A who's who of political insiders, Hollywood celebrities and donors to Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign have been guests at the White House or Camp David since the first lady began mulling her New York race, according to a list the Clinton administration released under pressure Friday afternoon.
Prodded into reacting to a Web site that recently raised the speculation that Clinton was trading overnight stays at the White House and the presidential retreat for contributions to her Senate race, a charge picked up and repeated by New York Republicans, the White House and Clinton campaign insisted Friday there was no special treatment afforded her political allies.
The list included the names of 361 friends and political supporters who were overnight guests during the past 14 months since Clinton began her "listening tour" of New York before entering the Senate race.
The Clinton campaign sought to downplay the release of the list, which the White House put out on a Friday in hopes of burying the news in Saturday newspapers, generally the least-read of the week.
"The Clintons have had many friends and supporters to the White House. There has not been any quid pro quo for contributors, and less than 1 percent of the campaign's contributors have stayed overnight," said Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson.
The overnight guest list includes a number of Democratic insiders who have been helpful to Clinton's Senate campaign. The only Western New Yorker apparently on the list is Buffalo Mayor Anthony M. Masiello, who stayed at the White House last January. Democratic Assemblymen Michael Bragman of Syracuse, Roberto Ramirez of the Bronx and Thomas DiNapoli of Nassau County, all political powerhouses in their regions, stayed overnight, as did Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields.
Also on the list is Paul Adler, a Clinton campaign adviser and head of the Rockland County Democratic Party. Federal campaign records show he gave $1,500 to Clinton's Senate campaign. Adler had been talked about as the next state Democratic Party chairman, but that fell quickly by the wayside two weeks ago when he was charged in an extortion and fraud scheme.
In a statement, the White House press secretary said President Clinton and the first lady "will continue to invite guests to visit them at the White House and at Camp David during the president's remaining months in office."
The White House did not list the dates of the stays by the 361 people on the guest list; another 43 people were guests of the couple's daughter, Chelsea, but those names were not released.
The Lazio campaign, which has sought to raise the White House sleepover issue as reason to question the first lady's character in a Senate race that has devolved into a campaign of personalities, said it was unsatisfied with the information put out Friday.
"We demand that Mrs. Clinton release the dates of the sleepovers by all of her White House and Camp David guests. New Yorkers deserve to know if she was there 'getting to know' these big donors or if they were merely renting out these taxpayer-owned monuments like a cheap motel," Lazio campaign manager, Bill Dal Col, said.
Guests on the sleepover list pumped millions of dollars into Democratic causes over the past several years, according to a preliminary analysis by The Buffalo News matching the names to Federal Election Commission donor lists.
Many gave huge sums of soft-money donations to the Democratic National Committee or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the chief fund-raising arm for electing Democrats to the Senate.
Minnesota publishing magnate Vance Opperman and his wife, who pumped in at least $600,000 to Democratic causes, were on the sleepover list, as was the head of Slim Fast, S. Daniel Abraham, who with his wife gave nearly $1 million to Democratic committees.
A Massachusetts fund-raiser, Elaine Schuster, who has given $64,000 in hard and soft money to Democratic causes, slept over, as did Westchester County telecommunications executive Kenneth Iscol, who has paid $22,500 to Democratic interests and was a golf partner with the president this summer.
A lobbyist, Chris Korge, who gave $30,000, plus $1,000 to Clinton's Senate campaign, also slept over at the White House. So did Westwood One radio station company owner Norman Pattiz and his wife; they gave at least $350,000 to Democratic causes, including $1,000 to Clinton's bid.
Money flowed heavily from California residents who stayed overnight at the White House, such as nearly $900,000 in soft and hard money from television magnate Haim Saban and his wife; they also gave Clinton's Senate campaign $2,000.
It remains to be seen whether the sleepover issue will resonate with voters as the Senate campaign rushes into its final six weeks. Last week in Buffalo, Clinton acknowledged that political supporters have gotten free nights at the White House and Camp David.
"We have friends and supporters come and spend time with us and spend the night with us that we are getting to know and who like spending time with us. I don't see what's news about that," she said.
The Clintons, close with Hollywood insiders, regularly opened up the White House and Camp David to actors and musicians, the records released Friday show.