08/06/97 - 01:45 AM ET - Click reload often for latest version

Gore made fund-raising calls from White House

WASHINGTON - In his aggressive attempt to raise money for President Clinton's re-election campaign, Vice President Al Gore made 44 fund-raising calls from his office in the White House, phone records show.

Internal memos, obtained by The Associated Press, also lay out an extensive effort by Gore's staff to block out time in his schedule to make phone calls from his desk near the Oval Office soliciting campaign money.

"Do you think we could get more time on the sked (45 min-1 hr.) to make more of these calls?" said one internal memo from Gore's office.

It is illegal for federal employees to solicit money in federal buildings. Gore has maintained he was not subject to that restriction even though then-White House Counsel Abner Mikva wrote in 1995 that "no fund-raising calls ... may emanate from the White House."

"You are making several DNC phone calls," Gore was told in a Feb. 2, 1996 staff memo, which was similar to memos sent him that year on Feb. 9, April 26, May 2, and Oct. 4. An administration official, speaking only on condition he not be named, acknowledged the calls were made from Gore's office.

In March, when the story of Gore's White House phone calls surfaced, the vice president told a news conference that "On a few occasions I made some telephone calls from my office in the White House ..." using a campaign credit card.

Gore's spokeswoman, Lorraine Voles, said Tuesday, "the statements made by the vice president were accurate."

Telephone records turned over to a Senate committee and first reported Tuesday by the New York Daily News show Gore made 48 telephone calls to donors from his office.

An administration official, speaking only on condition of anonymity, said 44 of them were solicitations for money and four were calls thanking individuals for their work on a Democratic gala.

The phone records, given to Senate investigators by the Democratic National Committee, show the dates of each call, the individual Gore tried to contact and the length of the conversation.

Some of the calls lasted less than a minute, indicating that Gore may never have reached some of the actual or potential donors on the DNC list.

One person on the list, New York real estate executive Julian Studley, said, "It's possible a call was placed here but I didn't talk to him." But he added, "I wouldn't have needed any prompting" to contribute to the Democrats.

The phone list included the names of philanthropist Ann Getty, Amerada Hess Corp. chairman Leon Hess, billionaire oil and real estate investor Marvin Davis, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Delores Weaver, co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars football team.

A series of 1995 memos asked Gore to call Edgar Bronfman, chief executive officer of Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Inc.

One memo said Gore political adviser Peter Knight "thinks that he (Bronfman) is capable of putting together $1 million from himself and nine others" to get out the Democratic message on Medicare.

A later memo indicated that Gore wasn't successful in reaching Bronfman. It advised the vice president to try again because "you have tried many times to reach him."

An administration official said Gore did not plan to solicit Bronfman for money, pointing to a memo that advised Gore to "stay away from specific fund-raising plans, and concentrate on how important it is to get the message out."

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