THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY AND DAVID JOHNSON
The Briefing Room
1:28 P.M. EST
MR. MCCURRY: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the White House daily press briefing. We shall commence, if anyone needs it or would like it, with a brief description of the President's very good meetings over at the Pentagon with the commanders-in-chief of the various operational commands in the Pentagon -- the honorable David Johnson is available to you if anyone wants to follow-up on that -- dealing with the largest component part of the federal budget, the protection of America's security interests throughout the world. And no questions? Okay. Well, that's all right.
Yes, sir, in the back.
Q What did they talk about?
MR. MCCURRY: Excellent question. (Laughter.) And thank you, sir. All of the questions for the remainder of the briefing will be focused back here, so you may want to move to the back of the room. (Laughter.)
Q David, he said "brief."
MR. JOHNSON: Oooh, this is a nasty crowd. As Mike may have mentioned this morning, the President last met with the area commanders in May of 1996. This meeting was an opportunity for him to hear from them about their work and their concerns, the challenges they face in the various regions of the world as we prepare for the quadrennial review.
The chairman chaired the meeting, as would be appropriate. And he talked following up to the May discussion, which took place right as the President was making his announcement on our effort to ban antipersonnel land mines globally, on the work that had been undertaken by our military since then, the efforts they have ongoing to find substitutes and to remove all of the so-called dumb mines from the inventory, except those which are needed for training and for Korea.
General Joulwan then reviewed his area, principally focusing on Bosnia and the successes that we've had there with IFOR and now the work with SFOR. He noted that with a 33-state SFOR headquarters we now have the largest multinational headquarters since World War II in Sarajevo.
The Commander In Chief for the Southern Command, General Clark, talked about his efforts underway working with the militaries in his region on supporting the group of democratic institutions there, as well as the efforts together to counter the narcotics traffic; briefed the President a bit on the forthcoming move of his command from Panama to Miami and the transfer of the Caribbean region from USACOM to CINCSOUTH in conjunction with that.
General Prueher reviewed the region that he's responsible for -- he's CINCPAC -- all of the Asia Pacific region and the key role of the U.S. forward presence there in the region for security and stability and the prosperity that flows from that.
General Tilelli reviewed his work on the Korean Peninsula and the work that the United States does there with its ally, the Republic of Korea, to deter any attack from the North, and the success we've had over the last four years in freezing, and we believe eventually dismantling, the North Korean nuclear program.
And General Peay, from CENTCOM, reviewed all of his challenges and the deployments and the force protection efforts he's had underway over the last several months, and his focus on deterrence through presence in the region.
And General Sheehan, who was at the end of the program when time was growing short, talked a bit about how successful we've been in Haiti, an area where he had been key in terms of the restoration of democracy there.
Thank you very much.
Q Was there any discussion of Iraq and Kuwait, or anything like that?
MR. JOHNSON: Well, in General Peay's presentation, he did talk individually about the challenges there, noted that there had been, as one expects this time of year, some ground training going on there, and it's an area that we keep a constant watch on. We want to make sure that there is no misunderstanding on Saddam Hussein's part that we remain ready, willing, and able to fulfill our commitments there.
Q You mean they were ground training, not us.
MR. JOHNSON: Yes.
Q But they were training in areas that they're allowed to train in?
MR. JOHNSON: Yes. This was not -- but this was kind of the normal pace of their training during this time of year.
Q Do they know why his wife is under house arrest?
MR. JOHNSON: There was no discussion of his spouse.
Q Was there any discussion of the U.S. taking any additional military steps at this time of the year because of what's happening in Iraq?
MR. JOHNSON: No, there was a review of our continuing presence in the region and how it's rotated in and out in order to maintain a constant forward presence in order to deter any adventurism there.
Q Dave, does the Pentagon still plan some maneuvers in Kuwait next month?
MR. JOHNSON: I'd ask you to check with them. They've got a constant program in the area, and General Peay laid out in a very quick flash the maneuvers and the force presence in the region as the year goes on, but I don't recall a concentration on something happening soon. But I'm sure the Pentagon could let you know about that.
Q David, despite the pool's best efforts in the exchange with the President, he seemed not to be aware or not willing to talk about the report of a special commando force perhaps being put into Bosnia for the purpose of putting of tracking down, arresting, and taking to The Hague accused war criminals. Is that still under active consideration?
