Hillary Rodham Clinton is setting up a New York bank account to handle the early contributions that supporters are sending in for the Senate race she is considering.
Harold Ickes, a former White House deputy chief of staff who is advising Mrs. Clinton on her Senate effort, said Monday he was not certain how much money had arrived but that an account would be established early this week to take care of it.
"It's really dribs and drabs, an inconsequential little amount of money," Ickes said, adding that checks didn't begin arriving until last week. "She hasn't done anything in terms of making fund-raising calls yet."
Ickes said he expected Mrs. Clinton to begin those calls in early July, shortly after she creates her Senate exploratory committee. Terence McAuliffe, President Clinton's chief fund-raiser in 1996, will head the first lady's money-raising effort, he said.
Estimates on the size of the bankroll needed to be competitive in next year's Senate race for the seat being vacated by Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan are in the range of $15 million to $20 million.
The race is being eyed on the Republican side by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, among others.
Ickes said creation of Mrs. Clinton's exploratory committee early next month would probably be a low-key affair with no news conference. The first lady then will spend "probably a good part of July" in New York state, he said.
Creation of an exploratory committee allows a prospective candidate to raise and spend money for campaign-like purposes. If Mrs. Clinton decides not to run, any remaining money will still be hers to designate for other political purposes.
In addition to McAuliffe, Mrs. Clinton's fund-raising team will include Laura Hartigan, who was McAuliffe's chief deputy in the 1996 fund-raising effort for the president.
Also, Gabrielle Fialkoff, a New York City-based operative, has been hired by Mrs. Clinton's camp to concentrate on New York fund raising, Ickes said. Fialkoff was in charge of raising money for New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone's unsuccessful run last year for governor.
Roger Altman, who was deputy treasury secretary during Mr. Clinton's first term, will also be heavily involved in fund-raising work for the first lady, Ickes said.
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