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White House Upset at Town T-Shirts

November 11, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ A group raising money for college scholarships in the town where President and Hillary Rodham Clinton have bought a house has been told to stop selling T-shirts that bear the presidential seal.

The T-shirts, which were being sold by the Horace Greeley Educational Fund in Chappaqua, N.Y., bear the seal with the words ``Secret Service, Chappaqua Bureau, Presidential Detail″ underneath.

But the White House has ordered the group to stop making the shirts because the seal is protected by government statute, The New York Times reported today. Unauthorized use of the seal can be punishable by up to six months in jail.

``When we heard the president was moving in, we thought, oh, we should do a shirt for Chappaqua,″ said Wendy S. Nolan, a real estate broker. She said she got the idea from a similar shirt she saw on Rhode Island’s Block Island following a presidential visit there.

Selling at $15 each, the first 11 dozen Chappaqua shirts sold out in September, and more orders were coming in.

White House counsel spokesman Jim Kennedy said that, even though ``we always try to do whatever we can to benefit education,″ there was no exception for charitable uses of the seal. The counsel’s office sends out 60 to 100 similar notices each year, he said.

Robert M. Bernstein, the education fund’s president, said Kennedy had told him the leftover shirts couldn’t be sold, but that there was nothing wrong with giving them away.

Since Mrs. Clinton is expected to make education a central issue in her likely U.S. Senate campaign, perhaps she ``can make up the difference,″ Bernstein said.

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