Prudential settles Justice claim over contract with Clinton fund-raiser
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Prudential Insurance Co. of America has agreed to pay $317,500 to settle a Justice Department complaint that it concealed a contract with a top fund-raiser for President Clinton to help lease Washington office space to a quasi-governmental agency, according to a published report.
Prudential said it agreed to the settlement ``rather than enter into lengthy and expensive civil litigation to defend ourselves,″ although it denied any wrongdoing, The Washington Post said in Tuesday editions. It said the settlement was made public Friday.
According to settlement documents, the newspaper said, Prudential entered into the agreement with Terence R. McAuliffe on March 18, 1993, under which McAuliffe would get $375,000 if the lease for office space with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. went through and $20,000 if it did not.
The lease was finalized the following month. Prudential, which had, as required, certified that it had not retained anyone to lobby to obtain the contract, recertified that no one had been retained, the Post said.
The pension agency guarantees the retirement benefits of millions of American workers . At the time of the alleged deal, McAuliffe headed the Democratic National Committee’s Business Leadership Forum, which raised political donations from corporate interests. In 1996, he headed fund-raising activities for the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign.
The Post said McAuliffe, who was not charged with any wrongdoing, declined to comment Monday but had said Friday that he didn’t know the specifics of the Prudential deal. The paper said, however, that McAuliffe was paid the $375,000 after the lease was finalized.
Judith Wells, spokeswoman for the pension agency, said it had followed government guidelines in leasing the office space and paid no broker commissions. She said ``the transaction was competitively bid and the building was selected because it was the lowest bid that met our specifications.″