The Democratic Party's healthcare-related fund-raising breakfasts with President Clinton didn't start with the widely publicized "coffees" in 1995 and 1996.
According to internal White House documents publicly released earlier this month, eight healthcare breakfasts with Clinton in 1994 netted the Democratic National Committee $1.3 million. One healthcare source who asked not to be identified said attendees had to contribute $50,000 to join Clinton at the breakfasts.
But the documents also reveal that despite the president's fund-raising prowess, the Democrats' campaign to pass Clinton's healthcare reform bill was falling short of its financial goals in October 1994, even after Congress had pulled the plug on healthcare reform legislation.
An Oct. 4, 1994, memo in the files of Harold Ickes, the former deputy White House chief of staff who was closely involved in Clinton's re-election campaign, shows that the DNC was more than $480,000 short of the $4.3 million it had hoped to raise to support the healthcare bill (See text of memo).
Furthermore, a memo from Oct. 20, 1994, said a healthcare reform advertising campaign was $700,000 short of its $5.5 million goal, although Democratic fund-raisers assured Ickes the money would be collected.
Released to congressional committees investigating campaign finance abuses, Ickes' files shed some light on the fund raising related to both the healthcare reform legislation and Clinton's re-election campaign.
The revelation that Clinton discussed healthcare reform over breakfast with Democratic contributors in 1994 came in a June 28, 1995, memo in Ickes' files. The memo compares fund raising in the first six months of 1994 and 1995.
Provider groups said they neither were invited to nor attended the 1994 breakfasts with Clinton and had no knowledge of who did attend. But the meetings became the forerunners of White House "coffees" in 1995 and 1996 that were attended by provider group lobbyists and healthcare executives.
According to notes from Ickes' files, two separate coffees in early 1996 attended by Robert Elkins, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Integrated Health Services of Owings Mills, Md., and Bruce Yarwood, a lobbyist with the American Health Care Association, each met the $400,000 fund-raising goal that Democratic officials had put on the events.
Elkins gave about $585,500 to the Democratic Party in 1995 and 1996, while Yarwood gave $93,050.