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Senate panel issues 39 new subpoenas

August 6, 1997 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Senate committee issued 39 subpoenas Wednesday in an effort to determine if major Democratic contributors bought extraordinary access to the Clinton administration or government contracts.

The Governmental Affairs Committee subpoena list includes party donors and their companies, fund-raisers and the current finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

The subpoenas are in preparation for the next round of hearings in September on campaign finance abuse. The panel will focus on the White House and Democratic Party officials.

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One subpoena demanded all relevant White House documents. This was an outgrowth of an incident last week when committee Chairman Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., furiously accused the administration of purposely withholding important records. Thompson at the time threatened the subpoena, even though the White House denied any foot-dragging.

``The committee wants to take a look at whether contributions had any relationship to access and whether any policy or contract may have resulted from a contribution,″ said panel spokesman Paul Clark, who emphasized he was not referring to any particular individual or company subpoenaed.

The subpoena list includes Alan Solomont, a nursing home executive who currently is finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

In February, Time magazine reported that Solomont _ a major Democratic contributor _ gained close access to the administration when officials were considering loosening proposed nursing home industry rules. Solomont’s former company, ADS Management Inc., also was subpoenaed.

Also subpoenaed was Peter Knight, who managed the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign. The Energy Department’s inspector general is reviewing frequent contacts between Knight, now a lobbyist, and a top department official.

Knight arranged several private meetings and dinners with recently departed Undersecretary Thomas Grumbly for clients who won millions of dollars in contracts between 1993 and 1996, internal documents show. Knight also is a major Democratic fund-raiser.

Molten Metal Technology Inc. of Waltham, Mass., run by former Al Gore campaign staffer William Haney, received several extensions of funding from the department. Haney and Molten Metal also are on the subpoena list.

Democratic fund-raiser Alan Leventhal received a subpoena as did his business associate Fred A. Siegel, a Clinton fund-raiser. Their firm, Energy Capital Partners, also was subpoenaed.

The Wall Street Journal reported in February that the two men won a lucrative federal lending contract from the Department of Housing and Urban Development after they raised more than $3 million for the Clinton-Gore re-election effort. HUD canceled the contract after the Journal story appeared, and the company sued HUD alleging the contract was wrongfully canceled.

Others subpoenaed included Miami computer executive Mark Jimenez, along with his company _ Future Tech International.

Last February, the White House confirmed that Jimenez provided the administration with information alerting it to the possibility of a military coup in Paraguay. The United States subsequently took steps with the Organization of American States to avert the coup.

The day the unsuccessful coup attempt began, the DNC received $100,000 from Jimenez, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said Paraguay was a pivotal market for Jimenez’s burgeoning computer business.

Business tycoon Carl Lindner, who was subpoenaed, has given to both parties but has become one of the Democrats’ top 10 supporters. One of his companies, banana producer Chiquita Brands International, also was subpoenaed.

Protesters last April dumped 2,000 pounds of bananas in front of the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. They accused Lindner of improperly trying to influence administration trade policy

But Lindner’s American Financial Corp. also gave the largest single check _ a half-million dollars on Feb. 13, 1995 _ to the National Policy Forum, a now-defunct Republican think tank.

Democrats contended in hearings last month that the think tank, because it was closely tied to the Republican Party, accepted foreign money improperly. NPF founder and former GOP national chairman Haley Barbour said the think tank was a separate entity and permitted to receive foreign contributions.

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