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Bush Getting Delayed Transition Aid

December 14, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The government was turning over money and office space to President-elect Bush on Thursday for his abbreviated transition to power.

The General Services Administration said immediately after Al Gore’s concession Wednesday night that it was authorizing the use of a $5.3 million federal fund for Bush’s transition team, led by Vice President-elect Dick Cheney.

Agency officials arranged to give Bush’s team keys to downtown Washington office space stocked with computers at a brief ceremony Thursday afternoon in McLean, Va., where Republicans set up transition operations under a weekly lease before the electoral contest was settled.

Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said aides were mulling over whether to move out, keep the space or use both the Washington and McLean offices. The Virginia site is close to Cheney’s home.

Another issue was whether the Bush team could use some of the $5.3 million for transition expenses incurred before he became the undisputed president-elect Wednesday night.

``We’re trying very hard to find a way under the law to do that,″ said Viki Reath, speaking for the GSA. Federal officials had said previously such a reimbursement faced legal hurdles.

The government held off awarding both the money and the office since Nov. 8, the day after Election Day, when the winner would have moved in under normal circumstances. Officials said the law required an ``apparent″ winner before the aid could be delivered.

Bush’s transition planners raised private donations to pay for their own office, which opened Nov. 30.

The transition team already has accumulated almost 21,000 resumes from people seeking some 6,000 administration jobs, from Cabinet secretary to office secretary.

Although the circumstances of the delayed transition were extraordinary, the raising of private money to help pay for the effort is not.

In the 1992-93 transition, President Clinton’s team raised $5.3 million in donations and got $3.5 million from the government.

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