MR. JOHNSON: What the President was talking about, and he knew exactly what the nature of the question was, was that this is not something that's going to be confined to Bosnia; that we need to think about whether we need a permanent war crimes tribunal, one that would have worldwide jurisdiction. And while doing that, we need to think about how we would bring people to justice who might be in places, and to have that police function carried out by people who are qualified and able to do it, and not have that responsibility confused with the responsibility of those who might be sent into a region to establish security and stability, like IFOR and SFOR have done.
Q You mean, there would be like a war crimes posse?
MR. JOHNSON: He just said that we needed to think about how we would go about doing this. I'd direct you to his transcript.
Q Back to Iraq. I'm sure you're familiar with the reports of sleeplessness of the military, the intelligence community about what's going on in Kuwait. Is there anything to indicate any greater level of concern over Saddam's intentions there?
MR. JOHNSON: There are the -- the training that's going on right now. We don't view that as significantly different than what one would expect at this time of year. But we've seen him try to get out of his box before and we always remain vigilant and ready to put him back in it if necessary.
Q Did they talk at all about the upcoming Shali vacancy? And is Clinton committed to picking the next service, whichever it is, in the rotation?
MR. JOHNSON: There was no discussion of personnel issues at all.
Q Is Clinton committed to picking the next service, or whichever service would be in rotation?
MR. JOHNSON: I think I'd want to --
MR. MCCURRY: Let me do -- the President highly regards the service that General Shalikashvili has rendered and would want to see continued in the position of Joint Chiefs the same kind of superb service that General Shali has rendered. But he not focused on any particular candidates and we are only aware of the potential vacancy from some of the things that were briefed at the Pentagon Tuesday.
Q But does the President plan to pick whichever service it is that's up in the rotation, or is he not going to confine himself --
MR. MCCURRY: He'll deal with it in due course. And I don't know that he's set out the parameters for any replacement if there is a vacancy.
Q Will the President be present for the swearing-in of any of the new Cabinet officers between now and --
MR. MCCURRY: Did you guys find out about that?
It's not clear at this point. We obviously are very gratified at the Senate's expeditious consideration and approval of Secretary Andrew Cuomo, who we expect to begin very soon rendering incomparable service at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. His swearing-in will take place, and we'll let you know whatever arrangements are made for it.
Q There are people on Capitol Hill who are saying the Alexis Herman nomination is in deep trouble, and the committee has not even yet sent down a questionnaire. Does the President still have full faith in her and have any second thoughts about her nomination?
MR. MCCURRY: She, as I said the other day, is an excellent nominee for Secretary of Labor. As you indicated, the process is still at a very early stage, so I don't know how it could be in "deep trouble." We believe that she's got a lot of intelligence, creativity, and capability to bring to the position, and she looks forward to the opportunity to make that case individually to senators. We're sure in the end of the day she'll successfully make the case and that we will see her confirmed.
Q Do you think they're dragging their feet on the nomination?
MR. MCCURRY: I think they're considering it with all the constitutional requirements that attach to advice and consent.
Q Mike, specifically, yesterday, Senator Lott said that because of her role in recruiting African American contributors, and then in the memo that came out of her shop that suggested that those people then be invited to White House briefings, that that seemed -- I think he used the word "close to the line." And I wondered if --
MR. MCCURRY: I would want to check with Senator Lott or his staff, but I can't believe the Majority Leader would suggest that she's disqualified from serving as Secretary of Labor because she attempted to encourage African Americans to participate in the political life of this nation.
Q That's not the question.
Q That's not what he was saying. He was saying that she was paying voters with -- paying contributors off with White House visits. She wasn't talking about voters.
MR. MCCURRY: If that's the specific allegation he's made, he's made it based on facts that I'm unaware of, so you should attempt to get a clarification from him on that point.
Let me go back and make some other announcements. The President noted in his press conference yesterday that we expect four Middle Eastern leaders coming to Washington over the next two months. I'd like to give you the schedule of the visits. We expect to see Prime Minister Netanyahu here February 13th; Chairman Arafat will be here March 3rd; President Mubarak will be here March 10th; and King Hussein will be here March 18th. That's the sequence of visits.
Obviously, these are all visits in which we will explore not only the bilateral regional concerns we have with these leaders, but also seek to deepen and strengthen the Middle East peace process as we search for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.
Q Do you call these working visits or --
MR. MCCURRY: These are working visits consistent with our regular dialogue with each of these leaders.
