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Perot Rejects Dole Plea, Attacks Clinton Fund-Raising Methods

By Donald P. Baker
The Washington Post

Reform Party presidential candidate Ross Perot Thursday reiterated his disdain for his two major opponents, rejecting a plea from Republican Bob Dole that he drop out of the race and unleashing a stinging attack on President Clinton.

After dismissing his meeting Wednesday with Dole campaign manager Scott Reed, he focused his attention on Clinton, denouncing his fund-raising tactics as "morally and ethically wrong" and warning Clinton's reelection could result in a "second Watergate and a constitutional crisis in 1997."

One by one, Perot described - sometimes inaccurately - the recent controversies over campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee and said those transactions "are why the core of our policy is campaign finance reform."

After citing contributions from a convicted drug dealer, an Indonesian family, a Korean company and from Buddhist monks, Perot said: "I wonder if anybody in this country's giving money."

An outspoken critic of recent U.S. trade agreements, Perot added sarcastically that it "seems like you go overseas because that's where the money is. It makes sense - that's where the jobs went.'

Perot levelled his most biting criticism against the president for his association with Jorge Cabrera of Miami, who was imprisoned on narcotics charges in the 1980s and donated $20,000 last year to the DNC.

"I never thought I would live to see a major drug dealer give 20,000 bucks in Florida and then be invited to a big Democratic reception by the vice president and then be invited to the White House," Perot said.

Shortly after that, Perot pointed out, police "caught him with 5,828 pounds of cocaine." Cabrera is now serving a 19-year prison sentence.

Responding to Republican complaints that Democrats have attempted to prevent circulation of photographs of Vice-President Gore and Hillary Clinton with Cabrera, the U. S. Attorney's office in Miami released the pictures this week.

Referring to Clinton's practice of inviting big donors to spend the night at the White House, Perot said he is "personally offended that the president is now selling the Lincoln bedroom to any $100,000-a-night contributor."

Then he turned to "the Indonesian connection," a reference to the Lippo Group, the international conglomerate with ties to an Indonesian couple living in this country who contributed about $450,000 to the Democrats and then returned to Indonesia.

What the Indonesians got in return, Perot said, was the appointment of a friend to "a position in the Clinton administration overseeing trade policy" - a reference to the appointment of John Huang, a former employee of Lippo, to a high position in the Commerce Department.

In fact, the donations were made after John Huang had left the Commerce Department. Perot said Huang, who left his Commerce Department post to raise funds for the DNC, was "influencing trade policy" on behalf of Indonesia, where, Perot charged, child abuse is rampant.

And "only in America," Perot said, could Huang get a $780,000 bonus from the Indonesians when he left their bank for the U. S. government job.

Before the $450,000 contribution, Perot said, the Clinton administration "had threatened trade sanctions against Indonesia because it had gross human rights violations, but after all this money came through, didn't do a thing about it."

Government records, in fact, show that the easing of trade sanctions occurred before the contributions were made. But, Perot said, "If this doesn't seem corrupt to you then you and I are on two different planets."

As a Democratic fund-raiser, Perot said, Huang accepted $250,000 from a Korean corporation, and the Democratic National Committee gave it back only after "the Los Angeles Times nailed it."

The DNC has said it returned the money after it learned it came not from a U.S. subsidiary, but from corporate headquarters in Korea. Huang was suspended by the DNC and is now under investigation by the Federal Elections Commission.

The only shot Perot took at Dole, who previously had borne the brunt of the Texan's attack, concerned a $253,000 in gifts to the Republican Party from a sugar cane company owned by two Cuban emigres, Jose "Pepe" Fanjul and his brother Alfonso "Alfie" Fanjul, who came to this country 30 years ago but are citizens of Spain.