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Clinton Appeals Health Care Ruling

February 20, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Clinton administration asked a federal appeals court Friday to throw out a $285,864 fine against the government for making inaccurate statements about the makeup of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care task force.

The White House aide who ran the task force, Ira Magaziner, filed a separate appeal. ``I did nothing wrong here,″ he said in an interview.

The U.S. Court of Appeals is being asked to overrule a December decision by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth. He found that the administration provided a ``dishonest explanation″ of the composition of the task force, which developed a health care plan that failed to pass Congress in 1994.

Magaziner swore in a 1993 affidavit that ``only federal government employees″ were members of a group advising the task force. Courts used the description to keep the group’s records from the public.

But Lamberth found that many private citizens were involved as well.

Lamberth ordered that $285,864 be paid to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which had sued to get access to the task force’s records and deliberations. A lawyer for the group did not return a phone call Friday.

In his appeal, Magaziner cited a 1995 criminal investigation, undertaken at Lamberth’s behest, that concluded ``there is no evidence that Mr. Magaziner intended to mislead the court.″

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