Q Is the administration planning on doing anything special to try to jump-start Israeli-Syrian negotiations?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, we'll continue to pursue discussions in the Israel-Syria track as the leaders and the parties themselves see fit. We have long believed that you cannot achieve the comprehensive peace in the region that the region needs without progress on that track, and we will seek to encourage the parties in their dialogue that they must take those steps themselves. And we believe that it is possible, as you see things happen in other aspects of the process -- obviously, the agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians -- for there to be a climate engendered in which you can make progress in the discussions. But we'll have to very carefully explore those possibilities with the parties themselves. Ambassador Ross I'm sure will be heavily engaged in that type of contact.
Q What was the thinking on bringing them in one at a time instead of as a group, and does the order matter -- in other words, that you're bringing in Netanyahu first and so forth?
MR. MCCURRY: No. In fact, in some cases these are scheduled for convenience and scheduled also respecting the other engagements that some of the leaders might have while they're here in the United States. But an event like the summit in which these same leaders were here at the White House were held at moments where we really needed to, in fact, jump-start the process. We're now in a place where we can make steady progress on implementation, explore what the possibilities are with respect to other elements of the Middle East peace process, talk about some of the regional work that is occurring to deepen the so-called multilateral aspects of the process. So with each of these leaders we can have a somewhat more comprehensive dialogue outside the emergency context of dealing with a specific event that requires immediate focus and attention.
Q Can you shed any light on the --
Q But by doing them all at the same time -- I mean, you're not suggesting, like, a new U.S. initiative?
MR. MCCURRY: No, I'm just saying that we continue to work with the parties and work on the elements that need to be addressed. They clearly -- with respect to the Palestinians and Israelis, they've identified a series of very tough, complicated issues which they will have to address in the context of final status talks. That's going to require the same kind of patient, hard work that went into the agreement on Hebron.
So this is a -- the United States' role here is, and our commitment is to help the parties as they do the hard work of building a lasting peace in the region. That's not one event, one meeting, one summit; it's a series of ongoing efforts like these meetings and like the work that we do in the region to make this process work.
Q Can you shed any light on the Syrian claim about Israeli commitment to withdraw from the Golan?
MR. MCCURRY: I think that's history and I'll leave that for the historians.
Q Mike, is the President going to make Michael Friedman the acting FDA Commissioner, since Kessler is going to go to Yale?
MR. MCCURRY: I didn't even hear the question, but I don't know the answer to it anyhow. (Laughter.) Because it was a personnel announcement I don't know about.
Q Michael Friedman to be acting FDA commissioner? No?
MR. MCCURRY: I don't have a clue. I'd have to check on that.
Q Mike, yesterday after the President's news conference, Senator Thompson, in announcing the Senate hearings on campaign finances, said there's little reason to be optimistic about the speed with which they can operate because of grudging release of information at the White House, broad claims of executive privilege, delays in non-cooperation. Is that the kind of tone --
MR. MCCURRY: He must have missed the President's press conference, because I heard the President say that we'll be fully cooperative with their effort, and that's the way we all expect to cooperate.
Q But is that the kind of tone on which you think the Senate can open fair hearings?
MR. MCCURRY: I'll leave it to the Senator to clarify those comments. The President made it clear yesterday that he hopes the process is a fair one and that we intend here to cooperate with the inquiry.
Q Mike, is the President tomorrow going to release some kind of finding regarding the administration's population control program? Antiabortion groups are sort of putting out the word that this is coming and that it has implications for --
MR. MCCURRY: I heard a very brief thing on this this morning and did not follow what that is. I'll have to check.
Q Actually, they're saying either tomorrow or Friday that there's some legal obligation.
Q That you all certify noncompliance and then the Congress has to vote on the population --
MR. MCCURRY: Well, see if you can find out. That's not an aspect of a human rights report, is it? David Johnson can check on that. It sounds like it's an NSC thing.
Q One of the things that Senator Thompson talked about yesterday from the Senate floor was the administration's use of executive privilege. Is there any consideration within the White House of waiving executive privilege on either campaign finance or any of the matters under investigation?
MR. MCCURRY: I'll go back to what the President said yesterday; he fully intends to cooperate with the inquiry.
Q Is that a no, then, or it hasn't been discussed?
MR. MCCURRY: To my knowledge there hasn't been any subpoenas issued by the Senator and I don't even think they're at that stage of inquiry yet.
Q Mike, the President yesterday suggested that nobody knew about Webb Hubbell's job until they read in the papers. Now, is that correct? There was a previous version that, indeed, Lindsey knew in advance, correct? And, also, could you address a question the President did not address, which was, does the White House consider this whole deal a proper arrangement?
