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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Democrats Hit Back At New Sleaze Barbs

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Al Gore on Sunday called the new Republican attacks on the Clinton administration's ethical conduct part of a "relentless, well-financed cottage industry'' aimed at unseating the president.


A day after GOP vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp accused the administration of a "sad and troubling'' pattern of ethical lapses, Gore said on NBC's "Meet the Press'' that Kemp has taken a "low-road attack'' against a president who established ethical standards that have been the "highest in the history of the White House.''


But Republicans, including Kemp and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, continued their criticism of the administration.


Gingrich was critical of large contributions to the Democratic National Committee from people with ties to foreign businesses -- including a $250,000 contribution the DNC has returned and a $425,000 contribution from the daughter and son-in-law of an Indonesian billionaire who has long been a supporter of President Clinton.


"This makes Watergate look tiny,'' Gingrich said on CBS's "Face the Nation.'' "I mean, this is a potential abuse of the American system on behalf of an Indonesian billionaire in a way that we have never seen in American history.''


The Watergate scandal, which led to the downfall of then-president Richard Nixon, involved large-scale political espionage, illegal break-ins, laundering of illegal contributions, unconstitutional abuses of power and serious considerations on Nixon's part of instigating a military coup to forestall his eventual resignation. It led to the criminal convictions of Vice President Spiro Agnew, Attorney General John Mitchell, White House Counsel John Dean as well as several other top Nixon advisors.


The White House dismissed the Dole camp's criticism as the flailings of a party trailing badly in the polls just three weeks from election day. "As far as I know, there's no basis for any investigation,'' said Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes, who was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Clinton to prepare for Wednesday night's debate with Republican nominee Bob Dole. "This is a sign of desperation on the part of the Dole campaign. ... They're trying to scrape up anything they can find to get public attention.''


Gore said that "under the law, as it exists,'' receiving contributions from permanent residents "is perfectly legal'' and that the campaign "strictly abided by all of the campaign finance laws, strictly.''The $425,000 donation was made by Arief and Soraya Wiriadinata -- who were permanent residents of the United States living in Northern Virginia. They have since returned to Indonesia. Soraya Wiriadinata's father was a major investor in the Lippo Group -- which has extensive U.S. operations and longstanding ties to the Clinton administration.