Bush: Gore Should Tell Truth About Campaign Fundraising Scandal

July 7, 2008 - 8:25 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Governor George W Bush called on Vice President Gore to clear up what role he played in raising funds for the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign from the White House, an activity that may have violated federal election laws.

Bush was responding to a story in Friday's Los Angeles Times that contained a confidential report prepared by Charles LaBella, the Justice Department's former campaign finance investigator.

The Times also reports that Attorney General Janet Reno kept LaBella's report sealed ever since he submitted it nearly two years ago despite intense congressional pressure for her to release it. Reno's office denied that.

LaBella found "a pattern of conduct" among White House officials, including the President and First Lady, Vice President Al Gore and former White House aide Harold Ickes that warranted further investigation by an independent counsel.

LaBella concluded the both Clintons, Gore and Ickes received special treatment.

As for Gore, the report said "he may have provided false testimony" in connection with a 1995 fundraising effort involving White House telephones.

In a statement released from his Austin, Texas headquarters, Bush said, "Today's Los Angeles Times story raises troubling questions about whether the Vice President misled federal investigators by testifying he did not recall fundraising meetings, even though new evidence now shows he actively participated in those meetings.

"After all our nation has been through in the last eight years, America deserves a President whose value and integrity we can trust," Bush said.

Bush called on Gore to come clean.

"The Vice President needs to clear up what role he played in raising money from the White House. He needs to explain why his testimony conflicts with statements of the former White House Chief of Staff (Leon Panetta).

Panetta told FBI agents that he remembered Gore attentively listening to discussions about hard money fundraising from the White House.

Under federal election law, it's legal to raise "soft money" (unlimited contributions for political parties) from a federal workplace but not "hard money" (limited contributions spent directly on behalf of candidates).