MR. MCCURRY: Say again?
Q Does the White House consider this whole Webb Hubbell relationship with Lippo suspicious?
MR. MCCURRY: The President addressed that at length yesterday. I don't have anything to add to it. As to the sequence of who became aware of his retention, Mr. Davis has dealt with that and I believe dealt with it in a written question.
Q But, Mike, then the President's answer was not correct yesterday?
MR. MCCURRY: That's not at all what I said. I said that he addressed it in very --
Q Well, Mr. Davis' answer and the President's and yours don't --
MR. MCCURRY: That's not true at all.
Q The President yesterday said nobody knew until they read it in the papers. But we've been told previously --
MR. MCCURRY: He did not. He said that he was not aware of it. Go back and look at the transcript, you're misreading it.
Q He also said nobody knew, nobody around here knew about it.
MR. MCCURRY: He said no one knew of the retention of Mr. Hubbell by Lippo prior to it occurring, and that is a fact.
Q Prior to reading about it, Mike.
Q So that's what he said.
MR. MCCURRY: No, you're misreading the transcript. Go back and look at it and you'll get it right.
Q Well, let me ask you this question. In the news conference the President said the Business Council meeting he was going to attend last night -- that he attended last night, is one that would be quite consistent with the McCain-Feingold bill, were it to pass. But the DNC today says that that dinner last night collected soft money, which would be inconsistent with McCain-Feingold.
MR. MCCURRY: No, the President said last night that the Business Council itself, which is a long-standing DNC donor council, would be consistent with practices under the revised version of McCain-Feingold which has been introduced. That is correct, because the individual party contribution limit under the revised bill I think stays at what the current level is, $20,000 -- so you'd still have individuals who could make party contributions.
The point the President was making last night is -- or making it yesterday, is that we are not asking U.S. taxpayers to pay for congressional elections in campaign finance reform. There will continue to be active work by the parties to support candidates, they'll have to raise money, there will have to be fundraisers. But within the structure of the new law, the contributions would be restricted to those that are made by individuals in support of the party activity.
For example, corporate giving the Business Council, if my memory serves me correct, does include -- has accepted in the past, corporate giving, which would be banned under McCain-Feingold. Some of the monies, so-called nonfederal or soft money that is contributed, that would not be accepted because that would be restricted. But the Council itself would be consistent with the campaign finance law as it's now been introduced and as the President certainly hopes would be passed.
Q Mike, what the President said was, I knew nothing about it, but none of us did before it happened. Now, that would seem to include Lindsey.
MR. MCCURRY: Well, before it happened, would be when he was hired. Okay? What the President indicated was that, to the best of his recollection, people were not aware of his hiring prior to --people were not aware prior to his hiring of his retention by Lippo Group.
Q But they were -- but Lindsey was aware, but at least after the fact, while it was ongoing.
MR. MCCURRY: He was aware -- correct, after the fact, which I think is fully consistent with what the President said yesterday.
Q Another part of the question, though, that the President really did not address was whether he found the whole thing smelly and whether he had done anything to assure himself that it wasn't --
MR. MCCURRY: I don't have anything to add to the President's answer.
Q Do you have any updated information as to whether the coffee with the bankers was a DNC affair or was a White House public liaison event?
MR. MCCURRY: I think Mr. Davis can help you understand that. He's sorted that out. I'd give him a call.
Q What's your understanding?
MR. MCCURRY: I will not attempt to informally provide an answer because he can give you a precise one.
Q But what I'm wondering about is the President, of course, told everybody yesterday that the Comptroller should not have been there because it was a DNC event. But if it was not a DNC event, then it casts a whole new light on the situation.
MR. MCCURRY: I think that, as I say, Mr. Davis has got a very precise answer to that if you'd like to explore that.
Q I'm totally confused. The DNC says of the $1 million it raised last night at this Democratic Business Council, 60 percent was soft money. Does the revised McCain-Feingold ban soft money?
MR. MCCURRY: Of course.
Q So how can the President say that the event he was attending last night would be consistent with McCain-Feingold were it to pass?
MR. MCCURRY: He said the Business Council would be consistent with the new law. He said the Business Council itself. And as far as I'd know you'd still have in existence donor councils that would reach out to like the business community. They would be subject to the new contribution restrictions under McCain-Feingold, which would be individual contribution limits of $20,000.
