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Clinton Donors Can Get Refunds

September 17, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A few donors to President Clinton’s legal defense fund want their money back, now that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has issued his report.

Four small givers _ contributions totaling less than $150 _ have written to the fund, requesting refunds. The counsel for the legal defense fund, Richard M. Lucas, said they would get their money back.

``We haven’t seen any significant numbers of people requesting refunds,″ Lucas said.

Indeed, Lucas and executive director Anthony F. Essaye said contributions to the fund have stayed steady despite the controversy over Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Essaye said that the fund has received about 3,000 more contributions since Aug. 17, when Clinton publicly acknowledged an ``inappropriate″ relationship with Lewinsky, bringing the total to 20,000.

``Donors really feel the president needs their support and they’re going to continue to provide it,″ Essaye said.

Even so, an Associated Press computer analysis of contributions to the legal defense fund during its first six months found most big Democratic Party givers missing from its ranks.

Of the 10 individuals who gave at least $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee since Jan. 1, 1997, only two also contributed at least $1,000 to Clinton’s fund. They were Fred Eychaner of Newsweb Co. in Chicago and S. Daniel Abraham of Slim Fast Foods in West Palm Beach, Fla. Both gave $200,000 to the DNC and $10,000 to Clinton’s legal fund.

Among the missing are two $200,000 givers to the DNC: Walter H. Shorenstein of San Francisco and Ian M. Cumming of Leucadia National Corp. in Salt Lake City. Shorenstein did not return phone calls seeking comment; Cumming refused to comment.

Essaye said big Democratic donors like Shorenstein and Cumming may not have been asked to contribute yet.

``It suggests there might be some large donors we can still reach out to,″ Essaye said.

Overall, the fund took in $2.2 million during its first six months, trustees reported in August. California led the way with $423,183 worth of contributions, including $173,588 from Los Angeles, the No. 1 city for givers.

The overwhelming plurality of contributors _ 4,717 _ were retirees. Second were lawyers, at 284.

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