Florida businessman discusses his interaction with Harold Ickes and the White House during the 1996 campaign.
September 18, 1997:
Roger Tamraz testifies before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee about his contributions.
September 17, 1997:
The Senate hears testimony on pressure to allow controversial DNC donor Roger Tamraz to meet with the President over the objections of members of the National Security Council.
September 11, 1997:
The highest ranking Clinton administration official, National Security Advisor Samuel Berger, testifies on White House screening procedures for donors and guests.
September 9, 1997:
Former DNC Chair Don Fowler defends the actions of the Democrats during the last election.
July 24, 1997:
Former RNC Chair Haley Barbour testifies before the committee about the fund-raising done by the GOP in 1996.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of the campaign finance investigation.
Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
KWAME HOLMAN: Harold Ickes was a deputy White House chief of staff when he ran the strategy for the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign. He has been questioned twice by lawyers for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in private sessions. Today in his first public interrogation, Ickes continued on the theme he set in his statement to the committee yesterday--that he and the Clinton-Gore campaign did nothing wrong. Committee chairman Fred Thompson asked Ickes what he knew about a White House visit by people allegedly involved in a plan to have the Teamsters union donate $235,000 to the Democratic National Committee. In return the DNC was to find a contributor who would give a similar amount to help elect Teamsters President Ron Carey. Martin Davis, a former Teamsters consultant, pleaded guilty last month to charges related to such a contribution swap.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: Were you aware of the fact that the southern district of New York alleges that, as a part of the scheme, the Teamsters determined and, in fact, later sent $235,000 to state Democratic parties?
HAROLD ICKES: Let me just say, Mr. Chairman, there is absolutely nothing unusual about that. In fact, its very usual for labor organizations to--such as the Teamsters and American Federation of State Counties--CWA and many other organizations--to send--to participate in coordinated campaigns in those states where they have members, and in some cases contribute substantial amounts of money to those coordinated campaigns.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: But when it's done as a part of a conspiracy and a coordinated effort, it's against the law, and because that, in effect, is an expenditure, according to the theory of the southern district of New York, of Teamster funds in effect to the Carey campaign, which is prohibited by law. Do you have any knowledge of why Mr. Davis was in the White House on June 17, 1996?
HAROLD ICKES: I don't. And, you know, I just want to add, as long as we are on this vein, I know nothing about any conspiracy that you've referred to in any way, shape or form.
KWAME HOLMAN: Thompson then asked if Ickes was aware two Clinton-Gore fund-raising officials implicated in the contribution swap also visited the White House on that same day.
HAROLD ICKES: Mr. Chairman, I have no idea what I was doing on June 13th. I dont recall it -- and I'm not saying I didn't, but I don't recall it.
SEN. THOMPSON: The concern is that according to the Southern District of New York you have a conspiracy in May and June of 1996 for this contributions swap, the Democratic National Committee and the Teamsters Union. The people involved in that met with the president on June 17th. Then four days later the decision was made to implement at least part of the plan apparently by sending $236,000 to state Democratic parties. So is there anything else that you know about any of these three individuals' involvement with regard to this effort to get Teamster money into the state Democratic funds--or to get DNC contributors or Clinton-Gore contributors to contribute to Mr. Carey?
HAROLD ICKES: Well, I think, Mr.--the answer is I have no knowledge of any information like that.
KWAME HOLMAN: Alan Baron is committee lawyer for the Democrats.
ALAN BARON: Right. Now, would you turn to the next page on that exhibit, which has the list of attendees at that luncheon.
HAROLD ICKES: I see it.
ALAN BARON: And at the top we have Martin Davis, correct, the same individual who was referred to earlier, right?
HAROLD ICKES: Martin Davis is on this list.
ALAN BARON: But then there's a James H. Gilliam, Jr., from Wilmington, Delaware, who's executive vice president and general counsel of Beneficial. Do you see that?
HAROLD ICKES Yes.
ALAN BARON: And the next one is a Dr. Sal Melgan from West Palm Beach, who's one of Floridas top practitioners of eye surgery, is that correct?
HAROLD ICKES: Yes
ALAN BARON: And then there's a Jeffrey Moreland from Chicago, who's senior vice president and general counsel of Burlington North Santa Fe Railroad, right?
HAROLD ICKES: Yes.
ALAN BARON: Okay. Now, if we had been shown all the wave records for that, all those people's names should have shown up, would they not?