Q In other words, what you're saying is that under McCain-Feingold, were it to pass, there could still be a Business Council, but unlike last night it wouldn't be allowed to accept soft money.
MR. MCCURRY: Right. You'd have to -- you wouldn't have -- I mean, some of the giving from last night's event wouldn't occur because it would be corporate money or it would be non-federal money, or I guess all the corporate money is non-federal money. But you'd still have events in which individuals could contribute pursuant to the party contribution limits. And I suspect that they would want to continue to have something like the Business Council, which has been around the national committee for a long time, and has been a way in which the Democratic Party has tried to reach out to the private business community.
We, as you know, get a lot of support from labor organizations and members of organized labor, and we would want to continue to reach out to the business community as well.
Q Governor Romer was joking about the Lincoln Bedroom in his introductory remarks. Is there any reconsideration, now that you've released the list of the attendees of the coffees, of releasing the lists of the people who have stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom?
MR. MCCURRY: I haven't heard a way in which you can release a list and restrict it to just people who are contributors, because, in fact, most of the people on the list are friends and supporters of the President. I've taken the position that at the White House the Clintons are entitled to entertain personal guests, and that's their private business. I continue to take that position and believe, for that reason, it would be hard to release that list.
Q Mike, can you characterize for us a little bit better the level of support on the part of the President for Alexis Herman? I think the other day you said that he would go to the mat, I think, for Tony Lake. Is this the same level of support for Alexis Herman?
MR. MCCURRY: It's certainly true in the case of Alexis. And we think that as people work through these issues and as she has an opportunity to see individual senators, answer their concerns, certainly when she eventually has a confirmation hearing -- we hope that will happen very, very soon -- she'll be able to address these matters in a way that will be to the satisfaction of the Senate and they can proceed with their advice and consent function. The President is certainly willing to work very hard on behalf of a nominee that he considers exceptionally well-qualified.
Q Mike, can you talk about the tax incentives the President threw out yesterday for D.C.? Are these going to be business? Are they going to be targeted at businesses?
MR. MCCURRY: Yes, they will be -- to make clear, they will be targeted on those who can bring additional investment into the District, not necessarily on individual income taxpayers.
Q So a lot of it would come from --
MR. MCCURRY: Correct. And I think that it's structure in a way, clearly, that will not provide the same level of tax relief as Congresswoman Norton's provision, that that, as the President said yesterday, is one that's judged by the OMB and the Treasury to be a little too expensive.
Q And what about a commuter tax? Does the President support that?
MR. MCCURRY: I have not heard him address that specific question. I think we've got some ideas on encouraging economic development in the District that will be in the President's budget, and we'll be rolling that out as we do the budget.
Q But a commuter tax isn't something that's on the -- that's being looked at?
MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware that that's being looked at.
Q This incentive that you just described is already what was advanced when you unveiled your package?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, we said a little bit about what we foresee as an economic development corporation and then an overall level of funding. I don't know if we got more specific than that in the materials that we put out.
Q There was a small tax incentive package in there.
MR. MCCURRY: A little bit, yes.
Q It's nothing beyond that, though.
MR. MCCURRY: There may be -- I mean, we'll have some more details beyond that, but that was the discussion of that portion of the budget.
Q What's he doing tomorrow?
MR. MCCURRY: Tomorrow we are doing something exciting that Mary Ellen will tell you about.
Q The population thing?
MR. MCCURRY: The microcredit. You're doing population control?
MS. GLYNN: You want to do it?
MR. MCCURRY: No, absolutely not. (Laughter.)
MS. GLYNN: Tomorrow the President and the First Lady and Secretary Rubin are giving out the first ever Presidential Awards for Excellence in Microenterprise. Microenterprise, as you know, is defined as small businesses with five or fewer employees. Most of them are self-employment programs. There are about seven groups that will be honored for providing access to credit and technical assistance and training for microenterprises. And then we're also doing a little welfare-to-work program. too. It will be private sector-public sector demonstration projects for small urban neighborhoods.
Q Can you tell us a little more what that means?
MS. GLYNN: Not too much. Stay tuned.
Q Is it off campus?
MS. GLYNN: No, here in the East Room.
MR. MCCURRY: Where are we doing this tomorrow? East Room.
Q Open coverage?
MS. GLYNN: Yes.
Q Are they linked, or are they --
MR. MCCURRY: It's all part of the same event.
All righty. Yes, sir?
