BC-US-SCANDALOUS LANGUAGE 10/04/97

BC-US-SCANDALOUS LANGUAGE

WHITE HOUSE FUND RAISING SCANDAL LACKS ZIPPY DESCRIPTIVE WORD
BY MIKE FEINSILBER=
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER=

WASHINGTON (AP) _ EVERY SCANDAL DEVELOPS ITS OWN VOCABULARY, AND SO IT IS WITH THE SOMETHING-GATE THAT’S PERCOLATING IN THE WHITE HOUSE.
COFFEEGATE _ OR CASHGATE, OR LINCOLNBEDGATE _ THIS SCANDAL NEEDS A NAME! _ HAS CONTRIBUTED SOME TERMS ALL ITS OWN, ATTEMPTING TO WEDGE THEIR WAY INTO A RELUCTANT AMERICAN CONSCIOUSNESS.
“SLEEPOVERS” AND “COFFEE KLATCHES,” FOR INSTANCE. “SOFT MONEY.” “HARD MONEY.” AND “DONOR MAINTENANCE.”
THEY’RE DRY, TECHNICAL, UNZIPPY.
NONE COMPARES TO THE GRANDDADDYGATE, WATERGATE, WHICH EVICTED A PRESIDENT AND ENRICHED THE POLITICAL DICTIONARY.
WATERGATE, WITH ITS “ENEMIES LIST,” AND “TWISTING SLOWLY IN THE WIND,” AND ITS “18{-MINUTE GAP” CAUSED BY A “SINISTER FORCE.” ITS “MODIFIED LIMITED HANGOUT,” AND “I AM NOT A CROOK.”
EVEN THE IRAN-CONTRA AFFAIR, A DREARY SCANDAL, GAVE RISE TO “PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY” AND OLIVER NORTH’S DOCUMENT “SHREDDING PARTY.” AND HIS LAWYER, BRENDAN SULLIVAN, OFFERED, “I AM NOT A POTTED PLANT.”
BUT THE ISSUE AT HAND IS THE CURRENT AFFAIR, AND THE FLATITUDE OF ITS PLATITUDES.
THE OTHER DAY IN THE WHITE HOUSE, THE NEWS CORPS IMPLORED PRESS SECRETARY MIKE MCCURRY TO EXPLAIN THE TERMINOLOGY OF FUND RAISING.
MCCURRY OBLIGED: “`SERVICING’ TENDS TO BE A TERM THAT THE FUND-RAISING COMMUNITY USES AS THANK-YOUS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALREADY CONTRIBUTED, AS OPPOSED TO `PROSPECTING,’ WHICH IS, YOU KNOW, YOU’RE BRINGING PEOPLE IN BECAUSE YOU WANT TO TALK TO THEM, GET THEM EXCITED ABOUT THE PROGRAM, TRY TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO BE SUPPORTIVE AT A LATER DATE.”
“ANOTHER TERM YOU SEE SOMETIMES,” HE INSTRUCTED, “IS `DONOR MAINTENANCE,’ WHICH ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE LONGTIME ACTIVE CONTRIBUTORS TO THE PARTY THAT YOU WANT TO KEEP BRIEFED AND KEEP THEM ACTIVE.”
THE WHITE HOUSE GENERATED A MEMO THAT SAID: “THIS DINNER WILL BE AN ACCOUNTABILITY EVENT.”
THE NEWS SLEUTHS SAY AN ACCOUNTABILITY EVENT IS A STROKING AFFAIR FOR FOLKS WHO ALREADY PLEDGED MONEY BUT HAVEN’T YET DELIVERED.
“HARD MONEY” GOES TO ELECT CANDIDATES; “SOFT MONEY” GOES TO PARTY-BUILDING ACTIVITIES. “HARD-SOFT SPLITS” ARE ACTIVITIES PAID FOR BY MONEY HARD AND SOFT.
“SLEEPOVERS” IS A TERM USED BY THE WHITE HOUSE FOR ITS SLUMBER PARTIES FOR PRESIDENTIAL PALS AND SUPPORTERS. AND THE TERM “COFFEE KLATCHES” REFERS TO GATHERINGS THAT GAVE GUESTS A CHANCE TO PASS CREAM AND SUGAR TO THE PRESIDENT.
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE CALLED A NEWS CONFERENCE TO DISCUSS HIS MONEY-RAISING WHITE HOUSE PHONE CALLS. THERE’S A LAW AGAINST WHAT HE DID, BUT HE ARGUED THAT THE LAW HAD NOT BEEN UPHELD BY A COURT.
WHAT HE SAID WAS THAT THERE WAS “NO CONTROLLING LEGAL AUTHORITY” TO SAY HE’D DONE WRONG. HE DIDN’T SAY IT WAS LEGAL; HE SAID NO “CONTROLLING LEGAL AUTHORITY” HAD DECLARED IT ILLEGAL.
THAT PHRASE WILL BE ATTACHED TO GORE FOREVER.
IN THIS SCANDAL WITHOUT A NAME, IT’S AS GOOD AS IT’S GOTTEN.
07 APR

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