- WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scratch the surface of some of President Bill Clinton's
noisiest critics and you're likely to find the financial support of conservative
billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife.
- The Pittsburgh philanthropist's foundations
gave millions of dollars last year to groups run by Clinton critics, said
annual reports that have become available in recent days.
- "The money is important," said
Mark Levin, president of Landmark Legal Foundation, which received $525,000
last year for two Scaife foundations.
- "It's one-third of our budget. We
wish we could get more." Grants to anti-Clinton groups were only a
portion of the $25 million in donations four Scaife foundations handed
out to a range of organizations. But the money has supported a cottage
industry of presidential critics who dog the administration with lawsuits,
write unflattering articles about the latest turn in the Monica Lewinsky
case and go on talk shows to criticize Clinton and defend Whitewater prosecutor
- Landmark's Levin takes aim at the administration
in pieces published in conservative journals, in news releases and speeches.
- Levin's group pounced when the New Yorker
magazine published an article that said Linda Tripp, a central figure in
the Lewinsky case, didn't disclose on a security form for a Pentagon job
that she had once been arrested. The group called on Attorney General Janet
Reno to open a criminal investigation of the disclosure. The department
- Scaife, an heir to the Mellon banking
and oil fortune, rarely gives interviews. Yale Gutnick, his lawyer, said
politics is not a factor in deciding who receives grants and the foundations
give to a wide range of groups with different ideologies. Many are conservative
but some are not.
- Scaife believes Clinton "has put
a taint on the presidency" because of moral and ethical lapses, Gutnick
- "When you exercise your first amendment
rights the way (Scaife) does, everything comes into the picture but the
foundations are not politically motivated," he added.
- The American Spectator Educational Foundation
Inc. has used its Scaife money to underwrite an investigation into the
Whitewater real-estate scandal. The group, which publishes the American
Spectator magazine, received $950,000 from two Scaife foundations last
year, more than nearly any other grantee.
- The Scaife foundations have since discontinued
their support of the Spectator.
- Now the magazine has become the focus
of fresh controversy because of allegations conservative activists paid
with Scaife money funnelled cash to key Whitewater witness David Hale while
Hale was co-operating with Starr's investigation. Starr plans to investigate.
- Magazine officials said there's no evidence
Hale received any payments and Hale has denied receiving any money. Internal
documents show in 1994, most of the money for the project went to a lawyer
in charge of the effort. No cheques went to Hale, the documents show.
- Washington lawyer Theodore Olson's firm
received $14,000. Olson, a friend of Starr's and board member of the American
Spectator foundation, said the payments were for legal work he did for
- Scaife grant recipient Larry Klayman,
whose Judicial Watch received $550,000 last year, has filed lawsuits against
the Clinton administration on many topics, ranging from campaign finance
to the FBI files-gathering controversy.
- Klayman has taken depositions from presidential
aides and run snippets of the deposition tapes on talks shows, where he
is a frequent guest.
- Klayman said: "We are very proud
to receive the support" from Scaife but insisted the grants "represent
a minority of our support."
- Clinton supporters see a dark motive
behind Scaife's deep pockets.
- "It's helpful for the American people
to know that when they see Ken Starr's defenders in the media, Richard
Scaife's money is often at work behind the scenes," said White House
spokesman Jim Kennedy.
- Scaife, a newspaper publisher, donated
more than $1 million to Pepperdine University, which offered Starr a job.
The prosecutor accepted, then later turned the post down after Democrats
made an issue of the Scaife connection.
- The billionaire's foundations have for
years given millions to charities, political organizations and think-tanks.
- Last year's grant recipients included
the Holy Family Institute, a Roman Catholic group that received $100,000;
Boston University, which was given $140,000; and Goodwill Industries, a
$100,000 grant recipient.
- David Horowitz, an author whose Centre
for the Study of Popular Culture received $450,000 from a Scaife foundation,
said the Pittsburgh billionaire is "unfairly pilloried" and there
are no strings attached to the money.
The Other Richard Scaife
By Patrick B. McGuigan
The Daily Oklahoman Editorial
- He was a guest at the White House on
Jan. 21, posing for a picture while shaking hands with President Clinton
on the same day the Monica Lewinsky story broke. He's given large sums
of cash to liberal causes and has supported abortion "rights."
He is a media mogul despised by his many critics.
- We're not talking about Ted Turner, but
Richard Mellon Scaife. That's right, the same Dick Scaife widely believed
to be the bursar of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Scaife is not your
- Leave it to The Washington Times to tell
the complex truth about Scaife, the 65-year-old publisher of the Pittsburgh
Tribune- Review and the man who funded the position at Pepperdine that
Kenneth Starr agreed to occupy before conservative criticism forced him
to back down.
- Scaife is a conservative, but with nuanced
political and cultural views. He has backed some of the key conservative
institutions of recent decades, including the Heritage and Free Congress
Foundations. Scaife has also been generous with the University of California-Berkeley
and Howard University, two institutions not known for affiliation with
things conservative. Another beneficiary of Scaife's largess is Stanford
University, where the Clinton's daughter is enrolled.
- Part of Scaife's fortune - $1 million
over 5 years - has gone to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, another
generally liberal enclave. He's given generously to women's shelters and
environmental groups. Hillary Clinton invited him to the White House because
Scaife had given to the White House Endowment Fund. Although he began supporting
this fund during the Bush administration, Scaife was never invited to the
White House then.
- There is no indication that Bill Clinton
knew he was shaking hands with "the enemy" on Jan. 21. Mrs. Clinton
later launched the laughable Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy campaign. Scaife
has been demonized in news reports as the epitome of extremism, but he's
nobody's cookie-cutter conservative.
- The entrepreneur's home base, his newspaper,
is known for a conservative editorial page and a feisty, unpredictable
newsroom. Sounds vaguely familiar.
- When Ted Turner was criticized by conservatives
for pledging $1 billion to the United Nations, we defended his right to
spend his money as he sees fit, while disagreeing with many of his objectives.
Will liberals defend Scaife's right in this area - especially considering
that some of Scaife's fortune is going to liberal causes?