Q Cuba. You just released, I guess last night or yesterday, the report on the transition in which they have posited a figure that might accrues Cuba of $4 billion to $8 billion following the transition. In its -- it presumes a significant contribution from the United States and the international financial institutions, the Europeans. Have you had any reaction from anybody other than Mr. Castro himself on whether people would actually pony up that kind of money?
MR. MCCURRY: It certainly caught Fidel Castro's attention and we were grateful for that, because I think he knows that the message that was unmistakable was that there are benefits to the people of Cuba for joining the sweep of history and getting on the right side of the promotion of the values of democracy and market economics in the region. But I think that that is a report that indicates, as required by law under Helms-Burton, indicates what type of financial effort the United States and the international community would make if Cuba begins the necessary transition to democracy. And, obviously, we believe, based on the work we've done recently with the European Union, with Canada, with others who strongly share our sentiment, that there needs to be democratic freedom and promotion of human rights in Cuba, that there would be a very strong international response to that type of transition.
Q If that's the case, why not lift the restrictions on American business dealings with Cuba, let them start the process now and save the taxpayers $4 billion to $8 billion?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, there is a sequence of things under the law, because the federal law applies. Under Helms-Burton, under the Cuban Democracy Act, there is a way in which we could do exactly that, but it's dependent on the willingness of a totalitarian leader to indicate he's willing to change and to see that change begin to occur. And there are ways in which, under the so-called "Track 2," you could have a carefully calibrated response to transition towards democracy if Castro and his government were willing to make that transition. But we don't see that and, of course, the Helms-Burton provision that we're referring to in this report foresees a new government in Cuba that does not include Fidel Castro or his brother.
Q On public schools, given an historic limited involvement of the federal government, what does the President hope to accomplish by highlighting education now? And also, why has he started doing it now?
MR. MCCURRY: While the federal role is limited, there is certainly a national role because of the President's belief that you can create national measures of excellence that allow the people in individual school districts to compare their performance with others. In fact, he believes that there is an international role in setting international standards of excellence so we know that we are competitive in the global economy, global culture that we are now going to be in in the 21st century. So, certainly in the promulgation of standards and reinforcing those standards, there is a federal role. There is a federal assistance role in helping local school districts set standards. That's one of the things that we do through the National Science Foundation, through the Department of Education, so there is -- albeit a modest one, since local districts are funded locally and by states -- there still is a very important role that the federal government can play in helping create an environment in which everyone is reaching for the standards of excellence that the President talks about.
Q If Senator Thompson were to ask for the list of people who stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom, would that be subject to executive privilege?
MR. MCCURRY: I'm not a White House legal counsel and he hasn't asked.
Q Mike, on this fundraiser last night, let me see if I understand it. The group that sponsored the fundraiser would be consistent with McCain-Feingold, although the fundraiser itself would not be. Is that correct?
MR. MCCURRY: No, you're jumping ahead of what you can do with the law. The law restricts certain types of contributions. The law doesn't specifically address how a party committee would structure its donor activity. What it makes clear is that you would still have political parties raising money; they would have to because we're not calling for public financing of campaigns. So you would still have national party committees who would assist with running campaigns, so you could still have a national Democratic Party as an entity that would need to do the institutional work of a national political party.
The restrictions come on how people can contribute and who can contribute, and in the case of individuals, they could make contributions I believe up to $20,000, according to the legislation, to party committees, so you would still want to have ways in which you could get those kinds of contributions. And I believe -- I can't speak for Governor Romer, Chairman Grossman, but my guess is that given the longstanding success of the Democratic Business Council as a donor council at the DNC, that they would want to keep that type of entity in place consistent with law to get individuals to make those contributions.
Q So they could have it, they just couldn't raise as much money?
MR. MCCURRY: No, they could not raise it from prohibited sources, like corporations, PACs that people -- they couldn't raise it for so-called party building or non-federal activity, because that so-called soft money would be barred by the legislation.
Q So given that last night's fundraiser was slightly more than half soft money, last night's fundraiser would not meet the legislation, right?
MR. MCCURRY: Last night's fundraiser would have had either fewer people or people contributing only pursuant to the contribution limits in the bill.
Q But as conducted, we agree that last night's fundraiser did not meet the standards of the bill?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, some of the contributions given, for example, from corporations or for non-federal purposes, would not have been accepted under the version of the bill. But the money that was given pursuant to the contributions limits that is so-called hard money or federal money under the federal limits would have been.
All right. See you tomorrow.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 2:02 P.M. EST