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Conservative Group Accuses Democratic Leader Of Not Reporting Expenses

September 23, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A conservative group asked the attorney general today to investigate whether House Minority Whip David Bonior illegally failed to report travel expenses paid by lobbyists.

Bonior’s office said he did not report the contributions because he didn’t make the trip.

``The Landmark Legal Foundation is completely wrong,″ said Gretchen Kline, press secretary for the Michigan congressman. ``The only story here is the hysterical lengths to which Newt’s friends will go to try and divert attention from his ethics problems and to bully David.″

Bonior has led Democratic criticism of House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s ethics and has been the target of other complaints filed by Landmark.

At issue in the latest complaint is a post-1992-election tour by several House Democratic leaders, with the travel, lodging and meals paid for by the National Legislative Educational Foundation. The foundation includes corporate and labor lobbyists.

Seven of the Democrats reported the contributions on financial disclosure statements filed in 1993, the Landmark Foundation’s Mark R. Levin asserted, but Bonior did not.

``Every other member who received these contributions complied with federal law and properly reported their receipt,″ Levin said in a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno.

``Clearly, Mr. Bonior, who also reportedly received these contributions, apparently acted unlawfully and unethically by ignoring federal law and placing himself above the law,″ the group stated.

The House ethics committee earlier this year dismissed two complaints against Bonior that the foundation had filed with the panel.

In the letter to Reno, Levin said he plans to file a new complaint, challenging the lobbyist-paid travel expenses, with the ethics committee after the Nov. 5 election.

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