HAROLD ICKES: It's my understanding. I don't want to vouch for it, but it's my understanding, yes, that they would have been waved in.
ALAN BARON: You have reason to believe -- right. And do you find it somewhat disingenuous that the only wave records you were shown were that of McAuliffe, Hartigan and Davis?
HAROLD ICKES: Well, I don't want to characterize. I think the facts speak for themselves, Mr, Baron.
KWAME HOLMAN: Late in the day, however, Sen. Thompson acknowledged a review of records made it unclear whether the fund-raising officials and the Teamsters consultant ever had a separate meeting with the President. Throughout the hearings some Democrats have complained only about half their requests to use subpoenas to bring in witnesses have been granted. That dispute boiled over late this morning.
SEN. CARL LEVIN: Give us our subpoenas.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: Well, we've already had --
SEN. CARL LEVIN: How do we know until we get the subpoenas issued?
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: We've had a subpoena--you can quibble about subpoenas, you know, till the cow comes home.
SEN. CARL LEVIN: This isn't a quibble.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: Oh, it's a quibble.
SEN. CARL LEVIN: This is not a quibble.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: Its been going on for six months.
SEN. CARL LEVIN: This is not a quibble.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: I'm telling you that we were going along pretty fine until we subpoenaed the AFL-CIO, then all hell broke loose, they started calling members' offices, and then it all broke down. And --
SEN. CARL LEVIN Let's enforce all the subpoenas.
SEN. JOHN GLENN: Mr. Chairman, I cant--I have to get in the middle of this because Ive been in the middle of it right from the start. We started out--I went to the chairman. I asked that we do this on a bipartisan basis. And I described the Iran-Contra hearings and how they acted hand in glove and how it worked very, very well. The staffs worked together; the budget worked together; subpoenas were put out together. And I was under the impression that's the way we were going to operate, because when we submit a subpoena--
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: Who drafted the rules?
SEN. JOHN GLENN When we submit a subpoena it's up to the majority whether they want to release it or not.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: Im sure people are enjoying a revisiting of the--
SEN. JOHN GLENN: I didnt start it.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: --same--I didnt either.
SEN. JOHN GLENN: Well, you responded to Sen. Levins statement--which was absolutely correct--you tried to defend it--and Ive been involved in this thing with you right from the start of this thing and that dealt with unfairly, and when you try to defend the things that youve done, then I have to rise to defend our side of the aisle.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: In the beginning, Sen. Glenn, I said that if you would help me and just try to get to the bottom of some of these things in the limited period of time, that I would help you. And although--so you have a problem with my helping you, and I have a problem with your helping me. So I guess therein lies the tale.
SEN. JOHN GLENN: With help like we've gotten, I don't need anybody opposing me, I can guarantee you that.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON: Well, you, Sen. Glenn, I think history will record whats gone on here. The American people have seen whats gone on here in the last several months and whos trying to do what. Weve seen other investigations in this body where people have come together and tried to get to the bottom of things. Sen. Lieberman.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Whats come to mind, particularly listening to the historical parts of your opening statement yesterday, was that over a period of time, our standards became numbed, if you will, and we accepted a series of realities in that case that would have been totally unacceptable at an earlier time. You know, you said yesterday at the end of your statement to the committee your complaint is with the law, not with us. We played by the rules. My question to you is: Dont you agree that what happened in 1996--and it happened in both parties--you happened to have been at the center of it--in the Democratic campaign--was a clear violation of the intention--and I stress the intention--of the 74 Act? And I suppose in another sense Id ask at any point did anybody in the campaign--and I wish I had the opportunity to ask the same of somebody comparable to you in the Dole campaign say, hey, the lawyers tell us that technically this is legal but is it right?
HAROLD ICKES: I think as long as we have private moneys--and Im not against private moneys as I said in my opening statement--in political activity--that from time to time, whether its ten years, fifteen years, or twenty years, accretions grow, practices grow, and there has to be a hard look at it. The spirit of the law as enacted in 1974 has changed over the period of time both by acts of Congress as well as by action of the FEC, which is a creature--creature is the wrong word--but which was put in place by Congress and its scope has been limited by Congress and, quite frankly, by practice. So I think if you go back to the spirit of the 1994 law, I probably would not disagree with you. But I think a lot has happened since then, and I think some changes ought to be made.
KWAME HOLMAN: Tomorrow, the committee is scheduled to hear from former finance directors of the Democratic National Committee.