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CAMPAIGN 2000

Subpoenas Issued in Probe of Bush Debate Packet

October 10, 2000|JEFF LEEDS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Federal agents investigating the anonymous mailing of a package of George W. Bush's debate materials to his opponent have subpoenaed records and contracts from the Texas governor's campaign office and media consultant.

A source in the Bush camp said the campaign office had been served with a subpoena demanding copies of confidentiality agreements the campaign requires employees to sign, copies of contracts with its in-house advertising firm, Maverick Media, and an estimate of the value of the lost materials.

Rusty Hardin, a Houston attorney representing Maverick and its owner, media consultant Mark McKinnon, said his client received a subpoena Friday demanding various business records.

"I don't have a theory as to what's going on," Hardin said.

The case began when former Rep. Tom Downey, who was aiding Vice President Al Gore in debate preparations, received a package Sept. 13 containing a videotape of Bush engaged in a mock debate as well as a campaign briefing book. Downey gave the package to the FBI, which launched a criminal probe.

The package was mailed Sept. 11 from Austin, Texas, with a fictitious return address. Federal agents say it was apparently mailed from a post office where a surveillance camera videotape shows a Maverick employee, Yvette Lozano, mailing a package around the same time.

Lozano has said she was mailing a package containing a pair of khaki pants back to The Gap for McKinnon. A company spokesman for The Gap said it also received a subpoena and was complying.

McKinnon has been told he is not a target of the investigation, Hardin said. Both the consultant and his employee were tagged as immediate suspects in the wake of the mailing because both are former Democrats.

"It's an awkward situation for [McKinnon] because all the focus seems to be on one of his employees," said Hardin, noting that Lozano has helped McKinnon take care of his children. "He's never going to believe that she had anything to do with it."

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