Richard Scaife:
Billionaire Benefactor
of Anti-Clinton Forces
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 Kenneth Starr.
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 declined.
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 said.
"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 the magazine.
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 father's arch-conservative.
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?

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