A real estate developer who was a longtime supporter of Vice President Al Gore has been indicted for making illegal contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore presidential campaign.
CBS News Correspondent Stephanie Lambidakis reports that the defendant is the 14th person to be indicted in the Justice Department's campaign finance investigation.
The latest person to be charged is Franklin Haney, a Tennessee real estate mogul. In 1996 he promised to raise 50 thousand dollars for the Clinton-Gore reelection campaign
According to the 42 count federal indictment, Haney raised the money illegally by funneling it through conduits to escape notice and exceed federal limits on donations.
Haney's lawyers say he is innocent. A federal judge has dismissed similar charges against another fundraiser on grounds that prosecutors overreached, and Haney hopes the ruling applies to his case.
Gore's office issued a statement saying, "The vice president recognizes the serious nature of the charges and regrets that Mr. Haney and his family face these difficulties."
The indictment says that in addition to the money to Clinton-Gore, Haney made illegal donations to two unsuccessful 1994 efforts, the campaign of former Sen. James Sasser, D-Tenn., and the Senate bid of Tennessee Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper. Sasser now is the U.S. ambassador to China.
Haney has already been the focus of a Capitol Hill investigation for paying a million dollar fee to Clinton-Gore campaign manager Peter Knight, shortly before Knight gave up a lobbying job to join the campaign. Haney also gave Sasser $1 million as part of that lobbying effort.
House Republicans have questioned whether the payments were illegal contingency fees based on Sasser's and Knight's abilities to use political pull to get the Federal Communications Commission to relocate to Haney's Portals development. Haney, Knight and Sasser have all denied the money amounted to contingency fees.
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