A Clinton Fund-Raiser Is Said to Be Behind Gifts in Rich Case

Jill Abramson - NY Times - February 18, 2001

Donations to the Clinton presidential library from Denise Rich, the former wife of the fugitive financier Marc Rich, were solicited by Beth Dozoretz, a prominent Democratic Party fund-raiser, two individuals knowledgeable about the library's funding said today.

Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Ms. Dozoretz said Ms. Rich pledged in 1998 to give $350,000. Through Ms. Dozoretz, Ms. Rich made three separate donations to the library: $250,000 in 1998; $100,000 in 1999; and $100,000 in 2000, the fund-raisers said. The last installment, in the year that a lobbying campaign to win a presidential pardon for Mr. Rich intensified, came after Ms. Rich had already filled her original pledge for $350,000.

The donations and their possible link to the pardons are under investigation in Congress.

In separate interviews today, both Ms. Dozoretz and Mr. McAuliffe denied that Mr. McAuliffe had solicited donations from Ms. Rich.

"Denise Rich's contributions were solicited by others," Mr. McAuliffe said. He also said he had "no involvement in the Marc Rich pardon."

Ms. Dozoretz said, "I have no knowledge of Terry soliciting Denise Rich for the D.N.C. or the library." She declined further comment.

In an article published in The New York Times today, two senior Democratic Party officials described competition between Ms. Dozoretz and Mr. McAuliffe over who deserved the greater share of credit for soliciting donations from Ms. Rich.

A day earlier, two top Democratic Party officials had said that Mr. McAuliffe had originally brought in Ms. Rich, an allegation he denied today. Also on Friday, Ms. Dozoretz had said, "my involvement at the library was minimal."

In interviews today, Mr. McAuliffe and Ms. Dozoretz each denied there was friction between them. Mr. McAuliffe said he had never kept Ms. Dozoretz out of library planning meetings, and said that Denise Rich was not discussed at such meetings.

Mr. Clinton wrote an article on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times on Sunday in which he categorically denied that contributions by Ms. Rich influenced his decision to grant Mr. Rich a pardon.

In the article, Mr. Clinton said that three prominent Republican lawyers had favored the pardon. But all three denied that today.