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Former counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke insists his attacks on President Bush have nothing to do with politics, but an Insight check of Federal Election Commission records shows his only political contributions in the last decade have gone to Democrats.
Clarke is suspected of using his former post in the Bush White House as a weapon with which to slash and wound the president during his re-election campaign against Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
The Kerry campaign’s coordinator for national security issues, Rand Beers, has described Clarke as his “best friend.” According to the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where Clarke and Beers are adjunct lecturers, they teach a course together about terrorism. Clarke’s detailed Harvard biography specifically mentions his service under President Reagan and the elder President Bush, but says nothing about his eight years working for President Clinton.
During the 9-11 commission hearings this week, Clarke denied any partisan leanings.
“Let me talk about partisanship here, since you raised it,” he told Commissioner John Lehman, pointing out that he, like Lehman, had served in the Reagan administration.
“The White House has said that my book is an audition for a high-level position in the Kerry campaign,” he said. “So let me say here, as I am under oath, that I will not accept any position in the Kerry administration, should there be one.”
He said he was a registered Republican in 2000.
But what about this presidential election year? According to FEC records, Clarke has been giving his money to Democratic friends — not Republicans — running for national office.
In 2002, while still on the Bush National Security Council, Clarke gave the legal maximum limit of $2,000 to a Democratic candidate for Congress, Steve Andreasen, who tried to unseat Republican Rep. Gil Gutknecht of Minnesota. Andreason had been director for defense policy and arms control on the Clinton NSC. In making his donations of $1,000 on July 22 and another $1,000 on Nov. 7, 2002, Clarke listed his occupation as “U.S. Government/Civil Servant,” according to FEC records indexed with the Center for Responsive Politics.
Clarke maxed out again in the 2004 election cycle, donating $2,000 to another Clinton White House veteran, Jamie Metzl, who is running as a Democrat for Congress from Missouri. Metzl was a staffer on the Clinton NSC and worked for Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., as deputy staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. With that donation, made on Sept. 15, 2003, after his resignation from the Bush NSC, Clarke listed his occupation as “Self-Employed/Consultant.”
FEC records show that Clarke reported no political contributions when he worked in the Clinton administration in the electoral cycles of the 1990s and 2000, when he said he was a Republican.
J. Michael Waller is a senior writer for Insight. An in-depth story about Clarke will be posted at Insightmag.com on Monday.
John M. Powers is a writer for Insight.