ANGIE CANNON And DONNA St.GEORGE Herald Washington Bureau

Illustration: photo: James GARNER, Barbra STREISAND, Phyllis GEORGE, Jimmy CARTER, Tipper GORE, Vidal SASSOON

Saturday, February 4, 1995

Bill and Hillary Clinton received $608,000 from nearly 6,000 contributors in 1994 to defray their legal expenses from the Whitewater probe and a sexual harassment lawsuit, according to a financial statement released Friday.

Despite the donations, however, the Clintons still owe their high-powered lawyers nearly $1 million. Prospects for keeping pace with the legal bills appear dim. By the end of 1994, donations were dribbling in at a rate of about $35,000 a month.

The fund -- the first ever for an American president - accepts contributions of up to $1,000 from individuals. It has come under fire from critics who say it is unseemly for the Clintons to receive donations, especially from people who may have a stake in government actions.

Contributors ranged from Hollywood stars Barbra Streisand and Sean Penn to ordinary Americans who said the president has been getting a bum rap.

The fund was established last June to defray the Clintons' personal legal expenses in the federal investigation of the Whitewater land deal and the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones.

Entertainers helping the president included actor James Garner, writer and radio personality Garrison Keillor and opera singer Roberta Peters.

Business executives, political figures and more than two dozen Washington lobbyists and insiders also kicked in to the presidential defense fund.

But a lot of regular folks from all 50 states also ponied up, although most of the money came from California, New York and Washington.

Anna Rachel Miller, a retired high school English teacher in Cheyenne, Wyo., has mailed in $100 a month since the Clintons' defense fund was started -- for a total of $600.

"I disapprove of the mean and hateful campaign that's being waged against them," Miller said. "It isn't prosecution. It's persecution."

Thirty-three Floridians made contributions to the fund totaling $18,450.

Top givers ($1,000 each) included Coral Gables investor William Rollnick and his wife, photographer Nancy Ellison; Panama City banker Joe Chapman; and GTI Corp. President William Harger of Winter Park.

Former Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown Jr., his wife, Phyllis George, and their two children, Lincoln and Pamela, who now live in Fort Lauderdale, each sent $1,000.

A number of Florida retirees, small-business owners and homemakers sent in smaller contributions, saying they support Clinton and believe he deserves to be defended.

"I think he's one of the greatest presidents and his wife is one of the greatest first ladies we've ever had," said Gabriel Glantz, a retired lawyer from Michigan who lives in Tamarac. He sent $300 last August.

"I love him, I love his wife, and I love his programs. I wish I had contributed more," Glantz said.

Barbara Stenstream, a registered independent who is an antiques dealer in Boca Raton, sent in $200 last July. She said she believes the president "has a good heart, and he's really trying to help people."

Stenstream said she believes the allegations "are all political, from Arkansas Republicans and the ultra-right wing. It's a smear campaign. I don't believe a word Paula Jones said."

Kenneth F. Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, which has sued the defense fund, said it should be shut down.

"This slush fund is deeply resented by the American people," he said. "The first family should pay their own legal bills."

In his State of the Union speech last week, Clinton called on Congress to stop taking perks from lobbyists.

But the next day, Senate Republican leader Bob Dole of Kansas called that a "cheap shot" and slammed Clinton for accepting contributions from lobbyists for his legal defense. The fund immediately announced it would refuse to accept further contributions from lobbyists.

Some of the prominent contributors to President Clinton's legal defense fund:


* James Garner, actor, $1,000

* Garrison Keillor, writer, radio personality, $1,000

* Sean Penn, actor, $1,000

* Roberta Peters, opera singer, $250

* Barbra Streisand, actress/singer, $1,000


* John Y. Brown Jr., former Kentucky governor, $1,000

* Phyllis George, former sportscaster, $1,000

* Hugh L. Carey, former New York governor, $500

* Jimmy Carter, former president, $1,000

* Rosalynn Carter, former first lady, $1,000

* James Carville, political consultant, $1,000

* Hillary Rodham Clinton, first lady, $1,000

* William Jefferson Clinton, president, $1,000

* Tony Coelho, former House Democratic whip, $1,000

* Lloyd Cutler, former White House counsel, $1,000

* James J. Florio, former New Jersey governor, $1,000

* Tipper Gore, wife of vice president, $1,000

* Cyrus Vance, former secretary of state, $1,000


* Edgar Bronfman Jr., chief executive of Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Inc., $1,000.

* Arthur Coia, president of Laborers' International Union, $1,000

* Vernon Jordan, Washington attorney, $1,000

* Richard C. Leone, president of Twentieth Century Fund, $1,000

* Charles Manatt, Washington attorney, $1,000

* Laurance S. Rockefeller, philanthropist, $1,000

* Vidal Sassoon, hair products executive, $1,000

* Maurice Tempelsman, importer and investor, $1,000

* Lew R. Wasserman, chairman MCA Inc., $1,000

Herald Washington Bureau

All content © 1995 THE MIAMI HERALD

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