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CAMPAIGN 2000

Hillary Clinton Denies Shaping Pakistan Visit

March 16, 2000|From Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — Hillary Rodham Clinton denied that a campaign event held last month by Pakistani Americans influenced her husband's decision to visit Pakistan during an upcoming trip.

"If anybody thinks they can influence the president by making a contribution to me, they are dead wrong, and I think there is no evidence of that," the U.S. Senate candidate said Wednesday.

She said it was well known that her husband wanted to include Pakistan in his visit to neighboring India.

The New York Times reported that she had benefited from a $50,000 fund-raising dinner on Feb. 22 hosted by Pakistani Americans on Staten Island. At the time, Pakistani Americans were lobbying the Clinton administration to have the president visit Pakistan. Last week, the president announced he would do so.

The first lady said that if any contributors are saying they are giving to her campaign with the hope of influencing administration policy, "that is inappropriate and wrong."

She also said that if a Senate candidate were to eliminate as contributors any New Yorker who belonged to an ethnic group with foreign policy concerns, "it would be very difficult to run for office in New York."

Meanwhile, Clinton's Republican opponent, New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, has set up a political action committee to collect largely unregulated donations known as "soft money," Republican officials said Wednesday.

Clinton's earlier decision to set up soft-money accounts for the Senate race had been roundly criticized by Giuliani.

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