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Lawyer Says He Helped Mrs. Clinton With Investments

March 18, 1994|From Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Hillary Rodham Clinton made nearly $100,000 in the commodities market 16 years ago with the help of a friend who was the top lawyer for Tyson Foods Inc., the lawyer said Thursday night.

James B. Blair said he gave Mrs. Clinton advice on how to play the market and used his investing skills to help guide her through a series of trades in cattle futures, which can be risky investments.

"I would advise her whether to go long or stay out of the market," Blair told the Associated Press.

"It was a modest amount of money . . . but it grew, and she probably made about $30,000 in 1978, maybe twice that in 1979," he said.

The New York Times, which first reported on Mrs. Clinton's investments in today's editions, did not accuse Mrs. Clinton of any impropriety. The money she invested, starting just before Bill Clinton was elected governor in 1978, was her own.

However, the newspaper said the relationship put the Clintons in a position of relying on the help of Blair, whom it described as one of the state's premier powerbrokers.

During Clinton's tenure as governor, Tyson--the nation's biggest poultry company and one of the largest employers in Arkansas--benefited from a variety of state actions, including $9 million in government loans and favorable decisions on environmental issues.

Clinton has repeatedly defended the help given to Tyson as good for the state's economy.

David Kendall, the Clintons' personal lawyer, gave the newspaper a statement saying Mrs. Clinton traded "with her own funds and assumed the full risk of loss." He said she reported gains and losses on her tax returns as appropriate.

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