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No Gore Inquiry, Officials Say

September 16, 2000|Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Contrary to some media accounts, the Department of Justice is not conducting an investigation of Vice President Al Gore's campaign fund-raising efforts with Texas trial lawyers, Justice officials said Friday.

The officials said that a 1995 Democratic Party memorandum linking a fund-raising solicitation with President Clinton's veto of a tort reform bill had received brief consideration before publication of a New York Times story this week reporting that it was the focus of a "preliminary investigation."

"The document was reviewed within the last month," said a Justice official. "It led to some discussions about whether anything further was needed, but there was a decision that no investigation was needed."

The official said that the document, which "had already been received years earlier" by investigators, was reviewed by the department's Campaign Financing Task Force. He said that the review was not considered a preliminary investigation.

The official spoke on the condition that he not be identified. As a rule, Justice officials do not comment on whether a particular matter is under investigation.

This week's story received widespread media attention. Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Gore's Republican presidential opponent, cited it prominently on the campaign trail.

"Americans are tired of investigations and scandals," Bush said in a speech in California on Thursday.

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