Scandals "r" us

Mysteriously hidden e-mails, Coelho's controversial Lisbon connection and Hillary's own personal Travelgate.

Published March 24, 2000 8:29PM (EST)

In yet another Clinton administration scandal, the Justice Department has begun investigating whether the White House hid more than 100,000 e-mails subpoenaed during the numerous investigations of this presidency, according to all the major newspapers. Justice is reportedly investigating charges that Clinton allies threatened workers who revealed the hidden messages to investigators. The New York Times reports, "White House officials have denied any effort to avoid compliance with subpoenas and said that the problem was an inadvertent computer glitch caused by malfunctioning systems that failed to properly store all electronic messages written to presidential aides from outside the White House."

In more Democratic scandal news, Al Gore's campaign manager, Tony Coelho, is reportedly under criminal investigation for his "questionable spending" activities as head of Expo '98 in Lisbon, Portugal, according to a story originally broken Thursday in the National Journal. "An initial report by the inspector general, Jacquelyn L. Williams-Bridgers, last fall found that American officials involved in the American exhibition at the fair may have violated federal rules by hiring Mr. Coelho's niece and that a Portuguese bank made a personal loan of $300,000 to Mr. Coelho for a private foundation to build a memorial at the fair," according to the New York Times.

GOP tried to legalize foreign money

The Associated Press reports that GOP leaders tried to legalize donations from foreign countries, even though Republican candidates now routinely use the Chinese fund-raising scandal of the Clinton/Gore White House as a battering ram against Democrats on the campaign trail. The AP writes: "The legal filing may complicate the efforts of likely GOP presidential nominee George W. Bush to make the Democratic fund-raising scandal an issue in his battle with Vice President Al Gore."

Here's Johnny ...

Yes, John McCain is back. Picking up right where he left off, he's back on a whirlwind media tour, this time sitting down with a "Straight Talk Express" refugee, Alison Mitchell from the New York Times, and the Washington Post. McCain said he "didn't want to harm" Bush's chances in November and hoped to meet with the Texas governor "sooner rather than later," but wouldn't mind taking another crack at the job come 2004.

If she were a New Yorker, would she have to travel as much?

Congressional Republicans released White House data Thursday showing that Hillary Rodham Clinton has reimbursed taxpayers for only about 18 percent of the cost of her New York Senate campaign trips on government aircraft. The documents reveal that Clinton's trips to and from New York cost $182,471, but that she reimbursed taxpayers for only $32,878. Still, that figure is far below the $905,406 the Republican National Committee estimated as recently as Wednesday. The first lady flies on government aircraft on the advice of the Secret Service, and reimburses the government the same way presidential candidates do: at the rate of a first-class commercial ticket. Clinton will be flying back to Washington in May to walk in the Million Mom March.

Bush scores points with this Democrat

Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew charges that Bush merely "talks a good game" on education. But in an interview with Knight Ridder Newspapers, 1992 Clinton-Gore advisor Will Marshall, who runs the Progressive Policy Institute, a moderate Democratic think tank, said: "Test scores have been rising, and the achievements of low-income and minority students have been rising. Campaign hyperbole aside, Texas has one of the best accountability systems in the country." The New York Times also focuses on Bush's efforts to make education a central issue in the campaign.

Not just shooting from the hip

Bush has repeatedly said about Gore: "This is a man who will say anything to get elected." What wasn't known is that that line of attack had been tested, and proved effective, in a Republican "push poll" conducted in early February. The results of the poll, obtained by ABC News, provide a road map for Bush's strategy going into the fall campaign: Go after Gore on trustworthiness and integrity.

Talking heads

(All EST and all guests tentative)

  • C-Span's "Washington Journal":

    7 a.m. -- John Parker, the Economist.

    8 a.m. -- Thomas Oliphant, Boston Globe.

    9 a.m. -- Betsy Hart, Scripps Howard News Service.

    Poll positions

    Presidential race:

  • Bush 45 to Gore 42 (Zogby/Reuters/WHDH-TV March 8-10).
  • Bush 49 to Gore 43 (Gallup/CNN/USA Today March 10-12).

  • Bush 47 to Gore 44 (Newsweek poll conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates March 9-10).

  • Gore 46 to Bush 45 (ABC News/Washington Post March 9-11).

  • Gore 46 to Bush 43 (CNN/Time poll conducted by Yankelovich Partners March 8-9).

    Preferences for vice president among Democrats (Zogby March 15-17):

  • Bill Bradley, 23 percent
  • George Mitchell, 13 percent
  • Barbara Boxer, 8 percent
  • Tom Daschle, 6 percent
  • Bob Graham, 6 percent
  • John Breaux, 5 percent
  • Evan Bayh, 4 percent
  • Other, 8 percent
  • Not sure, 27 percent

    Preferences for vice president among Republicans (Zogby March 15-17):

  • Elizabeth Dole, 29 percent
  • John McCain, 27 percent
  • Fred Thompson, 6 percent
  • Christine Todd Whitman, 5 percent
  • George Pataki, 5 percent
  • Connie Mack, 4 percent
  • Tom Ridge, 3 percent
  • John Engler, 3 percent
  • Other, 7 percent
  • Not sure, 12 percent

    On the trail

    Bush: Arkansas.

    Gore: Macomb, Mich., and Houston.

    Sound off

    E-mail me with your comments, suggestions and tips at

  • By Compiled by Anthony York

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