Dole Dumps an Old Friend and Lies About His Finances

by J. Orlin Grabbe

Every day Bob Dole looks more and more like Bill Clinton. There are differences, to be sure: Dole is not a coke-head.

Then there is that matter of taxes. But if the Republicans are serious about cutting them, they can do just as well without Bob Dole. In 1983 Newt Gingrich called Bob Dole "the tax collector for the welfare state".

The similarities between Dole and Clinton relate to personal and political finances, lying, and the ready disposal of old friends. This was highlighted last night (August 20) on ABC's Nightline with Ted Koppel, which carried an investigative report by Brian Ross.

The story concerned charges brought by David Owen, former Kansas Lieutenant Governor who became Dole's right-hand man and financial manager. David Owen managed Dole's 1974 and 1980 Senate campaigns.

David who? Dole says he doesn't remember that he and Owen were friends. Dole says he doesn't remember having knowledge of financial transactions in his wife's supposedly "blind trust". Bob Dole says he didn't know a thing about how campaign money was being collected on his behalf. Like Bill Clinton, he didn't see and can't recall.

But Bob Dole is lying, and David Owen is telling the truth. In fact, evidence for this was collected in a joint Justice Dept./FBI investigation conducted in 1988. The investigation was initiated by George Bush when Dole was running against Bush for the 1988 Presidential nomination. Since the FBI has recently proven so liberal with the dispersal of its "confidential" information, perhaps they would consider making public these records also?

David Owen resigned on Jan. 14, 1988, as national finance co-chairman of Dole's 1988 Presidential campaign, because of questions relating to Elizabeth Dole's blind trust. Owen was the trust's financial advisor when the trust bought and sold a building in Kansas City during 1986. Owen was driving Dole through the neighborhood one day, when Dole said, "I understand we own a building here." Then Owen got word to sell the building because of a coming change in the capital gains tax rate. The trust was never actually "blind". Knight-Ridder reported at the time that the transaction netted $250,000 for the Elizabeth Dole trust.

EDP Enterprises, a company run by Dole's former aide John Palmer, served as intermediary in the sale. "In January 1986, 11 months before the sale, EDP received a $26 million government contract through a Small Business Administration program to aid minority businesses. The contract was to provide food services at the Fort Leonard Wood Army base in Missouri. Last weekend Dole publicly acknowledged that he urged the SBA to award the contract to Palmer's firm. Yesterday, however, he said, 'I really didn't do very much. I was asked to make a phone call, and I wouldn't do it'" (Washington Post, January 15, 1988).

The loyal Owen lied about Dole's knowledge of the building purchase and sale to protect his friend. Owen went to prison. Dole, meanwhile, had profited enormously from Owen's financial expertise and the management of his campaigns for Senator. But suddenly Dole claimed he hardly knew Owen.

Similarly in 1996 Bob Dole claimed to know nothing about the innovative way to raise funds practiced by the Chairman of Aqua-Leisure Industries, Simon Fireman, who was Dole's national vice-chairman for finance. The "company's executive assistant handed some workers stacks of $100 bills last year. Then they were told to return with checks made out to 'Dole for President'" (Kansas City Star, April 21, 1996). Such practices are called "laundering campaign contributions".

Similar examples of campaign laundering may be found in Bob Dole's Skeleton Closet, located at

Dole has little more regard for the truth than he does with campaign finance limitations. The 1996 Dole campaign paid New York-based Campaign Tel $1 million to make phoney phone calls smearing his opponents-- sheer falsehoods, such as saying the Iowa Farm Bureau had passed a resolution opposing the Forbes flat tax.

Someone should really ask Dole about that Fifth Column packet he got, the one that induced him to resign his position as Senate Majority Leader in June 1996. (And the packet didn't even discuss Elizabeth's foreign bank account.)

August 21, 1996
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