Demo Fundraiser at Playboy Mansion Causing Headaches on Eve of Convention

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By Fred Jackson and Jim Brown
AFR News
August 11, 2000

(AgapePress) - The battle within the Democratic Party over next week's planned fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion has turned into an all-out war between Al Gore and a rebel Democratic congresswoman. Meanwhile, some are accusing the Vice President of hypocrisy in publicly denouncing the event.

The latest development came last night when Democratic Party officials, acting on direct orders from Al Gore, had Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez removed from her speaking role at the party's convention next week. That came after Sanchez--who is also general co-chair of the Democratic National Committee--refused to put a stop to the Playboy fundraiser which she has organized. Also, party officials will meet today to discuss further sanctions against Sanchez, which could include suspending support for her re-election bid. Reuters News is reporting this morning that Sanchez says she would be willing to change the site of the event, provided the new location would have the same prestige to draw donors.

Analysts say it appears the Gore camp feels that raising money at the home of pornography provider Hugh Hefner does not fit well with the family image he and his running mate, Joseph Lieberman, are now trying to build. But conservative voices are questioning Gore's sincerity in all this.

Richard Lessner of American Renewal notes that in recent years, Gore has accepted more than $8,000 in contributions from Hefner and his daughter. Lessner says paying lip service to morals and family values, while accepting money from people like the Hefners, is "plainly hypocritical and smacks of self-serving sanctimony."

Jim Nicholson, Chairman of the Republican National Committee also is accusing Gore of hypocrisy. He points out that, in addition to the $8,000 in donations Gore has accepted in the past, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has accepted another $26,000 from the Hefners.

The Federal Election Commission reports the Hefners have donated more than $100,000 to Democratic Party organizations and individual Democratic candidates since 1992.

Meanwhile, another major contributor to the Gore campaign might cause the Democratic Party some more embarrassment. Jonathan Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels, has been in a bitter fight with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union. Union workers in Santa Monica, California, are protesting Tisch's actions that were recently revealed in financial statements.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Tisch has been the single largest contributor to an effort to stop the increase of union workers' wages. Activists are furious that Gore, who claims to be a friend and ally of organized labor, has not done anything to settle the dispute. Yet Gore has accepted more than $150,000 from Tisch, a long-time friend of the Vice President.

Experts say a large, and possibly embarrassing, confrontation could occur between labor and big money during the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

Copyright 2000, Agape Press. Used with permission.

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