Headlines around the country are now announcing the Justice
Department’s criminal investigation into a convenient White House
computer breakdown that has made it impossible to review thousands of
e-mail messages, some of which pertain to President Clinton’s 1996
campaign finance scandal.
As a key participant in the scandal, my name surely appears in
several of those messages. And I’m not merely speculating — I was told
specifically by White House and Democratic National Committee staff
members that e-mails had been sent on my behalf.
I was the Chairman and CEO of Automatic Intelligence Systems Inc.,
and as such, I promoted my company to the Clinton administration’s first
chief of staff. My company provided a fax service — clients sent AISI
a document they wanted to send to, say, a thousand people. My company
would take the document with the list of recipients and do the faxing.
I tried to secure business with the White House, and was successful on a
During those negotiations, a young man working in the chief of
staff’s office told me he had e-mailed all my requests and proposals to
his superiors. But they are nowhere to be found.
Other e-mails are also missing. On March 9, 1995, I went to First
Lady Hillary Clinton’s office in the White House with my “wish list” in
hand. The list consisted of items I wanted in return for my hefty
donations to the DNC — pictures of President Clinton and the first lady
with myself and my business associates, meetings with the Clintons,
lunch at the White House and an official White House tour.
I showed Evan Ryan, a secretary in the first lady’s office, my wish
list, and she took it to her boss, Margaret Williams, chief of staff to
Mrs. Clinton. Ryan came back and relayed a message from Williams that
the first lady had an outstanding $80,000 debt to the DNC for her 1994
Now, I am a businessman, and I realized this was a request for more
money. So, I did what any self-respecting businessman would do: I
negotiated. I said I would be very happy to help the first lady for
The next day I returned to Mrs. Clinton’s office with a check for
$50,000 and handed it over to Williams. She immediately invited me over
to her corner office in the Old Executive Office Building where she
opened the envelope and saw my check with a thank you note I had
I asked Ryan later, “Does the first lady know about my contribution
to help pay her debt to the Democratic National Committee?”
Ryan said to me, “Yes, the first lady definitely knows.”
My wish list would be granted, and Williams made a reservation for me
to have lunch and pictures taken in the White House.
But I have to tell you, the food wasn’t any good, not to mention that
I paid for it myself — and I have the check to prove it.
After $50,000 in donations, I still had to pay for my White House
The day of our luncheon, Mrs. Clinton hosted a National Teachers
Association awards meeting inside the White House. About 400 teachers
were in attendance, and the first lady invited myself and my seven
associates to tag along. But since none of my associates understood
English, we decided to take our leave.
Since my first visit to the executive mansion in 1994, and as a
result of my donations to the DNC, I visited the White House 57 times.
I spent so much time in the White House, in fact, that I believe I’m now
qualified to be an official tour guide.
Having spent so much time there, I got to know some of the staff.
One in particular, an intern named Gina Ratliffe, was very gracious to
my guests. I believed she could be an asset to my company because of
her diplomacy with my foreign associates, so I decided to hire her.
Gina continued as an unpaid intern for the first lady, but also worked
A few days after the luncheon, I called Gina and told her I was going
to send flowers to Williams and other key staff as thanks for their
assistance in granting my wish list. I asked Gina to make sure the
flowers reached the right people. Gina told me she e-mailed the
recipients of the bouquets so they knew who the flowers were from.
Those e-mails have not been found by investigators and neither have
those related to scheduling my visit with President Clinton in the Oval
During congressional investigations into my involvement with the
Clintons, confusion arose about who officially set up my March 1995 Oval
Office meeting with the president. DNC staff told me they had e-mailed
the White House requesting the meeting, but those e-mails are also
nowhere to be found.
Only a few messages have appeared, but all try to down-play my
relationship with the Clintons by characterizing me as a “hustler.”
The Clintons tried to trash me, to distance themselves from me. But
the truth is, I was not a fringe acquaintance as they would like you to
Where are the e-mails? We may never know — and the convenient crash
of White House computer systems is just more evidence that this
administration will do whatever it takes at any cost to avoid
responsibility for its actions.
I have a new wish list now. I want the White House to deliver the elusive
e-mails. I want investigators to do their job to bring the Clintons and all
other guilty parties in the campaign finance scandal to justice. And I want
the law to apply equally to everyone so that there is “freedom and justice
for all.” Hopefully, this new wish list will be granted too.